Google Goes to Governors Island

East
Thursday, October 22, 2009
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The Google Street View car in action on Governors Island. (Courtesy Governors Island Blog)

The Google Street View car in action on Governors Island. (Courtesy Governors Island Blog)

Among the revelations in Nick Paumgarten’s recent meandering piece for The New Yorker was that the designs for the park had actually been completed months ago and are under lock-and-key within the former Coast Guard grounds, awaiting the stabilization of Albany—sometime in 2012, perhaps?—for a proper unveiling. The other piece of news that struck us was that Leslie Koch, the director of GIPEC who had fought to have the island put back on maps it had been excised from decades prior, had gone so far as to convince the notorious Google Street View car to come over to the island so people could explore the place inside-out, in-season and out. (The park closes the second weekend of October.) Read More

All Planning Is Local

East, East Coast
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
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Stringer (far left) and Anthony Borelli, his planning director (far right), with last years fellows. (Courtesy MBPO)

Stringer (far left) and Anthony Borelli, his planning director (far right), with last year's fellows. (Courtesy MBPO)

One of the roles played by the city’s 59 community boards—besides issuing liquor licenses—is to oversee local planning issues, and while the input of the board is only advisory, it tends to weigh in the decision making of the City Planning Commission (as was the case at Hudson Yards earlier this week) and the City Council. The only problem is, the boards have no professional planners on staff. Manhattan has been blessed with a great deal of help the past three years, however, thanks to a fellowship program begun by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, and today he announced it will hopefully be expanding to the entire city by next year. Read More

Visit the Haunted iMuseum

East, East Coast
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
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The Museum of the Phantom City in Action. (Courtesy Cheng + Snyder)

The Museum of the Phantom City in Action. (Courtesy Cheng + Snyder)

Perhaps it’s just a reflection of the post-bubble zeitgeist, but there’s been much ado lately about the Museum of the Phantom City app for the iPhone, from BLDG BLOG to Urban Omnibus all the way up to the Times. Admittedly, who doesn’t love a nice iPhone app (not that we would know personally…) especially one that allows you to navigate the city that could have been—at least if architect’s ruled the world—in real time and space. Developed by the two-man firm of Cheng+Snyder as part of the Van Alen Institute’s New York Prize fellowship, the app uses the phone as a tracker to pinpoint unrealized projects, usually of a highly theoretical persuasion—John Johansen’s Leapfrog Housing, Michael Sorkin’s Brooklyn Waterfront, THINK’s World Trade Center proposal. If this all sounds terribly confusing, either download the app yourself, or better yet, meet up with Chen and Snyder in Bryant Park from 2:00-4:00 on the phantasmagorically appropriate day of October 31, where they’ll give a full tour of the museum, so to speak.

Bowled Over by Bronx Architecture

East
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
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The Lehman College Art Gallery has launched a new wesbite chronicling the architecture of the Bronx.

The Lehman College Art Gallery has launched a new wesbite chronicling the architecture of the Bronx.

The Bronx isn’t exactly known for its architecture, excepting maybe the Grand Concourse, but the Lehman College Art Gallery is hoping to change that perception with a new and very impressive website chronicling the borough’s vast architectural heritage. (The gallery happens to be located in one of those hidden treasures, a campus building that was Marcel Breuer’s first project in the city.) The site, called simply Bronx Architecture, chronicles some 75 notable buildings scattered about the borough, ranging from the notable (the Bronx County Building, the Hall of Justice, the Kingsbridge Armory, new Yankee Stadium) to the obscure (Villa Charlotte Bronte, the Institute for Special Education, Williamsbridge Reservoir Keeper’s House). Read More

Chiofaro Chopped

East
Thursday, October 15, 2009
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Don Chiofaro has agreed to reduce the height of his Boston Arch project, including losing the skyframe that gave its distinctive look. Now, it will look closer to his International Place project seen at left. (Courtesy the Chiofaro Company)

Don Chiofaro has agreed to reduce the height of his Boston Arch project, including losing the skyframe that gave its distinctive look. Now, it will look closer to his International Place project designed by Philip Johnson and visible at left. (Courtesy the Chiofaro Company)

The news out of Boston this morning is that developer Don Chiofaro has bowed to community opposition (pun intended?) and will reduce the height of his harborside Boston Arch tower complex, designed by KPF. Formerly at 1.5 million square feet, the building will shave off 10 to 15 percent of its bulk, including the loss of the distinctive “skyframe” that gave it its name. The frame, which rose to 780 feet, is gone, leaving the towers behind, also at reduced heights. The slenderer residential and hotel tower will now rise to 625 feet, instead of 690, a Chiofaro representative told us today, and the 560-foot office tower will also shrink. Final designs are still in the works. Not to say we didn’t see this coming. Read More

Amanda in Demand

East
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
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Amanda Burden and First Fan Charlie Rose at some other awards. (New York Social Diary)

Amanda Burden and "First Fan" Charlie Rose at some other awards. (New York Social Diary)

Playing up to NYC Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden is usually more strategy, than pleasure. But the standing ovation she received today from architects, developers, and city agents, including Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Lieber, felt real as Burden stepped up to accept the J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development from the Urban Land Institute.

