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.

MoMA Makes for Bad Neighbor

East
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
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A group of Midtown residents and concerned citizens, many from the West 54th/55th Street Block Association, have been the leading opponents of Jean Nouvel’s MoMA tower. They have been very vocal during hearings at Landmarks and, just a few weeks ago, City Planning Commission. Now, The Coalition for Responsible Midtown Development, as the group is calling itself, have launched a website, no2moma.com. There, they succinctly recast their previous opposition to the project–light & shadows, traffic & congestion, out-sized & ugly–as well as presenting a six minute documentary that makes the group’s best case yet. Our favorite part is the clip above, where the Nouvel tower rises, Frankenstein-like, from “a lot no bigger than a McDonald’s drive-thru.” The full video is after the jump, but, given statements made by some commissioners during a meeting Monday, all this flash and frustration may be too little too late. Read More

Remembering Charles Gwathmey

East
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
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Gwathmey

Gwathmey

Charles Gwathmey passed away on Monday, but he was fondly remembered by his many colleagues, including Robert Siegel, Richard Meier, Michael Graves, and Peter Eisenman, in our obituary. We invite readers to share their own memories of this “fighter for modernism” in the comments section below. But please, be erudite, as Gwathmey would have had it no other way.

Rezoning Day

East, East Coast
Thursday, July 30, 2009
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Yorkville, one of the high density areas of Manhattan that will be elligible for more affordble housing under a change to city zoning approved Wednesday. (Wikimedia Commons)

Yorkville, one of the high density areas of Manhattan that will be elligible for more affordble housing under a change to city zoning approved Wednesday. (Wikimedia Commons)

The rezoning of Coney Island may have takn up all the oxygen at the City Council Wednesday, but it was far from the only rezoning to pass, and far from the only important one. The council also approved a major downzoning of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, which, at 175 blocks, is not only huge, but important, as it was meant to protect the area from out-of-scale overdevelopment. It may be a little too late for that, but better late than never, we guess. Or maybe never again is more like it. The Flatbush neighborhood on the south side of Prospect Park got a similar treatment, receiving a massive 180 block downzoning again to protect against uncharacteristic development. Dumbo was rezoned, though in a particularly contextual manner, given its unique historic character, as were four contiguous neighborhoods in Queens. But perhaps most important was a citywide change to the inclusionary housing bonus. Read More

Stalling Out

East, East Coast
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
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A stalled building in--where else--Williamsburg. (Courtesy Curbed.com)

A stalled building in--where else--Williamsburg. (Courtesy Curbed.com)

Last week, the Times reported on efforts by the city to address the wave of stalled projects plaguing the city. It was a surprising story, but not because of the news of the program–mind you, we were well ahead of the Gray Lady on that. No, what took us aback was the huge jump in the number of stalled buildings the Department of Buildings had recorded between the time our story ran on June 11 and theirs on June 19, with the total number of stalled buildings more than doubling from 138 to 362. We immediately called the DOB to find out more but, well, this being summer, we just heard back today. Read More

Fontainebleau Anew

East
Monday, July 27, 2009
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A new free-standing spa at the Fontainebleau Miami features a hurricane-rated glass curtainwall. Goldfinger, eat your heart out. (Courtesy Fontainebleau)

A new free-standing spa at the Fontainebleau Miami features a hurricane-rated glass curtainwall. Goldfinger, eat your heart out. (Courtesy Fontainebleau)

Morris Lapidus’ Fontainebleau in Miami is one of the most recognizable hotels in the United States, thanks in no small part to its frequent appearances in television shows and films, perhaps most notably and intimately in the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger. A recent two-year revitalization has brought the old bastion of luxury and class—which had begun to show its wear—back to prime condition. More than just polish up the surfaces, the effort included the addition of a free-standing spa. The designers, Dallas-based architectural firm HKS, selected a blue tinted glass for the spa’s curtain wall. In addition to referencing the adjacent pool’s azure complexion, the glass (1 5/16-inch thick Viracon laminated units with a Vanceva Storm interlayer) meets Miami’s strict large missile impact and hurricane codes. Goldfinger would be proud.

GSA Now Hiring

East, East Coast
Friday, July 24, 2009
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Now Hiring: 26 Federal Plaza

Now Hiring: 26 Federal Plaza

With the prospects for architectural work tilting downward once again, we can imagine you might be uncertain about the future. Not to worry, though, as a friend sends along the message that the GSA is hiring in its New York office, among many others. And best of all, things are looking up at the agency, as you could go to work, at least in some capacity, for the new director of the Design Excellence program, which is getting a much-needed shot in the arm. Best of luck.

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Two Strikes for Chiofaro

East
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
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Sez Boston developer Don Chiofaro: Mayor Menino, tear down this wall! So I can build to 70 stories! (Courtesy Boston Globe)

Sez Boston developer Don Chiofaro: Mayor Menino, tear down this wall! So I can build to 70 stories! (Courtesy Boston Globe)

After the recent mixed reviews of his KPF-designed Boston Arch project, local developer Don Chiofaro has been told within the last few days by both state and city officials that his proposal is considerably too large and may take years of regulatory review and planning to get off the ground. No worry, as the infamously forthright developer has taken his project to the people, counting on concerts and blaring signs like the one above to show that it is the mayor and the BRA that are bullying his grand vision and not the other way around.

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