SACRED SPACES IN PROFANE BUILDINGS
Storefront for Art and Architecture
Through November 5
How do we practice our religions, beliefs, or spiritual ideas in New York City outside of established churches, synagogues, and mosques? In the newest exhibit at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, architect and researcher Matilde Cassani explores how we celebrate and observe our beliefs in unconventional spaces: converted shops into prayer spaces, apartments turned into churches, and sidewalks into chapels. Cassani invited New York residents to submit photographs and descriptions of local places of worship to create an online archive, with highlights selected for the Center’s exhibition, such as the photograph of the Soho Synagogue converted from a Gucci store above, by John Hall.
Mayor Bloomberg’s vision for a pedestrian-friendly Times Square is about to be written in stone. On September 27, Snøhetta gave Community Board 5 a preview of things to come at the Crossroads of the World, and they look a lot more permanent than lawn chairs and painted pavements. Principal Craig Dykers presented designs for dark and darker pavers that largely eliminate any bias for an automotive Broadway, stepping the plaza streetscape up to sidewalk grade and adding elongated benches to indicate long-gone traffic patterns. In homage to New York noir, the designers have also embedded nickel-sized reflectors adding a hard bit of glitz to the dark stones that will not compete with the glam above.
According to an email from Seth Solomonow, Press Secretary at the NYC Department of Transportation: “This long-planned redesign will restore the aging utilities below the street, which itself hasn’t been rebuilt in more than 50 years and still has trolley tracks beneath the asphalt. On the surface, this simple, flexible design will clear obstructions and support the growing number of programs occurring in Times Square, which more than 350,000 people visit every day.”
Deborah Wye’s lecture on Orchard Beach yesterday at the City Island Historical Society Nautical Museum was months in the making. The curator emerita of MoMA’s prints department was immersed in research about a year ago for the Nautical Museum’s exhibit celebrating 75 years of Orchard Beach in Pelham Bay Park and in particular its bathhouse pavilion. The show, called Orchard Beach Pavilion: Past, Present and Future, runs through October 16. The show and lecture got a huge bump when Christopher Gray made the pavilion the focus of his “Streetscapes” column in Sunday’s New York Times.
Just around the corner from AN’s office sits the so-called Ground Zero Mosque. The image of a police officer guarding the mostly empty cast iron building has become such a part of the landscape, that we barely notice it anymore. But today, the doors were flung open onto a brightly lit gallery space adorned with color photographs of New York children representing almost every nation on earth.
DesignNYC, an organization connecting New York designers with nonprofits, community groups, and city agencies, presents its current cycle of projects under the banner, “Recharging Communities.” In designNYC’s second annual exhibition, eight teams showcase their in-progress collaborations including among others: Educating Tomorrow, which uses communications design to establish an online forum on sustainability issues for NYC educators; the Greenhouse Project, which creates an urban farm in an unused lot in East New York; Nostrand Park, on the development of an engaging urban corridor in Crown Heights; and PortSide New York (above), a project enhancing a boathouse and community center in Red Hook.
The season got off to wet and windy start with the launch of Urban Design Week. We started in Brooklyn and while the opening of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Jane’s Carousel wasn’t on the official agenda, there were plenty architecture world heavyweights in attendance. AN‘s Julie Iovine got there early to chat with the architect of the carousel’s pavilion, Jean Nouvel. Later, we popped over to the BMW Guggenheim Lab and with minutes to spare even got to hear a lecture over at the Neighborhood Preservation Center.
The man in black designing a Merry-Go-Round seems a jarring fit. But out on the Brooklyn waterfront buffeted by winds on a raw point between the muscular grandeur of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, Nouvel seems just the right man to insinuate something as delicate as a life-size interactive music box into a setting as tough as the Brooklyn waterfront. Read More