Shortly after the Landmarks Preservation Commission declared a section of the Grand Concourse an historic district on Tuesday, New York Times columnist Constance Rosenblum received a call with the news. Walking down Montague Street near her home in Brooklyn Heights, the usually unflappable writer burst into tears. When it comes to the Concourse, Rosenblum wrote the book. Her 2010 chronicle of the corridor, Boulevard of Dreams (NYU Press, $20), played a significant role in calling attention to the plight and promise of the neighborhood. “It was notable day,” she said in a phone interview in reference to the announcement. “It wasn’t easy for the Bronx, and the stigmas will remain for a long time.”
The New Museum has been transformed into a real-life game of chutes and ladders, or perhaps a Fun Palace a la Cedric Price, for its new exhibition Carsten Höller: Experience that opened this week and is running through January 15, 2012. The centerpiece of the show is a spiraling stainless steel slide traversing the fourth through second floors and providing what certainly must be the most rapid vertical circulation in the entire city short of a plummeting elevator . We stopped by to check out the slide and, after signing our lives away on a waiver, took a couple rides ourselves.
The closest thing we have to Carnival in the US, Halloween offers a chance for type A-types (yeah, we’re looking at you, architects) to blow off some steam. Tomorrow night, Storefront for Art and Architecture’s hosts its Critical Halloween costume soiree at the 3-Legged Dog at 80 Greenwich St. The theme? Banality!
Lest you thought this might be an eggheads-’round-the-punchbowl affair, be aware that this party just made New York Observer‘s list of New York’s 10 Hottest Halloween Events to Die For alongside fetes hosted by the likes of model Miranda Kerr and V Magazine. Read More
You could literally smell the champagne aroma at Tuesday night’s gala reopening of New York City Center. Row upon row of glasses were poured just before the doors opened to reveal Ennead’s $56 million renovation of the beloved hall. Backstage, wide-eyed dancers and musicians rushed with palpable pre-performance angst. Duncan Hazard, Ennead’s partner in charge of the restoration, gave us a whirlwind tour before the curtain went up.
Modernism in Miniature: Points of View
Canadian Centre for Architecture
1920, rue Baile
Through January 8
Modernism in Miniature examines the relationship between architectural model-making and photography, spanning the years 1920 to 1960. It posits model photography as its own genre, exploring the evolution and visual methods used to capture these miniature architectural representations. Focusing on the encounter between media and architecture, the exhibition investigates the link between design and mass media with themes such as “Object and Image” and the “Art of Simulation.” Models by architects including Mies van der Rohe, Oscar Niemeyer, Le Corbusier, and Carlo Mollino (his model for a San Remo apartment, above) illustrate the changing architectural expression and visual representation of mid-century modernism.
Rather than add a few hundred more words to the tens of thousands already devoted to praise the Diller Scofidio + Renfro / FXFOWLE renovation of the Julliard School and Alice Tully Hall, I think today that I will remember the original architect, Pietro Belluschi (1899-1994). As a young faculty member at the University of Virginia, I got to know his work a bit. He designed the UVA School of Architecture. The building was muscular, had clear structure, and well expressed the late 1960s/early ‘70s last gasps of Brutalism.
Even though Hurricane Irene blew through on August 27th without flooding the subways, which were rendered prophylactically still and silent for a day, a pesky summer storm in 2007 dumped so much water onto the M and R lines that they were forced out of service. Governor Spitzer took immediate action to mitigate the problem, and boldly mobilized the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Department of Transportation to do something about it. Solving a range of engineering problems while at the same time providing a streetscape element with some wit and whimsy, Rogers Marvel Architects created banks of raised stainless steel grates that rise up into an undulating wave of slats and hammered speckled side walls.
If Bjarke Ingels‘ ascension into starchitecture hasn’t been dramatic enough, the Danish architect is again moving up in the world. On Friday, Ingels’ firm BIG threw a party to christen their new office space in Manhattan. BIG has expanded its Chelsea presence, moving up from the third to the twelfth floor of the Starrett-Lehigh Building. A press preview of the new space preceded the party a couple floors above. Among those in attendance were Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark, who earlier this month awarded Ingels the $90,000 Culture Prize—the MacArthur of Scandinavia—for his emerging work in architecture.
Now it looks like Ingels’ October has just been getting started. The Wall Street Journal Magazine will declare the Danish architect among its inaugural Innovators of the Year. Read More
It felt a bit like the Decoration & Design Building at the Architecture and Design Film Festival last night for the U.S. premiere of Lioness Among Lions: The Architect Zaha Hadid, thanks in part to a smattering of East Side stylings in the crowd at the Tribeca Cinemas and the clever addition of Potterton Books to the festival. Waiting for the theater doors to open, we swigged wine provided by event sponsor Resource Furniture and perused shelves filled with a fantastic collection of both old and new books; Loos and Gio Ponti pressed up against Studio Gang. As we raved about Van Alen’s new bookstore, Potterton’s book buyer Beth Daugherty admitted she still mourns the loss of Urban Center Books.
Building of the Day #20: 41 Cooper Square
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
New York, NY
Often “stats” and awards are known well before the public appreciates a new building’s urban role. Cooper Union’s 41 Cooper Square, designed by Thom Mayne, FAIA, of Morphosis Architects with Gruzen Samton as Associate Architect, is more than a volume for a multi-disciplinary academic building with a co-generation plant, cooling and heating ceiling panels, low V.O.C. materials, green terraces, and “Fit-City”-worthy vertical circulation. While these stats did help the client claim the first LEED Platinum-certified academic laboratory building, Cooper has also revived a former traffic triangle and extended its identity southwards along the new Bowery. At a time when both NYU and Columbia’s building goals face sharp scrutiny, it pays to have a tough skin. Make that a gritty double skin!