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
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
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
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
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
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
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.