Eavesdrop> Smoke and Mirrors.  Eavesdrop> Smoke and MirrorsArchitect and set designer David Rockwell will be waving his wand over a new Broadway production based on the life of Harry Houdini. But this time, Rockwell won’t just be creating the sets, he’ll also be co-producing. The idea has been in the works for years, and now Rockwell and a glitzy team—Hugh Jackman in the leading role, Aaron Sorkin on the script, Jack O’Brien as director, and Kurt Andersen, who helped develop the project, as creative consultant—will conjure HOUDINI into reality by 2014.

 

Chelsea Hotel Charm Offensive

East
Thursday, January 12, 2012
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Yaddo on 23rd? Smith wants an artist in residence. (Stoelker/AN)

Yaddo on 23rd Street? Smith wants artists-in-residence. (Stoelker/AN)

The Chelsea Hotel management and architect Gene Kaufman launched a charm offensive last night in the hotel’s “Grand Ballroom.” Patti Smith came to sing and read poetry to a small media and arts crowd. Tonight, Smith will return to perform for residents. The artist is a longtime hotel alum who launched her career from Room 203. Kaufman and his client, hotel owner Joseph Chetrit, have been taking a beating in the press and in the courts for their renovations of 127 year-old hotel. Smith reached out to Kaufman, helping him to make good on a promise that the hotel would continue to foster the arts.

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On View> The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan

East
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
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Columbus Circle in the late 19th century. (Courtesy MCNY)

Columbus Circle in the late 19th century. (Courtesy MCNY)

The Greatest Grid:
The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811–2011
Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue
Through April 6, 2012

In 1807, to head off health threats and a growing lack of habitable space, New York City’s Common Council commissioned a three-year project to organize massive land development north of Houston Street. The Museum of the City of New York presents The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811–2011 in honor of the bicentennial of the 1811 Commissioners’ Plan for New York, which established the iconic street grid from Houston to 155th Street. Along with the original, hand-drawn map of New York’s grid plan, other historic documents demonstrate the city’s physical development due to the grid’s application and evolution over time. Co-presented by the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Public Library, and The Architectural League of New York, and sponsored by the Office of the Manhattan Borough President, The Greatest Grid will be on display until April 6.

More photos after the jump.

Opening Salvo Aimed at NYU Expansion

East
Thursday, January 5, 2012
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Andrew Berman takes the mic before an overflow crowd at the Center for Architecture. (Stoelker/AN)

Andrew Berman takes the mic before an overflow crowd at the Center for Architecture. (Stoelker/AN)

It was the opening shot heard ’round the Village–and the East Village, and SoHo. An overflow crowd gathered at the Center for Architecture last night to rally the troops opposing NYU’s twenty year expansion plan. It certainly wasn’t the usual black-clad crowd found at the Center. No, these were some good old fashioned Village rabble rousers.

The event was organized by the Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, who assured the crowd that the NYU Core plan is “not a done deal.” On Tuesday, the university certified proposals with City Planning, thus kicking off the ULURP process for what is likely to become one of the most contentious development debates of 2012. The proposal is, after all,  in the heart of Jane Jacobs country.

Just across the street from the Center are the remains of Robert Moses’ failed attempt to build the Lower Manhattan Expressway through SoHo after Jacobs and Co. put a halt to the plan. Parcels of land assembled by the Department of Transportation to accommodate the failed highway are now parkland commonly known as the DOT strips. A substantial portion of the 1.3 million square feet NYU wants to build in the area would be placed beneath the strips. The university has proposed designating the strips as parkland after the construction is complete, with the new green space designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.

No matter the promises, this was not a crowd that trusts the university. The term “Midtown Zoning” got thrown about with on-message regularity. As did square footage metaphors, such as “bigger than the Waldorf-Astoria,” “the size of the Empire State Building,” and “three Jacob Javits Convention Centers.”

Council Member Margaret Chin was on hand to listen, but not to state her pro or con position–despite pressure from the crowd.

This month’s Community Board 2 subcommittee meetings will no doubt be unusually crowded as they’re all dealing with the proposal. If you want to see some New York zoning theater in action, here’s a selected breakdown:

Land Use:  Mon., 1/9 6PM at The Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Pl.

