Philly Gearing Up For Bike-Share: Toole Design Group Selected To Create Business Plan

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
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(Montage by AN; Skyline photo by Andy Atzert / Flickr)

(Montage by AN; Skyline photo by Andy Atzert / Flickr)

A bike-share program is on the horizon for Philadelphia. In the last few months, the city has taken a number of steps to move the initiative forward. After setting aside $3 million in funding for the program, a selection committee—made up of the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council—released a Request For a Proposals (RFP) for a strategic business plan, consulting, and cost estimate services. Now, a winner has been announced.

Continue reading after the jump.

Renzo Piano’s Brain Behavior Institute Breaks Ground at Columbia’s Manhattanville Campus

East
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
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Rendering of Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute by Renzo Piano (Courtesy of Columbia University)

Rendering of Renzo Piano’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. (Courtesy Columbia University)

Construction of Columbia University’s 17-acre Manhattanville campus is now underway in northern Manhattan. The Wall Street Journal reported that work has already started on the foundation of the Jerome L. Greene Science Center that will house the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. This 450,000-square-foot glass building, designed by Renzo Piano, is the first of 15 new buildings to be built on the campus and is slated to open in 2016.

Future plans for Columbia’s expansion include new homes for the Columbia Business School and the Lenfest Center for the Arts. Developer and Boston Properties CEO Mortimer Zuckerman has pledged $200 million to the endowment of the institute. The tab for the entire campus should run up to $6.8 billion.

Restoration of Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia Rotunda Underway

East
Monday, January 28, 2013
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The University of Virginia Rotunda. (Patrick Morrissey / Flickr)

The University of Virginia Rotunda. (Patrick Morrissey / Flickr)

No one really knows what Thomas Jefferson’s Rotunda, modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, representing the enlightened human mind, and standing at the head of the University of Virginia’s Academical Village lawn in Charlottesville, VA, looked like originally. The structure burned in 1895, the result of an electrical surge from a local streetcar line, and records of the original design are not complete. Over the years, various generations have rebuilt and restored the structure according to their own interpretations of Jefferson’s design and to the needs of the time. Now 40 years after the last major renovations took place for the nation’s bicentennial, UVA has covered the Rotunda in scaffolding and begun the latest round of improvements to the once-crumbling structure.

Continue reading after the jump.

The Story Behind New York’s Steamy Streets.  The Story Behind New York's Steamy Streets If you’ve been to New York, you’re sure to have seen the ubiquitous orange-and-white striped chimneys spewing steam from the middle of Manhattan’s busiest streets. Slate digs into the story behind the steam, and the 105 miles of pipes that distribute the commodity to buildings around the city for heating and other purposes. According to Slate, these street chimneys are put in place when repairs are being made and excess steam is released through the system’s 3,000 manhole covers. (Photo: Eric Wüstenhagen / Flickr)

 

When New York’s East River Froze Over

East
Friday, January 25, 2013
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"Crossing the East River on the Ice Bridge," 1871. (Courtesy New York Public Library)

“Crossing the East River on the Ice Bridge,” 1871. (Courtesy New York Public Library)

It’s been a mild winter so far in New York, and with the first onset of below-freezing temperatures, city folk are donning their heavy jackets and gloves. And while the winds whipping around the glass and steel towers of Manhattan might feel as if it’s as cold as it’s ever going to be, consider a century ago when temperatures were low enough to freeze the East River from the banks of Brooklyn to the Manhattan waterfront, still two different cities at the time, providing thrill-seeking pedestrians with an instant new crossing years before the Brooklyn Bridge was built.

The above view was engraved in 1871 and titled, “Crossing the East River on the Ice Bridge,” depicting dozens of New Yorkers walking across what would normally have been a busy maritime thoroughfare. While such a natural feat seams unlikely today, Gothamist has collected clippings to show that the phenomenon was known to occur around once a decade on the East River during the 19th century and there have been reports of similar frozen-river bridges along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers as well. For instance, in 1851, an estimated 15,000 pedestrians, horses, and sleighs crossed the frozen river.

Restoration of Brooklyn’s 3,200-Seat Loew’s Kings Theater Underway

East
Thursday, January 24, 2013
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Inside Loew's Kings Theater. (Courtesy NYC Mayor's Office)

Inside Loew’s Kings Theater. (Courtesy NYC Mayor’s Office)

The lights on the Loew’s Kings Theater’s marquee have been dark for over 35 years since the last showing of Islands in the Stream in 1977. In fact, the entire king-size, 3,200-seat, French-Baroque movie palace is looking quite dim these days, much of its ornate plasterwork worn, damaged, or missing from years of decay and neglect and its terra-cotta facade in need of cleaning. City officials had to string ropes of temporary construction lights through the still grandiose, if a little shabby, lobby, just to make the announcement on Wednesday that Brooklyn’s largest indoor theater is coming back to life in a big way thanks to $93.9 million in new investment from public and private sources.

