1970s Benjamin Franklin Museum Re-Opens as High-Tech Biographical Exhibit

East
Monday, September 9, 2013
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Benjamin Franklin Museum (Courtesy Quinn Evans Architects)

Benjamin Franklin Museum. (Courtesy Quinn Evans Architects)

The Benjamin Franklin Museum at Independence National Historical Park (INHP) in Philadelphia has bid adieu to the 1970s. Closed by the National Park Service (NPS) for a $23 million, two-year renovation, the historic site has re-opened as an 8,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility to learn about the “relevant revolutionary.” Quinn Evans Architects (QEA) was tasked with renovating the original 1976 underground museum designed by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown (VSBA). The museum now involves interactive displays, personal artifacts, and a glass pavilion, also known as the ghost house, operating as the main entrance from Franklin Court.

Continue reading after the jump.

Keeping Up With the Super-Tall Joneses: SHoP Designs Another Manhattan Skyscraper

East, Newsletter
Monday, September 9, 2013
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(Courtesy SHoP)

(Courtesy SHoP)

Manhattan’s 57th Street continues its ascent as New York City’s new gold coast with a skinny skyscraper unveiled by SHoP Architects and JDS Development today. SHoP most recently celebrated the groundbreaking of another skyscraper for JDS along the East River, but has now been tapped to build a lean, luxury high-rise on West 57th Street that could climb to a whopping 1,350 feet tall.

Continue reading after the jump.

Architecture Research Office Designs Public Art Display Panels for NYC’s Pedestrian Plazas

East
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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ARO-NYCDOT-Public-Art-Sign-archpaper-03

NYCDOT Urban Art Program (James Ewing / Courtesy NYCDOT)

Streets occupy nearly a quarter of New York City’s land, however there are limited outdoor spaces to socialize, sit, and enjoy city life outside of parks. As part of an effort to improve the quality of public space for all New Yorkers, the NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has been developing new public open space by converting underutilized street spaces into pedestrian plazas. With dozens of plazas already open and functioning across the city, the NYCDOT has been looking to polish the new spaces, installing permanent designs, improved benches, and now, specially designed signs to showcase public art.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Museum of Arts and Design Presents “Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design” Through September 15

East
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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Moskovitz, Mark_UNTITLED_EXHIBITIONupperleftopen copy

“Facecord,” 2012, Mark Moskovitz (Courtesy Mark Moskovitz)

You may think you know wood, but this exhibition stretches the material beyond convention into the 21st century, and has a distinct sense of humor. Artists and designers play with the form, starting with artist Martin Puryear, who inspired curator Lowery Sims to explore trends that destabilize conventional methods. His specially commissioned piece for this show is a puffy, tufted wing-back chair that looks so soft you could sink into it, but it is actually solid pine. Its title, A Skeuomorphic Wing Chair, 2012, refers to the ersatz, an object made to resemble another material to make the new look comfortably old and familiar, like a digital notebook app that mimics yellow lined paper. Weight is conveyed differently in Yuya Ushida’s Sofa_XXXX, 2010, a delicate lattice comprised of 8,000 recycled bamboo chopsticks, that can be expanded or contracted; or Mark Moskovitz’s Facecord, 2012, which looks like a stockpiled cord of logs, but is actually a chest of drawers.

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Three Finalists Reveal Designs for an Activated Van Alen Institute

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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Proposal by Of Possible Architectures.

Proposal by Of Possible Architectures.

New York City’s Van Alen Institute (VAI) is turning 120 next year, and to celebrate, the institute is taking its message of inspired architecture and urbanism to the street. The storefront space on West 22nd Street has been home to the institute’s popular LOT-EK–designed bookstore and event space, organized around a stack of bleachers made from reclaimed wooden doors painted highlighter yellow. VAI’s new director, David van der Leer, is tackling the redesign and expansion of the sidewalk space to maximize the organization’s public visibility as it evolves its mission into the 21st century.

Three finalists—Collective-LOK, EFGH Architectural Design Studio, and Of Possible Architectures (OPA)—were selected from over 120 respondents to VAI’s “Ground/Work” competition earlier this year, and now their schemes have been revealed.

View the finalists’ proposals after the jump.

4,765 Hugs in Store for Supporters of Successfully Funded Marina Abramović Institute Kickstarter

East
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
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Rendering of MAI Visitors Observing Interior Performance Hall (Courtesy OMA)

Rendering of MAI Visitors Observing Interior Performance Hall (Courtesy OMA)

Marina Abramović owes 4,765 hugs to the supporters of her successfully funded $600,000 Kickstarter. Last month, the artist launched the online campaign to fund her own Marina Abramović Institute (MAI) in upstate New York, a performance center conceptualized as a laboratory that will be dedicated to the practice of long-durational performance art and the “Marina Abramović Method.” Project donations ranged from $1 to $10,000 and all donors are invited to receive a personal hug from the artist in a future performance event called “The Embrace.” With help from social media, celebrity interest, and a few encouragements from Abramović herself, the center surpassed its goal by more than $60,000 before the end of its month-long funding period this past Sunday.

