The Municipal Art Society recently commissioned and released four versions of a re-imagined Penn Station. It commissioned Diller Scofidio + Renfro, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, SHoP Architects, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to prepare drawings of what a new terminal would like for the busiest train station in the country.
It has now come to light that actually a fifth concept was prepared but not presented at MAS’s “press conference.” The design by the firm Michael Sorkin Studio builds on MAS’s legendary 1970s protest against the destruction of Grand Central Station. In that protest Jacqueline Onassis famously joined forces with other powerful Manhattanites to stop a proposed Marcel Breuer high rise slated to be built above and across the southern front of Grand Central.
It took only a few seconds for Building 877 on Governors Island—dynamited at various key points—to come crashing down in a pile of sand-colored dust (hopefully with no asbestos)! A group of about 150 lucky New Yorkers, including Raymond Gastil (heading back to his home in Seattle), Margaret Sullivan (H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture), Jonathan Marvel (Rogers Marvel Architects and one of the architect’s of the new Governors Island), Lance Brown, and The Guy Nordenson family, were invited to witness the “implosion” at 6:37a.m. on Sunday, June 9.
On a recent walk down Broadway near the AN offices in Lower Manhattan I was handed a flyer by The Granny Peace Brigade who were protesting in front of a building where several New York City Council Members have offices. The flyer claims in bold letters “High Tech Stop and Frisk: Domestic Drones Coming to Your Neighborhood?” It had an image of a LEAPP Drone made by Brooklyn Navy Yard–based Atair Aerospace who claim their powered paraglider “is a slow-flying, long endurance powered paraglider UAV [Unarmed Aerial Vehicle] platform that is used for ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance] and distributive operations payload delivery missions,” but that the Brigade believes could be used to monitor for loitering.
There are probably many buildings in New York we would in our fantasies like to see blown up, but that rarely happens in this dense and intricate city. But this Sunday morning June 9 at precisely 7:36 building 877, a twelve-story former-residential structure on Governors Island will be “imploded” and turned into fill for the new adjacent landscaped park being designed by West 8 the Dutch landscape firm. Building 877 is one of the least distinguished buildings on the overbuilt island and will be much more valuable used as fill for a new public park than as a building. In this picture of the building taken just a few months ago before its facade had been taken off the grey blob oozing around the back of the structure is the base of West 8’s new landscape for the island which will open next fall. If you can’t make it to the island, you can watch a livestream of the implosion here.
The World Trade Center Transportation Hub by Santiago Calatrava is the architect tells us “the image of a bird in flight.” Yesterday we took a look at the interior retail corridor that will connect with the soaring transit hub oculus, but the structure has now just appeared above the scaffolding surrounding the entire Trade Center site and its looks nothing like a soaring bird but the bare bones of a beached carcass. It can only get better!
Sean Kelly Gallery
Through June 22
There is a renewed interest in the west of Soviet modern architecture from the Cold War and its strong and determined sculptural form. Much of the work was barely known in the west—at least in this country—and has come as a revelation to scholars and critics. A recent exhibition Soviet Modernism 1955-1991 at the Architekturzentrum in Vienna and a fascinating exhibit Cold War Cool Digital at Pratt Institute featured Soviet designed pre-fabricated and globally distributed Cold War Era housing systems. Both of these exhibits featured the ambitious and determined socialist realism that one would expect from work of this period, but now an exhibition, Irreversible, at the Sean Kelly Gallery by the Havana- and Madrid-based group Los Carpinteros features work that expresses what it felt like to be the receiver of these Soviet-inspired architectural and sculptural forms and their realist messages.
The 1973 World Trade Center twin towers by Minora Yamasaki were not great buildings but in various light conditions or in the dark of the night they would take on a mute sculptural quality that New Yorkers now remember with fondness or nostalgic reverence. Now something quiet similar may be happening with the replacement to the tower—One World Trade Center. In certain light and atmospheric conditions the top floors of the building seem to glow like a bright incandescent light build.
Tuesday evening’s John Soane’s Museum gala was a great evening for the assembled supporters of the London museum on Lincoln’s Inn Fields. It started when Soane Board President Thomas Klingerman asked the audience “How many of you read The Architect’s Newspaper?” You probably saw the Eavesdrop column on Jay Z and Beyonce visiting Cuba on a Soane architecture tour (their itinerary included landmarks by architect Miguel Coylua, among others). Things are really changing at Soane! After the irrepressible Suzanne Stephens opened the program awards, inscribed Soane Foundation medallions were given to Carole Fabian, director of Avery Architecture & Arts Library at Columbia, and Barry Bergdoll for their joint acquisition of the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives.
The Berlage Institute in Holland, recently reformed as part of Delft University has named Nanne de Ru to be its new Director. De Ru follows an illustrious series of Directors that include Herman Hertzberger, Wiel Arets, Alejandro Zaera-Polo, and Vedran Mimica. The new director is an architect and partner of Powerhouse Company in Rotterdam and holds a Masters Degree in architecture form the Institute in 2002. There is no word yet on the role and direction of the newly restructured Institute.
The exhibit, The Vienna Model: Housing for the 21st Century City, currently on view at the Austrian Cultural Forum, is meant to provoke a discussion with housing advocates in this country. The Forum will host weekly tours of the exhibit by a variety of housing experts from various academic and professional fields. This Wednesday, the tour will be led by Srdjan Weiss, a Serbian-born architect and theorist based in New York City, with broad knowledge of the subject of housing in this country and Eastern Europe. The tour will be based on Weiss’ parallel living experience and expertise in housing design from former socialist countries of Eastern Europe and Yugoslavia.
The architect of the Bowery Mission John Young of Cryptome was invited by its director Matt Krivich in March to display an art work for the institution as part of The New Museum‘s just concluded IDEAS CITY street festival. Cryptome was restoring the mission’s underground vaults at the time and in August of 2012 put up a wall drawing by Deborah Natsios, a principal of the firm, on the street front scaffolding called Sidewalk Vaults. This original rendering was an illusion to the long history of the vaults as an important structural element of the Bowery, the city’s oldest thoroughfare. Natsios agreed to create a work and produced a series of eight panels in the style of Sidewalk Vaults that she called Partywall. This work was meant to question the relationship between the Mission and its neighbor the New Museum and the rapidly changing character of the Bowery.
The Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School has—under its director Carin Kuoni—been an instigator in drawings links between artistic and design practices and the real world of politics. The Center sponsors symposia, lectures, and exhibitions that draw links that are often crucial and obvious but not discussed by professionals and academics in the design professions. Once again it is highlighting such an issue with a series of discussions, Who Builds Your Architecture?, that connects construction and labor.