EVENT> Guggenheim Launches Stillspotting, Queens Edition, April 14

East
Friday, April 13, 2012
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In SO-IL's Transhistoria project, writers tell stories in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens.

In SO-IL's Transhistoria project, writers tell stories around the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens. (Courtesy Guggenheim)

When New Yorkers seek an island of calm within the city, they usually think of finding a patch of grass in a park, not making a beeline to the streets of Jackson Heights. But stillspotting, a series of programs sponsored by the Guggenheim, promises pools of respite in the most unusual places.

Selected artists and architects are paired with each of New York five boroughs and asked to create “spots” of stillness–what that might mean seems to be completely at their discretion. Last June artist Pedro Reyes’ Sanitorium project in Brooklyn offered visitors a selection of “urban therapies”; in September the architects of Snoehetta teamed up with Estonian composer Arvo Part to create To a Great City, a series of installations deploying weather balloons accompanied by Part’s music in a handful of spaces around Manhattan. Now, the architecture firm SO-IL is defining stillness through time, specifically the time it takes for a writer to read a short story. Read More

Books and Mortar

East
Friday, April 13, 2012
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A corbel dome made of books. (Courtesy Miler Lagos)

A corbel dome made of books. (Courtesy Miler Lagos)

Artist Miler Lagos is building a library, but think twice before pulling out a book. For his recent installation called Home at the Magnan Metz Gallery in New York City, Lagos constructed an entirely self-supporting dome out of nothing but books.

See more after the jump.

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Van Valkenburgh to Design Gardner’s Garden

East
Friday, April 13, 2012
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Museum in 1946 following a Japanese-inspired update. (Courtesy Gardner Museum)

The Monks Garden at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1946, following a Japanese-inspired redesign. (Courtesy Gardner Museum)

“I don’t have time to read, because I trot about with the gardeners. And the little monk’s garden at Fenway Court is very dear too,” Isabella Stewart Gardner wrote to her art advisor Bernard Berenson in 1908.

The walled “monk’s garden” flanks the Gardner Museum‘s Venetian-style palazzo (the house originally known as Fenway Court that became today’s museum) and was first planted in 1903 in an Italianate-style with elegant evergreens running along the walls and pathways. In the 1940s museum director Morris Carter resdesigned the Monks Garden using a Japanese style plan but seeding it with New England wildflowers. For the garden’s last update in the 1970s, Sasaki Associates added bluestone pavers and wooden benches. And the recent addition to the Gardner campus by Renzo Piano included a repositioning of the museum’s main entrance, a move that gives the Monks Garden a much higher profile, warranting another facelift. Read More

Is Brooklyn Becoming Farm Country?

East
Thursday, April 12, 2012
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Inside the rooftop greenhouses. (Courtesy Bright Farms)

Inside the rooftop greenhouses. (Courtesy Bright Farms)

A massive new urban farming project in Sunset Park, Brooklyn was announced last week by New York City-based Bright Farms, a company dedicated to building hydroponic farms close to supermarkets. The Sunset Park project will be the largest rooftop farm in the city, and possibly the world. At 100,000 square feet, it could potentially yield 1 million pounds of produce a year and joins several other agricultural projects in Brooklyn. Brooklyn Grange, another rooftop farming operation located in Queens, is planning to open a 45,000 square foot urban farm at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and farm-developers Gotham Greens will be opening a new location in the borough as well.

Read More

Redesigning the National Mall: Constitution Gardens

East
Thursday, April 12, 2012
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OLIN & Weiss/Manfredi

OLIN & Weiss/Manfredi

[Editor's Note: Following the unveiling of proposals to redesign the National Mall, AN will be running a three-part series to display the proposals for each of the three segments of the Mall: Constitution Gardens, Union Square, and the Washington Monument Grounds.]

A 50-acre parcel of the National Mall, Constitution Gardens, lies just north of the Reflecting Pool and east of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Grade changes keep it somewhat hidden from the main stretch of the Mall, and many tourists (and locals) visit the monuments and Smithsonian museums without coming across it. The gardens’ focal point is a small lake with an island that visitors can access by footbridge. The National Park Service has struggled with the site’s poor soil conditions—the ground was dredged from the Potomac River back in the late 19th century—and with upkeep of the paths and other features.

The National Mall Plan of 2010 calls for an “architecturally unique, multipurpose visitor facility, including food service, retail, and restrooms” to be developed at the east end of the lake, as well as a flexible performance space.

Check out all the proposals after the jump.

MIT Launches New Multidisciplinary Initiative.  MIT Launches New Multidisciplinary Initiative With a $1.5 million Mellon Foundation grant in hand, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is establishing a Center for Art, Science and Technology (CAST), which will advance integrated arts education in higher learning. The proposal was co-sponsored by the associate provost and the deans of the schools of Architecture and Planning and Humanities,  Arts, and Social Sciences. The grant will provide funds for faculty, researchers, and curators to develop multidisciplinary programs that traverse art, science, and technology. It will also support the University’s Visiting Artists program. “MIT has a great legacy in this domain,” Architecture Dean Adele Naude Santos said in a statement. “MIT created the first architecture program in the country and is today a leader in new forms of design and digital fabrication; the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, founded by György Kepes in 1967, established a model for collaborations among artists, scientists and engineers; and the Media Lab is internationally renowned for pioneering efforts in the fields of design, media arts and electronic music.”

