On Monday, the Trust for Governors Island released a request for proposals, calling on developers to suggest meaningful uses for 40 of the former Army and Coast Guard base’s historic structures. New York City is in the midst of a $300 million revitalization program that is modernizing the island’s infrastructure and re-sculpting its landscape in order to transform it into a major recreational destination. The RFP seeks to bring private investment into the mix in a way that will create a sustainable economic future for the public park. In that spirit, the Governors Island Alliance has released a list of nine criteria for evaluating proposals. The criteria favor uses that enhance the public space, protect the historic character of the buildings, connect with the waterfront, and encourage a diversity “of people and price points.” Details can be found here.
With the current rise of smartphones and tablet technology, it is easy for coin-operated payphones to be cast aside as archaic tools of urban communication, but with over 11,000 functioning payphones dotted across New York City alone, these sidewalk staples have become ubiquitous in the urban landscape. And as was a lesson during Hurricane Sandy and other disasters, the payphone can serve as a reliable back-up when cell phone batteries die.
But can the payphone be updated to thrive in the 21st century? New York City is enlisting designers to rethink the role of payphones in today’s New York City, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg officially announcing the “Reinvent Payphones” competition last week.
(Editor’s Note: FXFOWLE Architect’s PR head, Karen Bookatz, offers a brief, Instagrammed account of architecture and design highlights at Art Basel Miami Beach 2012.)
Don’t get me wrong: I love art and I love attending art fairs. They provide one a unique opportunity to see what’s fresh and new in the art and design industries—or whatever trade is being rep’d—every few months. For me, however, a booth is a booth is a booth. Art fairs must continue to find new ways of further distinguishing themselves or otherwise run the risk of conventionality.
What Frieze did last May with SO-IL’s tent design (and to a lesser extent, Bade Stageberg and Cox’s environmental design effort for The Armory Show 2012) was a major step in the right direction. Likewise, custom installations and collaborative efforts, while public relations/marketing ventures more than anything else, have proven to be undeniably effective in creating buzz and increasing visibility for the respective firm, artist, or collaborative. (This is why I was personally so adamant about my own firm’s presence—with an architectural installation/lounge project at the Miami Project art fair—at this year’s Basel.)
Edgeless School: Design for Learning
Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place
Through January 19, 2013
Edgeless School investigates how technology is changing education and how architecture itself is changing as a result. The exhibition takes a look at 19 newly completed schools throughout the country (eight are in New York City and the majority of the rest are in the Pacific Northwest) and sorts them by their degree of “edgelessness.” The Ethical Culture Fieldston Middle School in the Bronx, for example, softens the distinction between the built environment and nature by embracing outdoor space and using a connection with nature as an educational tool. The L.B. Landry High School in New Orleans, LA, on the other hand, blurs conventional distinctions between constituencies by encouraging students, educators, parents, and architects to work together to create a building that is designed to further the school’s pedagogical goals.
Last week during the annual American Society of Landscape Architects’ New York Chapter’s President’s Dinner, The Architect’s Newspaper was honored for its continued coverage of landscape architecture. In tandem with the award, AN published our first issue devoted entirely to landscape architecture and urban design, in recognition of the discipline’s expanding civic role.
New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) confirmed today what many had feared: flooding damage from Hurricane Sandy has indeed delayed New York’s beleaguered Citi Bike bike share system. As AN noted last month, electrical components of the Citibike docking stations were damaged while in storage in the Brooklyn Navy Yard along the East River. The initial rollout, now scheduled for May 2013, will include at least 5,500 bikes and 293 stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, later expanding to 7,000 bikes by the end of 2013. The final goal is to have 10,000 bikes and 600 stations across the city.
Before the end of this year, the Squibb Park Pedestrian Bridge will be completed connecting Brooklyn Heights with the Brooklyn Bridge Park on the waterfront. This windy path over the BQE and through the treetops will quite literally bridge the divide and substantial grade shift between the neighborhood and the park. Construction of this $4.9 million pedestrian bridge, made of black locust timber and galvanized steel, is already underway, and on December 14th and 15th, the spans will be hoisted into place over Furman Street.
To benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy, New York City designers are hosting a furniture auction, selling pieces made from the storm’s reclaimed materials. The silent auction, Reclaim NYC, is organized by AN alumna Jennifer Krichels Gorsche, writer Jean Lin, and designer Brad Ascalon will sell the work of more than twenty artists who have all pledged to donate proceeds to the American Red Cross in Greater New York. The pieces range from tables and chairs to lighting fixtures to art objects. Some designers have even represented themes of the storm and flooding in their work and will continue to include these themes in upcoming work.
Reclaim NYC will take place on December 19 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Ligne Roset’s SoHo showroom, located at 155 Wooster Street.
Architecture students from the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) are returning to Nosara, Costa Rica to continue work on a recycling center to help alleviate the region’s overlooked municipal solid waste management problem. Led by architect and professor Tobias Holler of HOLLER architecture, the NYIT team began designing and building the recycling center last summer with the help of a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $20,000 in four weeks. To complete the project, the team has launched another Kickstarter campaign and with just 13 days to go before the campaign ends, $5,130 still needs to be raised.
On Wednesday, Forest City Ratner made it official: the world’s tallest prefabricated building will be coming to Brooklyn with a groundbreaking date set for December 18. As AN outlined in our recent feature on Atlantic Yards, the SHoP Architects-designed B2 Tower will climb, modular unit by modular unit, 32 stories on a slender wedge-shaped parcel adjacent to the new Barclays Center on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street.
Renderings released with the groundbreaking announcement also revealed design revisions to the B2 Tower since it was unveiled in November 2011, and Chris Sharples, principal at SHoP, told AN what’s new.