SHoP-ing for a Fight

East
Monday, September 14, 2009
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SHoPs new Barclays Center will be debated at a public hearing tonight in Brooklyn at 6 oclock. (Courtesy Forest City Ratner)

SHoP's new Barclay's Center will be debated at a public hearing tonight in Brooklyn at 6 o'clock. (Courtesy Forest City Ratner)

SHoP’s new designs for the Barclay’s Center at Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards site has probably gotten the firm more attention than any of its previous ones, including its rather controversial plans for Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport. Today, Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn penned an open-letter to the firm, calling out “Mr. Sharples, Mr. Sharples, Ms. Sharples, Ms. Holden, and Mr. Pasquarelli” for signing on to “a very contentious and troubled project that faces widespread resistance from the communities it would impact—and well beyond.” Meanwhile, “Mr. Pasquarelli” sat down with the Observer to, uh, talk shop on the project and defend his firm’s involvement in the project: “We gave serious consideration as to whether we wanted to do it. And I think the thing that convinced us was, after speaking with Bruce, we were convinced he really wanted to make a great building.” SHoP and Barclay’s collaborator Ellerbe Becket will be discussing their new designs at a special hearing in Brooklyn tonight at 6 o’clock, as will DDDB, no doubt—and us. If you can’t make it for the fireworks, we’ll recount them here for you tomorrow. Or follow us on Twitter, where we’ll be live-blogging the main event.

Bathing Beauty

East
Friday, September 11, 2009
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(courtesy kahntrentonbathhouse.org)

(courtesy kahntrentonbathhouse.org)

Since My Architect, interest in Louis Kahn’s work has grown exponentially, and many of his lesser-known buildings have received greater care. Among the most endangered was the Trenton Bath House in Ewing, New Jersey. Though it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, it’s future was uncertain until 2007 when the Township of Ewing and Mercer County, NJ acquired the property and agreed to restore it, a process you can now follow on a new website.

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Atlantic Yards Money Pit?

East
Thursday, September 10, 2009
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SHoPs new design for Forest City Ratners Barclay Center arena in Brooklyn. (Courtesy SHoP Architects)

SHoP's new design for Forest City Ratner's Barclay Center arena in Brooklyn. (Courtesy SHoP Architects)

When Forest City Ratner released new designs by SHoP Architects of the Barclays Center yesterday, it was seen as an effort to right a listing ship. But no sooner had those copper-hewed renderings hit the presses than the city’s Independent Budget Office released a report [PDF] today noting that the arena will cost the city $40 million in revenues over the next 30 years as a result of financial incentives granted to the developer. Furthermore, the city lost a potential $181 million in lost opportunities through tax breaks and incentives provided to the developer, which cost the state $16 million and the MTA $25 million, though the report also notes both will release a net gain of $25 million and $6 million, respectively, if the deal goes through.

Fijne Verjaardag Sol Lewitt!

East, East Coast
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
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Ben Van Berkel stands before the New Amsterdam Pavilion he designed with his firm UN Studio and Handel Architects located at the Battery. (Courtesy Handel Architects)

Ben Van Berkel stands before the New Amsterdam Pavilion he designed with his firm UN Studio and Handel Architects located at the Battery. (Courtesy Handel Architects)

That would be Dutch for “Happy Birthday Sol Lewitt!” For you see, the Dutch have arrived in the city this week to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the voyage of Henry Hudson and the subsequent founding of New Amsterdam. As part of the week-long festivities, they have unveiled a Ben Van Berkel-designed pavilion (above) down on the Battery that was announced back in January. But once those festivities are over, perhaps ours trans-Atlantic friends might head uptown to Columbus Circle, where the MTA unveiled its latest Arts for Transit project today, a 53-foot long tile rendition of one of Lewitt’s wall drawings entitled “Whirls and twirls (MTA).” The installation was revealed today as it would have been the Conceptualist artist’s 82nd birthday. (He died in 2007.) Read More

So Much for LEED

East, East Coast
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
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Everybodys doing it: The garage at the Santa Monica Civic Center, the worlds first LEED certified parking structure.

Everybody's doing it: The garage at the Santa Monica Civic Center, the world's first LEED certified parking structure.

Yesterday, the Times ran a decent though not totally honest and rather obvious piece on how a number of LEED buildings don’t actually save much in the way of energy. The Federal Building in Youngstown, Ohio is taken to task for “rack[ing] up points for things like native landscaping rather than structural energy-saving features.” Well, our dear friend and fellow blogger Chad Smith takes the Gray Lady to task for its disingenuity. Yes, LEED is flexible, maybe sometimes too much so, but that’s precisely what makes it so good, Chad argues, or at least so successful. To wit: Read More

Repurposing! West Philly

East
Friday, August 28, 2009
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Participants hangs out under the canopy. (All photos by Matt Cianfrani)

Participants hangs out under the canopy.

Friend of AN and Slought Foundation executive director Aaron Levy sends the following dispatch from his “Repurpose!” event from last weekend:

When the Into the Open exhibition moved in to the National Constitution Center and the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia in July after stints in New York and before that Venice, where it was last year’s Biennale entry (curated by myself, Andrew Sturm, and AN founding editor William Menking), we decided we wanted to do some community outreach in the spirit of the civic activism promoted by the architects and designers in the exhibition. And so, with the help of the National Constitution Center, the Slought Foundation, and the Community Design Collaborative, we presented “Repurpose!,” a one-day community workshop and design competition highlighting the creative possibilities of urban revitalization in the Mantua neighborhood in West Philadelphia. Read More

Good Old New York

East, East Coast
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
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Making the streets—and buildings—safer for New Yorks seniors. (Courtesy Streetfilms)