 

Blanc’s Bronx Vertical Garden

East
Thursday, April 12, 2012
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Patrick Blanc's cube installation at the New York Botanical Garden.

Patrick Blanc's cube installation at the New York Botanical Garden. (AN/Stoelker)

As architects like Herzog & de Meuron and Jean Nouvel tap into the potential of vertical gardens, they’ll often seek the expertise of Patrick Blanc. For the past thirty years Blanc developed vertical gardens while researching adaptive strategies of plants at the National Center for Sceintific Research in France. His research of plant growth in nature’s more hostile environs, such as hanging off of stone cliffs or springing from rocks next to waterfalls, has yielded a uniquely urbanistic solution for gardening. For the next ten days there’s a small window of opportunity left to see the work of Blanc at its most luxurious. The botanist designed the New York Botanical Garden‘s annual Orchid Show which ends on April 22. As a bonus, this also happens to be the moment that the Gardens’ 250 acres are at the height of their springtime burst.

Read More

Shortlisted Teams Reveal a Reimagined National Mall

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
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Constitutional Gardens proposal by Nelson Byrd Woltz and Paul Murdoch.

Constitutional Gardens proposal by Nelson Byrd Woltz and Paul Murdoch.

The Trust for the National Mall, a nonprofit devoted to restoring the heavily used park in the core of Washington, D.C., has released the shortlisted design concepts in its National Mall Design Competition. The 10 teams in the contest’s final stage were asked to reimagine three sites on the Mall most in need of repair or improvement: Constitution Gardens, near the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool; the Washington Monument grounds; and the area around the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial facing the U.S. Capitol’s west face.

Continue reading after the jump.

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NYU Takes a Shave; Locals Still Not Pleased

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
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The NYU expansion plan as seen from above will not change drastically. (Courtesy NYU)

The NYU expansion master plan as seen from above will not change drastically. (Courtesy NYU)

As was largely expected following comments from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer‘s office leaked to the press last month, officials from NYU announced that the university has agreed to shave off 370,000 square feet from their 2,275,000 square foot expansion plan, The New York Times reported.

In a telephone interview with AN, Andrew Berman, of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said that even with those changes the project is still out of scale for the neighborhood. Berman added that he was disappointed that the Borough President (BP) didn’t hold public meetings for the ULURP, as was done for the Columbia University expansion in Morningside Heights. “If there was ever a ULURP to hold a public hearing for, it was this,” he said.

Continue reading after the jump.

Architectural League Honors Amanda Burden’s Commitment to Quality Design

East
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
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Amanda Burden. (David Malosh)

Amanda Burden. (David Malosh)

Amanda Burden, Chair of the New York City Planning Commission and Director of the Department of City Planning, is the recipient of the Architectural League of New York’s highest honor, the President’s Medal. The League’s President and Board of Directors grant the award to individuals in recognition of an exceptional body of work in architecture, urbanism, or design. The medal was presented to Burden last night at an awards ceremony.

Continue reading after the jump.

Christie’s ARC Accounting Questioned.  New Jersey Governor Chris Cristie's tunnel numbers are being questioned (Courtesy crooksandliars.com). The accounting methods that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie used to put the kibosh on new cross Hudson train tunnel were called in to question in a report released today, the New York Times reports. Christie said that the project, called the Access to the Regions Core (ARC), could run up to $14 billion, but independent Congressional investigators found that it would cost no more than $10 billion. He also claimed that New Jersey would foot more than 70 percent of the bill, but investigators said it would have been more like 14 percent. It should be noted that a constant Christie critic, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, commissioned the report. No matter, it seems to be no skin off the governor’s nose. NJ.com grabbed a quotable quote from the governor speaking in New York this morning at the George W. Bush Institute Conference on Taxes and Economic Growth: “So when they want to build a tunnel to the basement of a Macy’s and stick the New Jersey taxpayers with a bill of $3 to $5 billion over, no matter how much the administration yells and screams, you have to say no.”

 

Bjarke Gets A Tan: Twin Torquing Towers Planned in Miami

East, Newsletter
Monday, April 9, 2012
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The torquing towers. (Courtesy Grove at Grand Bay)

The torquing towers. (Courtesy Grove at Grand Bay)

After a loss in Chicago, Bjarke Ingel’s North American tour continues unimpeded as the design for his latest project, a set of twisting towers in Coconut Grove, Miami, was revealed at an invitation-only party in late March. Called the Grove at Grand Bay, the set of 20-story towers will contain a combined 96 luxury residences, 59 units in one tower and 37 in the other, on the three-acre site currently occupied by the once-hip-but-now-shuttered Grand Bay Hotel that once entertained the likes of Michael Jackson, Prince, and Pavarotti. Tenants of the new towers, however, are likely to be just as rich and possibly as famous.

Continue reading after the jump.

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