Established in 1936 with offices around the globe and 40,000 members in the U.S., the Washington DC-quartered Urban Land Institute supports enlightened development research and practices. The Nichols Prize for community building comes with $100,000; past winners have included Senator Patrick Moynihan, architecture historian Vincent Scully, Al Ratner of Forest City Enterprises, and developer Gerald Hines. Read More

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Crowning 23 Beekman

East, East Coast
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
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Paul Rudolph's 23 Beekman Place took the first step toward becoming a landmark today. (Peter Aaron/ESTO)

While the big news out of the LPC today was the approval of 980 Madison, there were quite a few noteworthy developments as well, namely the designation of three new landmarks and the calendering of 23 Beekman Place, better known as the Paul Rudolph house, which is the first step in the designation process. Poking fun at her fellow colleagues who had been skeptical of the Norman Foster designed addition at 980 Madison, which had been approved earlier in the day, commissioner Margery Perlmutter quipped, “Sometimes a rooftop addition does become a landmark.” Rudolph’s quixotic construction was completed in 1977, though he would revise it, like much of his work, until his death two decades later. Read More

Another Atlantic Yards Suit

East
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
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Atlantic Yards opponents keep on marching, launching another lawsuit today. (Jonathan Barkey)

Atlantic Yards opponents keep on marching, launching another lawsuit today. (Jonathan Barkey)

As we reported back in June, the activists fighting the Atlantic Yards project did not expect any of the various government agencies with oversight of the project to oppose it when they had the opportunity this summer—the MTA revised its sale of the yards, the ESDC approved a modified General Project Plan. What the critics were more excited about was the possibility of additional lawsuits, which, while generally unsuccessful, have helped stall the project nonetheless and paint it in an increasingly negative light. Today, a day before a major showdown over eminent domain in the state’s highest court, Develop Don’t Destroy filed a new lawsuit, this one challenging the MTA’s sale, and it has an important distinction from the others. Read More

Vito Acconci, Male Model

East, East Coast
Thursday, October 8, 2009
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Vito Acconci, as seen on page 26 of the October Mens J. Crew catalog.

Vito Acconci, as seen on page 26 of the October Men's J. Crew catalog.

Back in June, we spoke with Vito Acconci about his decision to close up shop. The artist and designer essentially said he was yet another victim of the recession—”The contradictory thing is that at a time when there are these architectural projects that we have the possibility of doing, how do we keep the studio active on a day-to-day basis?”—but now we’re wondering if he maybe had a career change in mind. It would appear so, as Archinect alerts us to Vito’s appearance in none other than October’s J. Crew catalog. Maybe it’s some kind of performance art? He’s ready for his close-up after the jump. Read More

Decathletes, Start Your Solar Panels

East
Thursday, October 8, 2009
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On press day, the student teams were still finishing up the installation of their solar houses.

On press day, the student teams were still finishing up the installation of their solar houses. (Courtesy Stefano Paltera/U.S. Dept. of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Yesterday was press day at the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The student teams were still scrambling to finish up their installations when Team Archpaper arrived on the scene, but we still managed to talk our way into a hand full of the 20 solar houses that will go head-to-head in open competition. As in past years, the students will be go about the work of every day living—doing laundry, washing dishes, cooking—and will be judged based upon the energy efficiency, as well as architecture, engineering, comfort, and marketability of their houses. While each of the entries evoked aspects of their respective regions, they fell to either side of a line that ran between off-the-shelf affordability and high-tech über-design. Read More

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Very Veyko

East
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
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Veykos undulating subway seats, coming to a SEPTA station near you. (Courtesy Veyko)

Veyko's undulating subway seats, coming to a SEPTA station near you. (Courtesy Veyko)

With the rising popularity of both design and public transportation, it was only a matter of time before the two joined forces. Here in New York we’ve gotten fancy bike racks, fancy bus stops, and fancy bike racks cum subway grates. Now, Philly’s getting in on the action, with new, nifty seats for some of its SEPTA stations. Designed and fabricated by the fellas at Veyko, a local full-service shop, the benches are meant to evoke the movement of the trains as they fly by—though hopefully not because you’ve missed your train. They won’t be installed in stations just yet, but yo can give them a spin at Penn’s Meyerson Hall this Friday night, where they’ll be installed as park of Philly Work, an open studio event for the city’s designers. Invite after the jump. Read More

A Double Feature at pinkcomma

East
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
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(photos: Quilian Riano)

Increasingly becoming home to Boston’s architectural community, pinkcomma gallery opened its third Fall season on with two exhibitions: Heroic and Publishing Practices. Heroic takes a closer look at the material that re-shaped Boston, concrete, and the idealistic architects that used it from 1957-1976. The exhibit consists of a selection of local concrete buildings intertwined with essays by some of the architects who built them, material experts, historians, and voices from a new architectural generation who seek to put this work in context. Heroic, however, boasts a larger and weighty agenda: to educate the public at large on the innovations and ideals of Boston’s concrete architectural legacy to save endangered buildings.

Read More

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