The view from LaGuardia Place includes the symphony of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s 7 World Trade Center at 250 Greenwich Street and its ever-rising companion, One World Trade Center, beyond. I see the buildings every day from the Center for Architecture, and have become a fan of 7 WTC’c magical properties, both geometric and optical. It is a building made out of reflections, refractions, inflections, and colors, expressed in glass and stainless steel.
Renovations by Vornado Realty to the Manufacturers Hanover Trust building were brought back into the spotlight Wednesday after a New York Times article quoted an email exchange between a former Landmarks commissioner Meredith Kane and Landmarks staff. Kane is now legal counsel for Vornado. The article was mentioned during court proceedings before State Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings. Last Friday in court, Maria T. Vullo, Vornado’s rep, suggested that a request for more correspondence between Vornado and Landmarks was akin to a “fishing expedition.” She added that all correspondence pertinent to the case had already been provided to Michael Gruen. the lawyer representing the petitioners in the case, the Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation (CECPP).
Superlatives swirled in every account of the 2006 opening of the expansion of the Morgan Library and Museum, designed by Renzo Piano with Beyer Blinder Belle. Nicolai Ouroussoff teed up: “dazzling,” “sublime,” “triumph,” and “mesmerizing” (New York Times, April 10, 2006). The AIANY jury feted it with its Architecture Honor Award in 2006, calling it “a masterpiece” (Oculus, Fall 2006).
At the intersection of trade and art, practice and expression, between Bleecker and West Third Streets, in the middle of a unique three-block stretch, aptly named a “Place,” fronting grand superblocks of New York University, with its descending jutting voids the opposite of Breuer’s overhead solids at the Whitney, lies the Center for Architecture. The Center is home to the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIANY) and the Center for Architecture Foundation. The 12,000 square feet of galleries-as-meeting-spaces (and meeting-spaces-as-galleries) burrow two stories underground from the sidewalk level. A cut-away section lets the speakers at the podium the lowest-level Tafel Hall, the centerpiece of the ensemble, look up from their notes and see passers-by looking back. The life of the city, connected, to the discourse on architecture.
Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the next 30 days—Archtober—we will write here about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. This is a personal account. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture.
Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.
In New York City, buildings account for almost 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and 95 percent of electricity use. It was these facts like these that prompted the Center for Architecture to further investigate the urban energy crisis and display the findings–and potential solutions–in an exhibit entitled Buildings=Energy.
The exhibit, which opens on the evening of October 1st, explores how important choices made by designers, planners, architects, and building occupants can positively affect energy consumption in our cities. One such example featured in the exhibition is a model building designed by the firm Perkins+Will, whose proposal demonstrates the significance of site planning, materials, programs and their affects on energy costs. For instance, as firm principal Anthony Fieldman explains, tilting the exterior glass by only 10 degrees towards the street prevents a substantial amount of solar heat gains, saving the building on cooling costs throughout the summer months.
SACRED SPACES IN PROFANE BUILDINGS
Storefront for Art and Architecture
Through November 5
How do we practice our religions, beliefs, or spiritual ideas in New York City outside of established churches, synagogues, and mosques? In the newest exhibit at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, architect and researcher Matilde Cassani explores how we celebrate and observe our beliefs in unconventional spaces: converted shops into prayer spaces, apartments turned into churches, and sidewalks into chapels. Cassani invited New York residents to submit photographs and descriptions of local places of worship to create an online archive, with highlights selected for the Center’s exhibition, such as the photograph of the Soho Synagogue converted from a Gucci store above, by John Hall.
Mayor Bloomberg’s vision for a pedestrian-friendly Times Square is about to be written in stone. On September 27, Snøhetta gave Community Board 5 a preview of things to come at the Crossroads of the World, and they look a lot more permanent than lawn chairs and painted pavements. Principal Craig Dykers presented designs for dark and darker pavers that largely eliminate any bias for an automotive Broadway, stepping the plaza streetscape up to sidewalk grade and adding elongated benches to indicate long-gone traffic patterns. In homage to New York noir, the designers have also embedded nickel-sized reflectors adding a hard bit of glitz to the dark stones that will not compete with the glam above.
According to an email from Seth Solomonow, Press Secretary at the NYC Department of Transportation: “This long-planned redesign will restore the aging utilities below the street, which itself hasn’t been rebuilt in more than 50 years and still has trolley tracks beneath the asphalt. On the surface, this simple, flexible design will clear obstructions and support the growing number of programs occurring in Times Square, which more than 350,000 people visit every day.”
Deborah Wye’s lecture on Orchard Beach yesterday at the City Island Historical Society Nautical Museum was months in the making. The curator emerita of MoMA’s prints department was immersed in research about a year ago for the Nautical Museum’s exhibit celebrating 75 years of Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park and in particular its bathhouse pavilion. The show, called Orchard Beach Pavilion: Past, Present and Future, runs through October 16. The show and lecture got a huge bump when Christopher Gray made the pavilion the focus of his “Streetscapes” column in Sunday’s New York Times.
Just around the corner from AN’s office sits the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. The image of a police officer guarding the mostly empty cast iron building has become such a part of the landscape, that we barely notice it anymore. But today, the doors were flung open onto a brightly lit gallery space adorned with color photographs of New York children representing almost every nation on earth.