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> Renzo Piano’s Whitney Museum Time-Lapse Construction Along the High Line

East
Thursday, January 24, 2013
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Renzo Piano’s new Whitney Museum and adjacent maintenance building have been quickly rising between the High Line and the Hudson River in Manhattan, topping out on December 17, 2012. Now, the Whitney has condensed the entire construction sequence from its groundbreaking in October 2011 up through January 14 into one easy-to-watch time-lapse video. And if you just can’t get enough of the Whitney under construction, you can watch live on this webcam or take a virtual fly-through of the new museum here. [Via Curbed.]

FEMA Says No to Houses of Worship.  (David Sundberg / ESTO) Churches and synagogues are among the structures that suffered considerable damage from Hurricane Sandy, and while several non-profit organizations qualify for federal disaster assistance grants, houses of worship will not be eligible for aid because of a constitutional separation of church and state. A group of Jewish organizations is not giving up and continues to apply for grants. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman has presented an amendment to the Hurricane Sandy recovery appropriations bill to add houses of worship to the list of eligible organizations. (Photo: David Sundberg / ESTO)

 

Foster’s Exterior Changes Green-Lighted at the New York Public Library

East
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
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Rendering of Foster + Partners' proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

Rendering of Foster + Partners’ proposed renovation of the New York Public Library. (Courtesy Foster+Partners / dbox)

Preservationists who have waged a battle against Foster + Partners’ planned renovations of the New York Public Library received bad news Tuesday: The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the library’s application for changes to its Beaux-Arts exterior, mostly on the side facing Bryant Park, in a six-to-two vote.

The $300 million renovation calls for removing seven floors of stacks beneath the famous Rose Main Reading Room to accommodate a large workspace and the collections from the Mid-Manhattan and the Innovative Science, Industry, and Business Libraries. This might be a major step forward for the library, but the approval process is not yet over. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Landmarks Commission can only vote on changes proposed to the landmarked exterior—the decision about the stacks is out of their hands.

Revamping New York Airports: Mogul Puts Up Cash To Lobby For Infrastructure Upgrades

East
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
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LaGuardia Airport circa 1940. (Courtesy Boston Public Library / Flickr)

LaGuardia Airport circa 1940. (Courtesy Boston Public Library / Flickr)

Joseph Sitt, a frequent flyer and the founder of Thor Equities, has channeled his frustrations with New York City’s congested and out-of-date airports into a new venture called the Global Gateway Alliance. The advocacy group is dedicated to improving operations and service at Kennedy, La Guardia, and Newark Liberty International airports. Sitt hopes the group will be able to press the government and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to address the problems, such as the failing infrastructure, deteriorating terminals, and delays, that plague the three major metropolitan airports. Sitt, who will act as the Chairman, has jumpstarted the group with $1 million of his own money.

CCNY’s Architecture School To Add Solar-Powered House On Its Roof

Dean's List, East, Newsletter
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
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Solar Roofpod to be installed atop CCNY's Spitzer School of Architecture. (Courtesy CCNY)

Solar Roofpod to be installed atop CCNY’s Spitzer School of Architecture. (Courtesy CCNY)

Beginning this summer, City College of New York’s Spitzer School of Architecture will welcome home its 2011 entry to the U.S. Solar Decathlon, a biennial student competition to design ultra-sustainable homes sponsored by the Department of Energy. The solar-panel-topped house, dubbed the Solar Roofpod, will be perched atop the architecture school and flanked by rooftop gardens and even a windmill. The house will be used as a meeting space and teaching device to show the benefits of environmentally-friendly design and materials.

Solar Roofpod was designed as a prototype structure that could easily attach to the roofs of buildings in high-density neighborhoods in cities like New York. A team of more than 100 students at the Spitzer School of Architecture and the Grove School of Engineering along with Architecture Professor Christian Volkmann designed and built the structure that was eventually displayed on the National Mall. The Solar Roofpod is expected to be fully reassembled in its new home in time for the fall semester.

As City Point Prepares to Start, Unions Protest.  As City Point Prepares to Start, Unions Protest With phase two of Brooklyn’s City Point development set to break ground this week, the Wall Street Journal reports on bubbling labor troubles at the COOKFOX-designed pair of residential towers that will be partially built by non-union workers. The Journal noted that while many mega-developments across New York City are being built with union labor, such as Atlantic Yards’ B2 Tower, Hudson Yards, and Hunters Point South, the City Point example “underscores how the city’s powerful construction unions are losing their grip on development projects.” More renderings after the jump.

 

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