Pittsburgh The Latest To Join the Bike Sharing Game

East
Monday, March 25, 2013
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Mockup of a bikeshare system in Pittsburgh. (Courtesy City of Pittsburgh)

Mockup of a bike share system in Pittsburgh. (Courtesy City of Pittsburgh)

Pittsburgh is the latest in a long line of cities preparing to launch a bike share system. According to the Bike PGH blog, Mayor Ravenstahl announced the 500-bike, 50-station program earlier this month. Similar to systems in other cities, bikes will be available for short-term rides for a small fee. Portland, OR-based Alta Planning and Design will partner with the city to launch the system, the same company involved with New York, Washington DC, and other major bike share systems. More information will be available at two community meetings scheduled for April 2nd and 3rd. The city hopes to roll out the new bikes in 2014.

Herald Center—From Discount Drab to LED Luminous

East, Newsletter
Monday, March 25, 2013
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Proposed facade for the Herald Center mall.

Proposed facade for the Herald Center mall. (Courtesy Moed de Armas & Shannon)

Located at one of the busiest intersections in Manhattan—and probably the world—the outdated Herald Center has recently been slated for a $50 million facelift by Moed de Armas & Shannon architecture firm. Hailing from the 1980s, the tinted black windows on the first three floors will be replaced with sheer insulated glass, while the façade of the remaining floors is transformed to offer passersby an LED-lit view befitting the luminous Times Square a few blocks north.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pending Sale of Philadelphia’s Roundhouse Police Headquarters Spurs Campaign for Landmark Status

East
Friday, March 22, 2013
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The Roundhouse Police Headquarters (Courtesy of Save the Roundhouse)

The Roundhouse Police Headquarters (Courtesy of Save the Roundhouse)

It has been a rough few months for modernist civic buildings. First, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks denied Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital landmark status, and then came the demolition of Richard Neutra’s Gettysburg Cyclorama, and now the future of The Roundhouse, Philadelphia’s Police Headquarters, hangs in the balance. Last week, during his budget address, Mayor Nutter brought to light the city’s plan to renovate the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Building at 4601 Market Street and turn it into the new police headquarters (to be shared with the City Morgue and the Health Center). Nutter said that the move would mean selling the Roundhouse, along with several other municipal buildings. PlanPhilly reported that the city would pay for the renovation of 4601 Market Street with long-term borrowing, but the costs of the project “would be offset by the sale of the three would-be surplus municipal properties.”

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Before SHoP’s Domino Sugar Plan, Brooklyn To See Urban Farming and Bikes

East
Thursday, March 21, 2013
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Domino Sugar Factory Site E marked in red. (Courtesy Bing Maps)

Domino Sugar Factory Site E marked in red. (Courtesy Bing Maps)

While Two Trees still needs to make it through the ULURP process before breaking ground on its SHoP Architects-designed mixed-use development for the Domino Sugar site on the Brooklyn Waterfront, the developer has just announced plans for Site E, a vacant parcel on the corner of Kent Avenue and South 3rd. A large section of the 55,000-square-foot lot will be dedicated to a community green space run by North Brooklyn Farms that will host a range of Brooklyn-friendly activities and classes from yoga to urban farming. And on the western side, there will be a bike course, organized by New York City Mountain Bike Association, with areas for riders of all levels. This new urban farm-meets-bike recreation spot will open to the public in May and close once construction commences on the development.

New York City Council Approves Hudson Square Rezoning.  Aerial view of Hudson Square. (Courtesy Hudson Square BID) Development is soon on the horizon for Hudson Square, the 18-block area sandwiched between Soho and Tribeca. Yesterday New York City Council approved the Hudson Square rezoning, which entails raising the allowable building height to pave the way for more residential and mixed-use development. The city was able to finagle more affordable housing and open space throughout the approval process. From the get-go, preservationists have feared that development will seep into the South Village and have pressed the city to landmark the entire district. City Council has worked out a deal with Landmarks Preservation Commission to vote on the northern section of South Village by the end of the year.

 

Landmarks Greenlights Proposal for DUMBO’s First Townhouses.  Rendering of townhouses (Courtesy of Alloy Development) After implementing a few small changes to the original design, Alloy Development has won the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission to build the first set of townhouses in DUMBO. The developer modified the height of the five-story residential complex by eliminating a screen on the roof level that was designed to keep out noise and maintain a certain acoustic level in the penthouse units. Now the 3,000-square-foot project needs the approval of Department of Buildings, but AJ Pires of Alloy anticipates that they will be able to break ground by this summer. (Rendering: Courtesy Alloy Development)

 

Philip Vourvoulis Leads April 12 Workshop on Architectural Glass

East
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
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facades_01

If you’ve seen the giant etched-glass dragon snaking across the ceiling at Shun Lee Palace in New York, you’ve glimpsed of the handiwork of Philip Vourvoulis, an expert in architectural glass known for his work on projects ranging from museums to residences to restaurants. On April 12, Vourvoulis will lead the workshop “The Challenges of Glass Architecture: Controlling the Appearance and Performance of Glass in the Building Facade” part of  Facades + PERFORMANCE, an upcoming conference on high-performance building enclosures sponsored by The Architect’s Newspaper.

