It’s odd when the symbol of a building becomes more important than the structure itself. That’s certainly the case with the newly completed President’s House in Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia. George Washington and John Adams lived there when the city was still the nation’s capitol. Unlike Independence Hall, The President’s House didn’t garner importance over time. Actually, there wasn’t a physical structure left, just ruins hidden below ground a few feet from the entrance to Liberty Bell Center and discovered in 2002.
Today Extell Development got the green light from City Council to build Riverside Center on one of the last major parcels of land at the edge of the Upper West Side. Among several concessions made to the community, the developer agreed to sink $17.5 million into Riverside Park, build a 100,000 square foot school, renovate a recreation center on West 59th Street and build 500 affordable housing units (though much of it offsite).
The 3.1 million square foot project includes a series of towers designed by Christian de Portzamparc between 59th and 61st streets and will provide as much open space as Lincoln Center, the architect told AN last year. Portzamparc worked with landscape designer Signe Nielsen to break up an existing superblock and create a view corridor that extends toward the Riverside Park. Like most mixed-use projects, the developer said public amenities, such as grocery stores and the school, would fill the base of the towers.
Architects, designers, and a few sharp Irish guys who knew someone at the door converged on the Tribeca Grand Hotel last Wednesday night when Winka Dubbeldam of Archi-Tectonics and Cinzia Fama-Agnolucci of CFA Design threw a bash in The Salon.
The Archi-Tectonics-designed space, provided a sultry backdrop to this family affair. Fama-Agnolucci’s mother kept watch from a low perch at the entrance as someone’s toddler made a beeline for Dubbeldam’s dog, who promptly snubbed her, preferring the company of a low-lying plate of hors d’oeuvres.
The Architect’s Newspaper‘s main office is just two blocks from the Word Trade Center site, so we’re keeping a photographic eye on increasingly visible developments at the site. One World Trade will soon break the skyline and all throughout the site there are signs of vigor. Over the last couple of weeks, windows began to appear on some of the structures.
It’s hard not to be awed, regardless of how unfashionable that may be in an area where locals studiously observe a nonchalant protocol, as though the massive tower were just another visiting celebrity. So don’t mind us as we join the out-of-town gawkers and snap away.
Bodacious bourbon pours complimented savory vittles at the yet-to-be-opened Hudson Clearwater in Greenwich Village last night. The restaurant’s first event launched Carl Stein’s new book, Greening Modernism: preservation, sustainability and the modern movement (W.W. Norton, $60.00). The affair had a decidedly down to earth flavor, though the elegant crowd resembled intermission at The Met. The venue seemed a natural fit for Stein of Elemental Architecture, since Elemental’s John Barboni designed the space using salvaged material culled from the 180-year-old carriage house. Read More
We were scouting cool party spaces recently and caught this view from the 9th floor of Neil Denari’s HL23 on the High Line. Lower floors of the 14-story condo, now nearing completion, are going to feel pretty vulnerable to nose-pressers strolling up the rail-bed park who will be just feet away from their living room glass walls. But on the upper floors, views of the length of High Line will unfurl as alluringly as the Yellow Brick Road. Right now, it’s possible to make out the stretch of emerald lawn section at 23rd Street, waiting for its sunbathers.
Most visitors to Ellis Island only get to see the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. I was fortunate enough to go on a hard hat tour of the island’s south side, which is not open to the public, and explore newly stabilized structures including the new (‘new’ as of 1934) ferry building and part of the old South Side Hospital Complex.
December 7, 2010, a day that will live in memory, as opposed to infamy, for winners from New York Institute of Technology’s (NYIT) Student Design Competition held at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Students were charged with creating a sustainable airplane hangar on the deck of the floating museum for under $1 million. Chosen among the six finalists, Team Alphabet Soup walked away with the $3,000 prize by incorporating renewable energy into the design and developing a educational environment for museum visitors.
It’s Friday afternoon, so why not take a joy ride through the skies of New York? Gothamist uncovered this amazing video of a homemade RC airplane with a video camera attached to its nose making its way among the skyscrapers and bridges of New York. Makes for some pretty amazing footage!
Fox News featured Ed Wood and Leszek Stefanski of Radii Inc. last night, giving viewers a behind the scenes glance at a craft little known outside of architectural circles. Wood explained the relevance of architectural models in the face of advances in computer animation. He noted that there is, perhaps, a kind of dishonesty to the flat screen. “The physical model allows freedom,” he said. It was a sound bite that no doubt gelled with Fox producers, who promptly posted the video to their “Rise of Freedom” website under the subtitle “Designing Freedom.”
No soggy Wednesday morning in New York could deter park aficionados, urban planners, and assorted Olmstedians from attending a talk and book signing by Alexander Garvin and Robert Twombly. The former head of planning at the LMDC, Garvin is the author of Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities (W.W. Norton, $59.95), just hitting the bookstores this week. Twombly’s Frederick Law Olmsted: Essential Texts (W.W. Norton, $24.95), came out this past summer.
Could 2011 be the year of the pedestrian in New York? Under the guidance of DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC sidewalks will continue their slow march into the street next year as the city launches a major expansion of its “pop-up café” pilot program across its five boroughs.
The first pop-up café tested out in Lower Manhattan this year proved successful enough that Sadik-Khan has expanded the program, planning for up to 12 sidewalk extensions.