NYPL Debate Rages On.  Half of the research books will be available on demand at the Rose Reading Room (Courtesy Flickr Austin_YeahBaby) There seems to be an air of the inevitable in the city’s plans to renovate of the New York Public Library’s main branch on Fifth Avenue. The New York Times is all over debate on whether the New York Public Library should send half of its 3 million research books to New Jersey to make way for circulation libraries after the Mid-Manhattan Library and the Science, Industry and Business Library are closed. The Times got the debate rolling with an online forum last week and continued with coverage of yesterdays real world panel held at the New School.

 

Retail Reality at WTC.  Westfield will partner with the Port to lease the podium of Tower Three. (Coutesy Silverstien) The Westfield Group made it official yesterday: They will be curating the 450,000 square feet of retail space at the World Trade Center, the New York Post reported. The group made a $93 million payment to the Port Authority toward the $612.5 million deal that will bring retail to the podia of Towers Four and Three, the transportation hub, and along Church & Dey streets. If all goes as planned, an additional 90,000 square feet will be added in Tower Two as well, but first an anchor tenant for Tower Three seems to be the most pressing bit of unmet business.

 

Wanted: Neighborhood for Aluminaire

East, Newsletter
Thursday, May 17, 2012
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The Aluminaire House being dissasebled last month. (Courtesy Aluminaire House Foundation)

The Aluminaire House being dissasembled last month. (Courtesy Aluminaire House Foundation)

The Aluminaire House is homeless once again. Built in 1931 for the Allied Arts and Industry and Architectural League Exhibition, the house introduced prefabricated design methods espoused by Le Corbusier to an American audience. Corbu disciple Albert Frey designed the house with A. Lawrence Kocher, onetime editor at Architectural Record. After more than 100,000 visitors passed through, the architect Wallace Harrision snapped it up and placed it on his estate to be used as guest house. The building later was featured in Hitchcock and Johnson’s 1932 MoMA exhibition and in their book The International Style. Eventually, the house came under the care of the New York Institute of Technology and onto their former Islip campus. Last month, the house was dismantled once again and handed over to the newly formed Aluminaire House Foundation, run by architects Frances Campani and Michael Schwarting of Campani and Schwarting Architects.

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Bloomberg Applies Sunscreen Legislation.  Detail of Piano's sunscree for the New York Times building. (Courtesy treehugger) As if to underline, highlight, and italicize the mayor’s support for green design, today New York Mayor Bloomberg signed into law a bill that will allow sun control devices to protrude from buildings up to two-and-a-half feet. If the legislation sounds similar to the Zone Green legislation passed by City Planning back in March, that’s because it is. But the new legislation brings this particular building code in line with one of the many zoning codes encompassed by Zone Green.

 

Billings Bucks Upward Trend

National
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
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BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT'S NEWSPAPER)

BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT'S NEWSPAPER)

For the past five months things were looking up for the Architecture Billings Index. Until now. Granted, the index was merely teetering on the positive side of the spectrum at 50.4 for March (any score above 50 reflects an increase), so it didn’t have far to drop into the negative territory of 48.4 for April. Despite the five-month positive stint, throughout the period AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker urged cautious optimism in what has clearly been a tepid recovery. In a statement released today, he said that the decline in demand for design services is not surprising considering continued volatility in the overall economy. “Favorable conditions during the winter months may have accelerated design billings, producing a pause in projects that have moved ahead faster than expected,” he said.

Continue reading after the jump.

Report Live from Megaprojects Conference

East
Friday, May 11, 2012
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The Megaprojects Conference features Hudson Yards as a "Megaproject for the 21st Century" (Courtesy Related)

The conference features Hudson Yards as a "Megaproject for the 21st Century" (Courtesy Related)

AN was live blogging from the Megaprojects Conference at the McGraw Hill Conference Center on May 11. The conference/symposium, sponsored by Columbia University’s Center for Urban Real Estate, took a close look at a few of New York’s biggest real estate projects. The World Trade Center, Hudson Yards, and Times Square. London’s Docklands was also discussed.

5:00PM

The panel from Hudson Yards was the last up at today’s conference, though Related’s Stephen Ross, who sat on an earlier panel was no longer in the house. Oxford Properties’ Dean Shapiro estimated that the project would be completed over the course of two economic cycles. MTA’s real estate director Jeffrey Rosen once again echoed the Port Authority transit theme with “Our paramount concern is running the rail road.” Rosen said that flexibility needs to be a part of any plan, adding that the High Line was not even on the radar when Hudson Yards planning began. As a result the project’s anchor tenant was a luxury fashion company.“Who would’ve thought that this would become Meatpacking North,” he said.

