Spreading out across 10,000 acres of parkland, Jamaica Bay in Queens, New York will now serve as the focus of a new science and resilience institute spearheaded by the City University of New York (CUNY) to understand how urban ecosystems respond to changing weather patterns and global warming. The CUNY-led research consortium, temporarily housed on Brooklyn College’s campus, will collaborate with other leading New York institutions to study the efficacy of natural flood protections, such as dunes and salt marshes, in safeguarding New York’s coastline. These findings will benefit and be applicable to other cities and regions that are vulnerable to flooding as sea levels rise and storms become more frequent and powerful.
A dramatic 16-story building designed by SOM has continued construction on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 14th Street in Manhattan. The structure will eventually open at the University Center for The New School, and with its Muntz metal (a type of brass made of copper and zinc) and glass facade now in place, most of the activity is happening behind closed doors. Or in this case, on the roof only viewable from neighboring buildings. In late July, crews installed a thin emerald necklace where the building sets back including what appears to be a variety of sedum plants commonly found on green roofs. The building is expected to be complete this fall. In the meantime, read about SOM’s unique approach to expressing circulation on the facade in an AN In Detail report.
Last fall, new data revealed that Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park, revered since its 2010 opening as one of the most sustainable skyscrapers in the world, is actually a bigger energy hog than similar New York City buildings. As the first skyscraper to earn a LEED-Platinum certification, the BOA Tower, designed by COOKFOX, was praised by press, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and former Vice President Al Gore, who is currently a tenant. Yet, despite its superb rating and efficiency promises, Sam Roudman of The New Republic reports that the high-rise “produces more greenhouse gases and uses more energy per square foot than any comparably sized office building in Manhattan,” including its similarity with a lower LEED rating, the Goldman Sachs headquarters.
Last week, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn announced an $8 million achievement of capital funding for the East River Blueway proposal for redevelopment of the Brooklyn Bridge Beach. The proposal, set by President Stringer and Assemblyman Kavanagh in collaboration with WXY architecture + urban design, will redesign and improve the stretch of East River greenway in Lower Manhattan from East 38th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Even as New Yorkers throng to the beaches in the Rockaways, the remnants from Hurricane Sandy still linger. One such vestige is the damaged boardwalk that once stretched from Far Rockaway to Rockaway Park in Queens. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation with the help of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in July seeking designs for the 4.7-mile boardwalk, and now the August 14th deadline is nearing.
EXPO 1: New York
22-25 Jackson Avenue
Long Island City, NY
Through September 2
EXPO 1: New York is an art festival dedicated to the environmental and sociopolitical challenges of the 21st Century that runs through September 2. In addition to occupying the entirety of MoMA PS1’s Long Island City home, the show encompasses exhibitions at other venues throughout New York City, including the Rain Room at the Museum of Modern Art and the VW Dome 2 at Rockaway Beach. The festival is centered on the idea of what its curators call “dark optimism.” The exhibitions, installations, and prototypes featured in the festival suggest the end of an era plagued by climate change, economic suffering, and political strife, and the beginning of a new, brighter future. Highlights include the legendary artist-environmentalist Ansel Adams’ photographs, Meg Webster’s site-specific ecosystem Pool, and Olafur Eliasson’s glacial ice installation Your waste of time in the basement of MoMA PS1.
A new four-acre park opened this past weekend in downtown Newark providing public access to the Passaic River for the very first time. Flanked by the bay and river, the city is home to one of the nation’s largest containers shipping terminals, yet residents have long been cut off from the waterfront. This new stretch of parkland occupies the former site of the Balbach Smelting and Refining Worksone and is now part of the Riverfront Park that neighbors the 12-acre Essex County Riverfront Park. Designed by Lee Weintraub Landscape Architecture and the Newark Planning Office, the park features an orange boardwalk made of recycled plastic, a floating boat dock, sports fields, walking and biking paths, and an area for performances.
Since the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) was constructed nearly 70 years ago, the inelegant thruway has callously split apart neighborhoods, leaving beneath it deserted stretches, visually unappealing and often vulnerable to crime. DNA Info reported that Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership is trying to revive one such blighted area in the Wallabout district of Clinton Hill. The strip right at Steuben Street and Park Avenue, which has been a site for dumping illegal trash, could soon host a farmer’s market, public art, dog run, and live music. The partnership is proposing a range of uses and looking to collaborate with local businesses—such as the creators of the now defunct DeKalb Market—to help bring activities and services to the area.
The effort to revamp the inhospitable corridor beneath the BQE has been part of an ongoing endeavor that has involved a number of organizations, spearheaded by the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project (MARP). MARP launched a planning initiative in 2009 utilizing experimental art collective, raumlaborberlin’s Spacebuster, and partnering with local institution Pratt Institute’s Planning Department to hold mini-visioning workshops. Later MARP partnered with Architecture for Humanity New York (AFHNY) to work on a 2-year planning effort called “Under the BQE” that helped to engage the community and re-imagine new uses for the spaces in addition to creating a plan to improve pedestrian and traffic safety.
First the partnership needs some funding to jump start any changes to the space. They are currently hoping to receive a NYCDOT Public Plaza grant. A wining application will be selected by January 2014.
Robert Irwin’s “Scrim veil—Black rectangle—Natural light”
The Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Avenue
New York, NY
Through September 1
It has been 36 years since Robert Irwin, now 84 years old, debuted his Scrim veil—Black rectangle—Natural light installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art. This summer, the legendary installation, designed specifically for the fourth floor of the Breuer building, returns to the museum. As the title suggests, Irwin’s minimalist installation is composed of three simple elements: a black line that runs along the length of the gallery walls, natural light that enters through the museum’s iconic trapezoidal window, and a white translucent polyester scrim hung from the ceiling that slices through the space. These elements divide the space into various geometric forms and create a disorienting experience. As visitors circle the gallery and daylight moves across the room, the perception of space is shown to be less definite than one might previously have imagined.
Non-profit ArtPlace America has awarded creative placemaking grants to 54 recipients who were selected from more than 1,200 applicants. Totaling $15.2 million, the grants will support art projects in 44 neighborhoods across the United States, as well as a statewide project in Connecticut. Grant amounts range from $33,000 to $750,000, with the average grant at approximately $280,000. The idea behind the grants is to assist in turning urban communities into more welcoming and prosperous places for present and future residents through art and design projects.