At the workshop, Vourvoulis will be joined by Christoph Timm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Bruce Milley of Guardian Industries, and Nick Bagatelos of BISEM. In the form of an interactive panel discussion, the group will explore the latest in architectural glass materials and processes, including new printing processes, electrochromic products, and other high-performance glazings. Using case studies, the workshop will highlight strategies to optimize performance while maintaining aesthetic control. This workshop offers 4 LU/HSW AIA CE credits.
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NYCHA to Lease Parcels of Land within Eight Public Housing Developments

East
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
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New York City Public Housing Developments (Courtesy of NYCHA)

New York City Public Housing Developments (Courtesy of NYCHA)

After much speculation, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has officially announced its plan to lease parcels of land right in the middle of eight public housing developments in Manhattan to private developers. For several months, NYCHA officials have held meetings at the proposed sites, but the plans have been met with criticism from residents and local government representatives.

Continue reading after the jump.

Congress Meets to Consider New Bill Seeking to Eject Gehry’s Design of the Eisenhower Memorial

East
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
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Frank Gehry's design for the Eisenhower Memorial. (Courtesy NCDC)

Frank Gehry’s design for the Eisenhower Memorial. (Courtesy NCDC)

Congress held a hearing today to discuss the funding and controversial design of the Dwight D. Eisenhower memorial designed by Frank Gehry. Representative Rob Bishop is leading the charge with a new bill that aims to oust Gehry from the $142 million project and hold a new competition to find a more “appropriate” design. The Washington Post reported that the main gripe is over the massive metal tapestries encompassing the memorial, which would display images of Eisenhower’s early childhood in Kansas. The Eisenhower family has expressed that the grandiose scale of the design, specifically the tapestries, is out of touch with the former president’s character.

Architect magazine live tweeted that there were few defenders of Gehry’s memorial at the hearing except for Rep. Holt, and a fair share of confusion over what this bill entails and ultimately means for the future of the memorial.

City Planning Approves Lightstone Group’s Pared Down Gowanus Development

East
Monday, March 18, 2013
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Lightstone Group's mixed-use development along the Gowanus Canal (Courtesy of Lightstone Group)

Lightstone Group’s mixed-use development along the Gowanus Canal. (Courtesy of Lightstone Group)

After much backlash from New York City Councilmember Brad Lander and several community members in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Lightstone Group has decided to abandon its proposed “minor modification” in favor of keeping the as-of-right design for its Gowanus Canal-side development that is in compliance with the rezoning passed in 2009.

Today the New York City Department of City Planning gave Lightstone the greenlight to move ahead with its 700-unit residential development on the Gowanus. The “Minor Modification” would have used a waiver to extend the depth in the rear yard. And while the design initially won the community board’s support, the damage and flooding from Hurricane Sandy in the area generated concern and protest among some residents.

Continue reading after the jump.

Cash-Strapped Brooklyn Public Library to Sell Two Branches to Private Developers

East
Monday, March 18, 2013
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Pacific Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. (Utopian Branch Library / Flickr)

Pacific Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. (Utopian Branch Library / Flickr)

Right as the New York City Housing Authority goes public with its controversial plan to allow developers to build high rises in the middle of public housing developments, the Brooklyn Public Library is taking a similar approach with the hope of mitigating its ongoing financial struggles. The New York Times reports that the library plans on selling off the land beneath two of its branches—The Brooklyn Heights Library at Cadman Plaza and the Pacific Library on Fourth Avenue—to developers who will then tear down the buildings and carve out space for them on the ground floor of their new residential towers.

Continue reading after the jump.

In Construction> WXY’s SeaGlass Carousel in Battery Park

East
Monday, March 18, 2013
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(Branden Klayko / AN)

(Branden Klayko / AN)

WXY architecture + urban design has been adding to Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park over the years, designing concession stands, a variety of benches, and a fountain, but their latest addition is adding a twist on the usual urban carousel. AN began watching the ocean-themed SeaGlass carousel back in 2006 when it was announced and the Battery Conservancy will be hosting a topping off ceremony for the structure on April 18. The carousel’s frame is made of stainless steel, evoking the spiral of a giant sea shell or the ornate ceiling of a cathedral.

WXY principal Claire Weisz said the part of the facade now covered in plywood sheathing will be clad in metal panels while other portions will include “smart glass” that can change from transparent to a dark blue tint. The solid areas serve as projection surfaces on the interior where underwater scenes will add to the enchanted effect of riding atop larger-than-life sea creatures like dolphins, clown fish, and turtles. Watch Weisz and co-principal Mark Yoes describe the carousel and other WXY projects in their Emerging Voices address from March 16, 2011. SeaGlass is the the latest in a line of high design carousels in New York, joining Jean Nouvel’s Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

More photos and renderings after the jump.

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