While the majority of New York City is pre-occupied with the recovery efforts post-Hurricane Sandy, the Department of City Planning (DCP) is discussing and introducing different measures that can be taken to protect our buildings from future storms. At a review session yesterday, Howard Slatkin, the Director of Sustainability and Deputy Director of Strategic Planning for the DCP, presented Hurricane Sandy: Initial Lessons for Buildings. From the start, Slatkin maintained that newly constructed buildings designed to code “fared better.” He listed several buildings—such as The Edge in Williamsburg, IKEA in Red Hook, and Arverne by the Sea in the Rockaways—as examples of new developments that successfully withstood the storm.
David Zwirner Gallery
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Through December 22
Diana Thater’s video installation, Chernobyl, captures the effects manmade disasters have on the natural environment. Situating her work on the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear explosion in the Ukraine, which left a no-man’s land with the sudden evacuation of over 100,000 people, Thater highlights the possibilities nature has to rebuild itself when the ruins of industrial infrastructure are left to decay. She focuses on Prypiat, a city that was built to house nuclear plant workers, and the city’s wildlife, specifically the Przewlski’s Horse species that were released post-disaster and left free from human contact. Her work, both beautiful and startling, forces us to consider how we perceive images and their potential to dictate how we see our world.
New York said no, but Miami says yes. After losing out to Norman Foster to design a tower in Midtown Manhattan, Zaha Hadid has been asked to design her first skyscraper in the Western hemisphere in downtown Miami, the Miami Herald reported. No design has been released, but the new residential tower will be located at 1000 Biscayne Boulevard on the site of a BP gas station on the city’s waterfront Museum Park, seen in red above. The site is part of a row of condo towers along the boulevard known as the “Biscayne Wall.” Developers Gregg Covin and Louis Birdman aren’t releasing details, but told the Herald the project will be officially unveiled early next year.
As AN previously reported, Hadid is also building a new parking garage in Miami, which was approved for construction in November. Elsewhere in North American, Hadid is working on a dramatic house in San Diego and has been designing smaller-scale interiors and products. Also check out renderings of Hadid’s Manhattan proposal here.
For those in the market for prime waterfront real estate, there is something brewing in DUMBO. Today Brooklyn Bridge Park issued a Request for Proposal for a development on a vacant parcel in the north section of the park right next to the Manhattan Bridge. This site, located in what will be called the “John Street Section,” is approximately 9,600 square feet and will accommodate up to 130 residential units (with a maximum height of 130 feet) in addition to over 100 parking spaces and retail on the ground floor level.
The Paul Rudolph townhouse at 23 Beekman Place hit the market in early December, listed at $27.5 million. The property consists of four separate apartments, including the four-level penthouse that Rudolph himself lived in, along with his pet rabbits. But buyer beware: the penthouse, which was renovated in 2006 by Della Valle and Bernheimer, retains many signature Rudolph elements, like the death-defying stairways with no rails. Potential buyers should also consider getting “some new sprinklers and a back-up security system installed,” as Chas Tenembaum, one fictional former tenant of The Royal Tenenbaums fame, noted after failing to escape the house in adequate time after a fire drill. “Four minutes and forty-eight seconds. We’re all dead. Burned to a crisp.”
Even though the Midtown East rezoning is still under consideration, SL Green Realty is counting on it becoming a reality. According to Curbed, the developer has tapped architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox to design an office tower at 1 Vanderbilt Street located a block from Grand Central Terminal. SL Green needs the rezoning to be approved to move forward with the construction of their 1.55-million-square-foot building. The proposed rezoning would allow for taller buildings to be built if developers make a contribution to a fund called a “District Improvement Bonus,” which would be used for area-wide pedestrian network improvements.
It has been a busy few weeks at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Last week, AN got a preview of the Squibb Pedestrian Bridge, which will be completed before the end of the year, and today, Mayor Bloomberg announced the opening of the new sports fields on Pier 5 and the nearby Picnic Peninsula, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. Regina Myer, the President of Brooklyn Bridge Park, told the crowd that they have been advocating for these recreation fields since the mid-1980s, which will now be used for a variety of field sports including soccer, lacrosse, rugby, flag football, and cricket.
This $26 million project spans 5-acres and offers turf fields supported by shock pad and organic infill made of sand and coconut fibers, shade sails on the northern and southern sides of the pier, and lighting for evening games. In addition to field recreation, there will be an area reserved for fishing with bait and preparation tables provided and a 30-foot promenade on the periphery of the field.
These days, it seems that the Brooklyn community is doing its best to find creative solutions to ameliorate the awkward neighborhood divisions caused by the BQE. The Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) just received a grant for $75,000 from the NYC Department of Small Business Services to create what they’re calling a “funderpass” that will turn the dreary BQE underpass into a pedestrian-friendly passageway, which provides a direct connection between the shops and businesses on Atlantic Avenue and the Brooklyn Bridge Park and Pier 6.
The Atlantic Avenue BID will team up with the Design Trust for Public Space to redesign the underpass to include wall murals by Groundswell, and new amenities such as a bike service station, seating, lighting improvements, and prominent wayfinding signage. BID hopes to finalize the design and possibly implement these changes by the end of 2013.
In response to the New York City Department of City Planning’s proposal to rezone Midtown East, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) has asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission to give landmark status to 17 buildings in the 78-block area concentrated around Grand Central Terminal. It is a last ditch effort to preserve several prominent structures—with styles ranging Beaux Arts and Renaissance Revival to Neo-Gothic and Mid-Century Modern—before Midtown gets the green light to raze old structures and erect new (and taller) buildings that provide modern features for tenants who “want open space plans” wrote the DCP in its proposal. The New York Times described the re-zoning as part of the Bloomberg administration’s vision to re-vamp midtown and turn it into a more competitive business district.
Some notable buildings that have made MAS’ list include the New York Health & Racquet Club in Gothic Revival Style, the Graybar Building with Art Deco accents, the Neo-Gothic Swedish Seamen’s Church, and the Yale Club noted for its neo-classical façade.
What’s on today’s lunch menu? Well for Boston residents it may be a library card, a dog license, or even registration to vote. With Boston’s food-truck-inspired “City Hall To Go” municipal services are no longer bound to one location. A menu of seasonal services are now rolling to locations throughout the city to serve residents less able to travel to the actual city hall or navigate their website. Citizens can also report complaints at the truck.
Archability, an online database for architecture and design match-making, is showing support for the victims of Hurricane Sandy with its “Building Relief” campaign. The site has pledged to donate half of all sales now through January 22 to Habitat for Humanity’s Disaster Response initiative. The site is also asking architects selected for projects through Archability’s services to contribute 15 percent of their commissions to the campaign.
“As a New York resident this tragedy hit particularly close to home, so starting a relief program just seemed natural,” Livingstone Mukasa, Archability founder and CEO, said in a statement. ”We want to utilize Archability’s global talent pool to increase awareness and provide financial assistance to the victims who are in a difficult rebuilding process. Habitat for Humanity provides the perfect channel for helping repair and construct homes in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.”