Vishaan Chakrabarti who opened the conference with the statement, “Cities can cure many of the world’s ills” closed the session by explaining how and why. He said major private investment needed to be paired with greater public flexibility and more investment at the federal level. He added that a more nimble public process (that’s you, ULURP) needed to be figured out. “We’re taking too long to build these kind of projects,” he said. But then he zeroed in on the major plus of the megaprojects. “They can address the alarming rate of suburbanization,” he said. “The only way to mitigate that is far denser urbanization with transportation.”

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Childs vs. Durst: WTC’s Stripped Spire Stokes Controversy

East, Newsletter
Thursday, May 10, 2012
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The SOM spire at left and the Durst/Port replacement at right. (Courtesy SOM/Durst)

The SOM spire at left and the Durst/Port replacement at right. (Courtesy SOM/Durst)

The Durst Organization and the Port Authority have decided to abandon designs for what they once assured the public would be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and architect David Childs of SOM is fighting back. By stripping away the sculptural finishes designed by SOM with artist Kenneth Snelson the developers and the Port may no longer qualify for the tallest title bestowed by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the body that tallies and ranks building heights.

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Zone Green Passes NYC Council.  THE NEW GREEN ZONING CODE WOULD ALLOW THIS DESIGN BY PERKINS+WILL FOR THE BUILDINGS=ENERGY EXHIBITION SHOWING INTEGRATED PHOTOVOLTAICS TO BECOME A REALITY New York City Planning’s Zone Green initiative cleared City Council yesterday, paving the way for new regulations and variances that will help make going green that much easier. Building owners and architects will no longer have to jump through hoops to install a green roof, add solar panels, or harness the wind for power. “The new zoning recognizes what we’ve seen people designing for their projects,” Howard Slatkin the director of sustainability for City Planning told AN back in March. Today, The Times teased out the benefits of the plan through a Q&A interview with Slatkin and Rose ComapaniesPaul Freitag.

 

Another Rudolph in Danger.  The Sarasota High School by Paul Rudolph. (Courtesy Design Observor) While Paul Rudolph aficionados are in a holding pattern until Thursday, awaiting news from Goshen about whether the Orange County Government Center will be torn down, Design Observer‘s Mark Lamster has put another endangered Rudolph onto their radar. The Sarasota school board in Florida is considering a renovation of Sarasota High School that would enclose its stepped entryway and canopy. Lamster warns that the alteration “would utterly compromise the Rudolph’s vision and the work itself.”

 

WTC Update: One World Trade to Pass Empire State, Plus a Shuttle Flyover!

East
Friday, April 27, 2012
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The shuttle and a fighter jet fly past Pelli's Goldman Sachs tower in Jersey City. (AN/Stoelker)

The shuttle and a fighter jet fly past Cesar Pelli's Goldman Sachs tower in Jersey City. (AN/Stoelker)

It wasn’t a usual trip to the World Trade Center site today as AN segued over to the river to get a glimpse of the Space Shuttle Enterprise’s flyover.  We caught the shuttle on its second loop at 10:55 on the dot. The pristine prototype shuttle skimmed south over New Jersey on its way round the Statue of Liberty. In all, a very uplifting day when combined with news that the One World Trade will likely surpass the Empire State Building as the city’s tallest building by this Monday. Come summer the shuttle will make a barge trip up the river to its new home at the Intrepid Museum. No news yet on speculation that new building across the street from the museum might house the shuttle.

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Poe Visitor Center Void to be Filled.  Toshiko Mori's Poe Park Visitor Center may finally get staffed. (Courtesy Iwan Baan) The Parks Department is looking to fill the brand new, but vacant Edgar Allan Poe Visitor Center that was left empty after a funding feud between Parks and the Bronx County Historical Society.  Parks anticipated that the society would run the Toshiko Mori-designed center, but the society balked. Now, it appears as though Parks is looking for a coordinator to run seasonal programing through January 2013.

 

Fate of Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center in the Balance

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
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Yesterday's committee vote approved replacing Orange County Government Center. (AN/Stoelker)

Yesterday's committee vote approved replacing Orange County Government Center. (AN/Stoelker)

Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center moved a tentative step closer to demolition yesterday after a subcommittee of the county legislature approved $14.6 million to finance the design of a new $75 million complex. With the subcommittee vote cleared, a full vote by the legislature is expected on May 3. But committee chair Michael Pilmeier’s vote breaking a four to four split hints that the plan may not have the two-third majority of the legislature needed to proceed.

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