Making the streets—and buildings—safer for New York's seniors. (Courtesy Streetfilms)

Yesterday, the city released a report, “Age Friendly New York,” [PDF] about creating a place that is more appealing to seniors. After all, New York can be hard enough as it is without a bum hip and fifth-floor walk-up. (Why else do so many of us flee for Florida in our autumn years?) The report contains the expected investments in senior centers and “social inclusion,” but roughly 40 percent of the 59 initiatives deal directly or indirectly with issues of equal concern to architects and planners, like more seats at those fancy Cemusa bus shelters, more affordable housing dedicated to seniors, and improved elevator and escalator access. “The initiatives we’re launching will go a long way towards helping older New Yorkers live more connected, vibrant, and meaningful lives,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a press release. The best part is, it might even mean a nicer city for the rest of us, not to mention some much need work for the city’s designers. See all 23 initiatives after the jump. Read More

Whose Bad? Hoyt Schermerhorn

East
Monday, August 24, 2009
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Whos Bad? (Courtesy Gothamist)

Who's Bad? (Courtesy Gothamist)

If you’ve ever left the C or G trains at Hoyt Schermerhorn Station and gotten the urge to dance, we now think we know why. Turns out, that’s the very same station Martin Scorsese chose to shoot MIchael Jackson’s music video for his 1987 hit “Bad.” Well, to honor the deceased pop star (who has gotten a lot of play locally despite few real connections), local City Council rep Letitia James has proposed either installing a plaque or perhaps appending Jackson’s name to the station in some way, reports NYPolitics. But the Post says the MTA has told James “to ‘beat it.’” Undetered—she’s one of the people responsible for holding Atlantic Yards at bay—James is collecting petitions to see MJ through. And if that’s not enough Jackson action, Archinect has extended the deadline for its memorial competition through Wednesday.

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NYU Destroys Again

East
Thursday, August 20, 2009
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The damage down: At least two holes can be seen in the shell of the old theater. (Courtesy GVSHP)

The damage down: At least two holes can be seen in the "shell" of the old theater from this August 3rd picture. Click to enlarge. (Courtesy GVSHP)

Curbed directed us to a travesty in the Village today, albeit an unsurprising one. It appears NYU, in constructing a new building for the law school, damaged the shell of the Provincetown Playhouse, which it had promised to preserve. We say this is unsurprising because, as we recall and Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation again confirmed, this is precisely what preservationists feared would happen. Read More

Sexy As Niemeyer?

East, East Coast
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
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For better or worse, the name says it all. (Courtesy sexybachelorpads.com)

For better or worse, the name says it all. (Courtesy sexybachelorpads.com)

The bachelor pad is one of those subspecies of residential design that continues to fascinate. Thanks to an abundance of classic examples, especially onscreen (post-war American cinema has spawned a rich tradition of apartments-as-aphrodisiac that stretches back at least as far as the Rock Hudson vehicle Pillow Talk), by now even the most slack-jawed junior hedge fund trader recognizes that the fairer sex is vulnerable to the charms of good interior design. But even with well-formed intentions (good or otherwise), the results can be disastrous when the aspiring lothario is left alone to try to match the pillows to the drapes. Anyone who’s ever been to a young finance guy’s place probably knows the model: a sprawling FiDi loft with a futon in one corner, a poster of the Bud Girls opposite the door, and a fridge empty save for a case each of Smirnoff Ice and citrus Vitamin Water. Fortunately (or unfortunately) there’s now a firm with these helpless guys in mind: Sexy Bachelor Pad. Read More

Never Surrender Admirals Row

East
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
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The timber shed, the one building—out of 10—to be saved at Admirals Row under current plans. But not if the MAS has anything to say about it. (Courtesy Brownstoner

The timber shed, the one building—out of 10—to be saved at Admiral's Row under current plans. But not if the MAS has anything to say about it. (Courtesy Brownstoner)

Having lost its political fight to preserve most of Admiral’s Row in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Municipal Art Society has hit upon a novel idea and is now focusing its energy on the developers who are vying to redevelop the old naval officers’ houses into a grocery store. The RFP was recently released for the project, and through that process, MAS is hoping to persuade prospective builders where the Army National Guard and the city were not. “We hope that our experience and information will be helpful to responders looking to create an exciting new development at Admiral’s Row that combines both new construction and the preservation of the incredibly-significant historic buildings,” Melissa Baldock, a preservation fellow at the MAS, recently wrote on the group’s blog. The effort seems like fighting a nuclear submarine with cannon balls, but who knows. In these cash-strapped times, a developer might look favorably upon some pro-bono design work and the imprimatur of one of the city’s leading civic groups.

ANY Gwathmey

East, East Coast
Monday, August 10, 2009
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Gwathmey enjoys his parents Hamptons home—of his own design—during brighter days. (Courtesy Dans Hamptons)

Gwathmey enjoys his parent's Hamptons home—of his own design—during brighter days. (Courtesy Dan's Hamptons)

Back before the bubble—be that real estate or dotcom—there was a rather significant architectural rag known as ANY Magazine, meaning exactly that, or, if you’re the nitpicking sort, Architecture New York. If you’re reading this blog post, or writing it for that matter, it probably predates your architectural conscience. That said, it was a very Important and Influential publication, one with such luminaries contributing as Stan Alan, Peggy Deamer, Tony Vidler, Greg Lynn, and the rest of the gang. Well, the mag has a modest but earnest web presence, along with its younger sibling publication, the equally venerable log. Among the people involved with the former was the recently deceased Charles Gwathmey. On the occasion of the architect’s passing, ANY has posted an interview the architect did for Issue 11, way back in 1995, with Cynthia Davidson. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. It’s so nice it makes us wish we’d been around to read the thing first-hand.

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