The Municipal Art Society recently commissioned and released four versions of a re-imagined Penn Station. It commissioned Diller Scofidio + Renfro, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, SHoP Architects, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to prepare drawings of what a new terminal would like for the busiest train station in the country.
It has now come to light that actually a fifth concept was prepared but not presented at MAS’s “press conference.” The design by the firm Michael Sorkin Studio builds on MAS’s legendary 1970s protest against the destruction of Grand Central Station. In that protest Jacqueline Onassis famously joined forces with other powerful Manhattanites to stop a proposed Marcel Breuer high rise slated to be built above and across the southern front of Grand Central.
Tomorrow, June 21, is the summer solstice. On the occasion, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will open the doors on a major solo show of the work of James Turrell, called simply James Turrell. It’s a fitting day to open an exhibition on the American artist. Since the 1960s, Turrell has developed a diverse body of work that uses light as material and medium. The centerpiece of the show is Aten Reign, a site-specific installation that fills Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous rotunda. Made from a series of interlocking fabric cones that relate to the Guggenheim’s interior ramps, Aten Reign interlaces the prevailing daylight with subtly changing color fields produced by concealed LED fixtures. Viewed from below, on reclining benches or lying flat on the floor, with the gentle bubbling of the Guggenheim’s fountain providing aural accompaniment, the installation provides a meditative, perception altering experience.
Consensus among the city’s political players is growing in favor of the relocation of Madison Square Garden from its home atop Penn Station. Yesterday, City Council held a public hearing to discuss the future of the Garden and the overcrowded train terminal. Filmmaker Spike Lee, surrounded by an entourage of former Knicks players, testified on behalf of the Garden. According to the Wall Street Journal, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn expressed her support of a ten-year term limit for the arena in a letter addressed to the Garden’s President and CEO, Hank Ratner, on Wednesday. The owners of the arena have requested a permit in perpetuity, however, several government officials and advocacy groups—including Borough President Scott Stringer, the Municipal Art Society (MAS), and the Regional Plan Association—have called for limiting the permit to 10 years. This comes after the City Planning Commission voted unanimously for a 15-year permit extension.
After a 16-year tenure as director of The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), Holly Hotchner stepped down from her position. Under her guidance, MAD has been transformed into a significant cultural institution, attracting more than 400,000 visitors annually. Hotchner’s leadership ends on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the museum’s new location. Hotchner wrote, in a statement, “that it would be best for the institution I have nurtured and love to build upon all that has been achieved and move forward into the future with new leadership.”
Waterfront Gateway Design Competition: New Rochelle, NY To Launch Important Architecture Competition June 19
The City of New Rochelle, New York, is announcing the start of an exciting new competition to re-imagine its waterfront and downtown communities. Founded in 1688 by a craftsman from La Rochelle, France, New Rochelle, sits on the shore of Long Island Sound just a few miles north of New York City. A diverse, highly livable, and walkable place, the city has made great strides in recent years to rehabilitate its infrastructure and historic downtown.
However, there is only a single block in the commercial quarter that touches on the shore of Long Island Sound. This is the site of the competition. In order to take advantage of this valuable waterfront, the city is sponsoring the three-part Waterfront Gateway Design Competition, which will officially launch tomorrow, Thursday at noon.
Yesterday, the New York City Council approved a 32-story tower designed by TEN Arquitectos that is set to rise on an empty parcel adjacent to the Brooklyn Academy of Music. As AN reported last November, the site is the last undeveloped city-owned lot in the district. The mixed-use project will include 300 residential units (60 which will be “affordable”); 50,000 square feet of cultural space to be shared by BAM Cinema, performance groups connected with 651 Arts, and a new branch of the Brooklyn Public Library; a 10,000-square-foot public plaza; and 15,000 square feet of ground-level retail.
“Two Trees is grateful to the City Council for its support and proud to partner with the city and some of Brooklyn’s most innovative cultural institutions to advance the growth of downtown Brooklyn’s world-class cultural district,” said Jed Walentas, a principal at Two Trees Management, in a statement. “With cultural space, much-needed affordable housing, and a new public plaza, we will be transforming a parking lot into an iconic building with many public benefits.”
Conciliatory efforts have failed in the fight over LG Electronic’s plans to build 143-foot-high, HOK-designed office complex atop New Jersey’s Palisades across the Hudson River from Manhattan. The new headquarters, to be located in Englewood, has been the subject of much debate as several advocacy groups, individuals, and officials from the Metropolitan Museum say that the 8-story building would disrupt the idyllic view of the wooded Palisades from the Cloisters, the MET’s outpost in northern Manhattan.
New York City-based artists and architects Jieun Yang and Ji Young Kim have secured a spot in First Park, located between East First and Houston Streets near Second Avenue, for a futuristic Urban Forest as part of the 2013 Public Summer installation program, overseen by contemporary architecture group SUPERFRONT. According to the group, “This program is sponsored every year by SUPERFRONT to provide an opportunity for young and emerging designers to produce a temporary installation in New York City while also fostering a community conversation about architecture and design.”
On May 19, SUPERFRONT in partnership with First Street Green hosted a competition to decide which artwork would occupy the space this summer. Although still awaiting approval from the Parks Department, the winning design will likely be installed from July through August and will be open to the public on the weekends.
When it comes to making the most out of city space we’ve all heard and witnessed the old adage “If you can’t build out, build up.” But what about building down?
The Design Trust for Public Space, a non-profit organization that promotes innovative public spaces such as the High Line, has recently announced the launch of a new project titled Under the Elevated: Reclaiming Space, Connecting Communities. In collaboration with the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), the Design Trust has just named a team of five fellows that aims to transform the 100 million square feet of dark, dingy, and neglected space that currently exists beneath New York City’s elevated train and highway infrastructure into functional, vibrant, and inviting public spaces.