Continue reading after the jump

Scott Stringer to Give Harlem’s Historic Fire Watchtower an Expensive Makeover

East
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
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The Harlem Fire Watchtower (Courtesy Paul Lowry)

The Harlem Fire Watchtower is in an extremely dilapidated state. (Courtesy Paul Lowry)

Earlier this week, Manhattan Borough President and City Controller candidate Scott Stringer announced his $1 million pledge to restore a historic Harlem fire watchtower at the heart of Marcus Garvey Park. In the 19th century, the 47-foot tower served as a lookout point and the bell was raised in case of imminent danger. Today, the tower no longer protects the community but threatens it, showing substantial signs of decay and neglect.

Running a tight race against Eliot Spitzer, Stringer lags behind the former governor in terms of African American votes and is thus seeking to salvage one of the community’s most valued landmarks. The past few days, he has generated good publicity from his ability and desire to fund this restoration project.The $1 million provided by Stringer, along with the $1.75 million contributed by Councilmember Inez Dickens and $1.25 million by Mayor Bloomberg will be used to preserve the tower. The project includes a full restoration of the tower’s cast-iron structure, the removal of deficient parts, and the additional construction of a stainless steel support system.

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Le Corbusier’s Carpenter Center for Visual Arts: Fifty Years Later

East
Friday, August 30, 2013
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Folium

Building Facade (Photo Courtesy of Folium from Flickr)

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. Completed in 1963, it is Le Corbusier’s only major building in the United States, and one of his final commissions before his death in 1965. The renowned modernist architect envisaged a “synthesis of the arts,” the union of architecture with sculpture, painting, and other arts. In the spirit of Corbusier’s unique style, the building stands out among the more traditional architectural prototypes of the Harvard campus. This is evident right from his initial concept sketch of the building, where Corbusier utilized bold colors to denote the new building, while shading the surrounding Harvard campus in dark brown—a color not typically part of his visual palette.

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Dlandstudio’s Gowanus Canal Sponge Park to be Constucted in Next Year

City Terrain, East
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
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The Gowanus Canal Sponge Park (Courtesy of dlandstudio)

The Gowanus Canal Canal Sponge Park (Courtesy dlandstudio)

It has been several years in the making, but now the industrial strip along Brooklyn’s polluted Gowanus Canal will finally be transformed into a lush and porous green space aptly named The Gowanus Canal Sponge Park that will soak up and filter rainwater to help improve the overall water quality along the waterway. This $1.5 million project, a collaboration between the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and landscape architecture firm dlandstudio, will finally get off the ground with the help of city, state, and federal funding.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Metropolitan Museum Presents “Ken Price: A Retrospective” Through September 22

East, Newsletter
Friday, August 23, 2013
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Pastel (1995)

Ken Price’s colorful, sensual ceramic sculptures have always posed the question as to whether they are art or craft. But the blur may also include the architectonic. His signature forms—cups and eggs—set up a tension between exterior and interior. New York Times art critic Roberta Smith has written: “Their forms oscillated between the biomorphic and the geometric, the geological and the architectural.”

Price’s friend, Frank Gehry, designed the installation of the exhibition, Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective, currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through September 22. He lives with Price’s ceramics, his first purchase being a cup festooned with snails. Gehry wrote of Price’s work, “They were like buildings.” He cited a cup with a twisted piece at the top, and sees the similarity to his California Aerospace Museum, 1982-84, featuring an airplane jutting out of the structure. “I think the similarity of form was totally unconscious. Now I think a lot of architects must have been looking at those cups…the relationships are amazing.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Ratner Ready to Sell Majority of Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards to an Investor

East
Friday, August 23, 2013
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Dashed line indicates the site boundaries of Atlantic Yards. (Courtesy Forest City)

Dashed line indicates the site boundaries of Atlantic Yards. (Courtesy Forest City)

It has been a bumpy road for Brooklyn’s controversial Atlantic Yards development. The ten-year project-in-the-making is in the news yet again. According to the New York Times, 50 to 80 percent of Atlantic Yards is now up for grabs. Developer Bruce C. Ratner, chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies is on the hunt for an investor to buy the lion’s share of the development for a hefty sum of up to $800 million. Forest City would still hold the reigns over the future development of the project.

Continue reading after the jump.

Graffiti Mecca in Queens to be Replaced by Residential Towers

East
Thursday, August 22, 2013
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5 Pointz (Courtesy of 5 Pointz NYC)

5 Pointz (Courtesy of 5 Pointz NYC)

The former record needle and clothing manufacturing building, 5 Pointz, in Long Island City, Queens, is one of the few remaining refuges for graffiti art in New York City. For the last two decades, aerosol artists have flocked to this 200,000-square-foot warehouse to exhibit their work. But now the graffiti art mecca is one step closer to being demolished and replaced by two 47 and 41 story residential towers. In spite of Queens Community Board 2′s opposition to the plan, the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve a special permit that would allow developer G&M Realty to build a larger structure than permitted by the existing zoning. DNAinfo reported that Queens Borough President Helen Marshall also came out in favor of the plan with the stipulation that the development include 75 affordable housing units and studio space for artists.

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