After a protracted land use review with vitriolic community meetings that disquieted even battle-hardened presenters, the Landmarks Preservation Commission finally approved plans by the Rudin development family and North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical to renovate the St. Vincent’s O’Toole building in Manhattan’s West Village. As of Tuesday, the former Maritime Union headquarters is set to become a comprehensive health care facility with emergency services.
At 7am on August 1, Genevieve White headed to work. Dressed like any personal trainer—zip-up track jacket, shorts, cross-trainers—she made her way down Wall Street. But White didn’t have an appointment to stand over a high-powered exec doing crunches. Bypassing the monumental entry of the neighborhood Equinox gym, she stationed herself on the sidewalk near William Street, stripped off her clothes, leaving on only her shoes and mirrored aviator sunglasses, and began doing jumping jacks.
In an extended period of belt-tightening, it is often the arts sector that grapples with some of the harder aspects of fund-raising. With heavy competition from other non-profits clamoring for support from the city’s enlightened wealthy, institutions must be creative and resourceful to attract new and more generous donors. For the Municipal Art Society (MAS), this dedicated support has come in the form of Robert W. Wilson.
A veteran MAS donor, a philanthropist, and a former Wall Street hedge fund manager, Wilson has committed $600,000 over the next three years to match new or increased gifts of $1,000 or more on a one-for-two dollar basis. Effective August 1st, the aim is to help MAS strengthen and sustain its base of unrestricted support, which puts control of distribution into the hands of MAS rather than a targeted program.
In his poem “One Winter Afternoon,” e.e. cummings describes Eighth Street in Greenwich Village at the “magical hour when is becomes if.” Well, it seems as though Eighth Street has reached that hour once again. The street, which once played a distinct role in Village bohemia, began as a hub for book dealers and fostered the original Whitney Museum. Eventually, the street became a district for shoe stores and edgy fashion anchored by Patricia Field. Field decamped for the Bowery about nine years ago and much of the street has since devolved into a hodgepodge of chain stores and characterless low-end retail.
Practice makes perfect, and for some Parsons students, the Splash House at Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center is a jumping off point for becoming better architects.
Parsons’ Design Workshop, a design-build studio set up 15 years ago to offer practical training to students, has partnered with New York Parks and Recreation Department to instigate a five-year initiative to identify and implement improvements in public spaces across the city. “The architecture students get a more holistic understanding of process,” said Kate McCormick, Press Officer at Parsons. “They actually learn how to make and engage the community, by finding out what it needs.” Although it usually collaborates with public organizations both inside and outside Manhattan, this is the Workshop’s first long-term municipal partnership within New York City. The first assignment: Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center in Upper Manhattan. Read More
Last week, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced that two U.S. projects have been shortlisted for the RIBA Lubetikin Prize. The distinction honors building projects outside the European Union that set a standard for international excellence. The American projects chosen as finalists are The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston by Foster + Partners and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia by Rick Mather Architects.
“This year’s shortlist is unusual in that they are all big budget projects—each with a contract value over $100 million,” RIBA president Ruth Reed said in a statement. “The list mixes some of world architecture’s most famous names, with a younger practice so it will be interesting to see who the judges choose as a winner.” The prize will be announced on October 1 followed by a feature on the winners on BBC 2′s The Culture Show.
Other finalist projects from around the world: Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House (Guangzhou, China), Foster’s Masdar Institute (Masdar City, Abu Dhabi) and the Met by WOHA (Bangkok, Thailand).
With all the NYU real estate hubbub going on around LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village, it’s refreshing to hear of a quiet transaction between two locals. This week, the AIANY signed the lease for 532 LaGuardia, an empty retail space owned by local lumber magnate Guy Apicella just one door south of the AIANY’s current home, the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia.
It’s hard to avoid the advertisements for Mercedes House; they’re everywhere. The ads, with their renderings of a completed project, employ the recent trend of touting the building’s architectural credentials, in this case “designed by Enrique Norten” of TEN Arquitectos. One could be forgiven for thinking the project was finished a long time ago. But could real estate savvy New Yorkers not notice a huge serpentine-shaped building rising on Manhattan’s West Side? Not likely. In fact, the Two Trees development is only about one quarter complete. However, as the ads note, you can move in right now–if you want to rent. More than 220 rentals are done, and when we took our walk-through last month financing was in place to complete the remaining 665 units, which includes 170 condos.
Well, you can’t say we didn’t warn you. As AN reported back in May there would be a three month grace period before penalties would be slapped on non-compliers of the new energy and water use benchmarking laws for properties over 50,000 square feet. That means time’s almost up, folks–building owners must file reports by August 1. This may not effect the architecture profession directly (as much as the property owners), but by now architects should certainly be familar with the law and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Portfolio Manager Tool. Also, another clock is ticking for energy calculations on all architectural drawings. In September the State will start conducting hard audits to make sure the numbers are there to back up the reporting.
Lists: To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts, and Other Artists’ Enumerations from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art
The Morgan Library
225 Madison Ave.
Through October 2
In partnership with the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, the Morgan Library presents a collection of lists. Works include drawings by 80 creative list-makers, including Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, and Elaine de Kooning. These to-dos, illustrated inventories, and collected thoughts reveal a certain intimacy, inviting viewers to find interest in selected biographical moments. Each list exposes process by creating a memory archive of sorting, narrowing, and sifting thoughts. Oscar Bluemner’s list of works of art, May 18, 1932, pictured above, is an illustrated inventory of the artist’s recent landscape paintings.
The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce recently hosted the 11th annual Building Brooklyn Awards, recognizing 13 buildings for innovation in expanding and preserving Brooklyn’s built environment. Awards covered a variety of categories including adaptive re-use and historic preservation, mixed-use, education, interior renovation, mixed-use, open space, and affordable housing. In addition to the building awards, the Chamber of Commerce honored Deb Howard, Executive Director of the Pratt Area Community Council and Jed Walentas, Principal of Two Trees Management for their work in restoring and revitalizing neighborhoods Bedford-Stuyvesant and DUMBO respectively.
Christina Ciardullo and Naomi Ocko
Superfront Public Summer
2nd Avenue between 35th and 36th Streets
Industry City / Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Through August 28
Christina Ciardullo and Naomi Ocko‘s (CO) winning design Weightless Pull for Superfront Public Summer opened Sunday, July 17th and will be on view through August 28th. Christina Ciardullo and Naomi Ocko designed the space with a focus on geometry, mechanics, and materials. With a particularly specific method of installation, the collaborative studio observed the conditions of the space and calculated needs for the project based upon the presence of wind between two industrial buildings.
Weightless Pull, constructed much like a series of slender sails, creates a vertical wind field composed of plastic wrap, nylon rope, and 600 different knotting systems. The resulting movement emphasizes the scale of the location. As the architects noted, “a volume is created by the blowing out of long horizontal lengths of plastic rising from the ground to 80 feet above at the height of the surrounding buildings.”