Traffic and Transportation: Tues., 1/10 @ 6:30 NYU Silver Building, 32 Waverly Pl. room 520

Parks:  Thurs., 1/12 @ 6:30PM at NYU Silver Bldg. 32 Waverly Pl. room 520

Full Board: Thurs., 1/19 @ 6:00PM 116 West 11th Street, Auditorium

 

Board Named for WTC Performing Arts Center

East, Newsletter
Thursday, January 5, 2012
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The site of the proposed performing arts center sits directly east of One World Trade Center.

Possible site of the proposed performing arts center sits directly east of One World Trade Center.

It had to happen before midnight December 31. And it did, although quietly. Downtown Express reports that five founding board members for the World Trade Center Performing Arts Center (PAC) were announced by National September 11 Memorial President Joe Daniels in the nick of time, in order not to forfeit access to $100 million in LMDC funds set aside in fall 2010 for the lone surviving cultural venue–apart from the September 11 museum–at the site, where once many were envisioned as the most sure-fire way to lift ground zero out of the psychological depths of mourning for the lost.

Continue reading after the jump.

Obit> Anne Tyng, 1920-2011

East
Thursday, January 5, 2012
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Anne Tyng, photo credit: Ramak Fazel

Anne Tyng, 1920-2011. Photo: Ramak Fazel.

Anne Tyng, the Philadelphia architect and design professor, passed away on December 27. Born in 1920, Tyng was best known as a close collaborator—and even muse—of Louis Kahn, but she herself was an extraordinary figure. She established her career with theoretical writings that reflected a deep interest in mathematics and design, themes that she explored in Simultaneousness, Randomness and Order, her Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania, and pursued throughout her professional life.

Anne Tyng: Inhabiting Geometry, an exhibition that opened last year at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, was an elegant summation of her theoretical research on design and of her professional and academic career. Several of Tyng’s geometric designs from the ICA show were later exhibited at the Graham Foundation in Chicago, a longtime supporter of her work.

The Architect’s Newspaper will publish a more extensive obituary written by Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss in our next issue.

Will Cornell stand by SOM to build NYC Tech Campus?

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
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Inside the proposed Cornell campus.

Inside the proposed Cornell campus.

Multiple factors helped the Cornell/Technion team win what is shaping up to be Mayor Bloomberg’s favorite super-scale legacy project. Stanford, the only real competition, withdrew; a windfall of a $350 million donation blew in; local Cornell alums pulled out the stops with petitions. High on that list is SOM’s preliminary design proposing a net-zero building and a permeable landscape, developed with Field Operations, woven in, over, and into multiple structures lending an interactive and public character to the entire campus.

This wholly sustainable, radically accessible design plan has become a signature of the project as the city ambitiously strives to become an East Coast high tech start-up incubator bar none. And yet it is unclear if SOM will remain on the job.

Continue reading after the jump.

Slideshow> A New York Year in A New York Minute

East, Newsletter
Monday, December 26, 2011
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The acrylic from Nouvele's carousel mutes views of the Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade, and Ghery's 8 Spruce. (Stoelker/AN)

The acrylic walls of Nouvel's carousel building offer a new view of the Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade, and Gehry's 8 Spruce. (Stoelker/AN)

Neither blizzards, an earthquake, or Hurricane Irene slowed down work here at 21 Murray Street. Nor did any of these disrupt work down the street at the World Trade Center. The demonstrations at Zuccotti Park did not get in the way, nor the spontaneous turn out following the death of Osama bin Laden. Construction only paused for the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Some of the year’s biggest stories sat at our doorstep, and quite often, we only had to go downstairs to capture their images. Here are a few photos of the news and news-makers taken downtown, as well as a few from uptown, across town, and over the river…

View slideshow after the jump.

Buildings = Energy at the Center for Architecture

East
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
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A design by Perkins and Will explores passive system choices of integrated photovoltaics at the bottom of windows and a reflective panel at the top to bounce light back into the building.

A design by Perkins+Will explores passive system choices through integrated photovoltaics at the bottom of windows and a reflective panel at the top to bounce light back into the building. Angled window panes help reduce solar heat gain. (Courtesy Perkins+Will)

Amidst the event saturated month of Archtober and the holiday hubbub that followed, the Center for Architecture‘s fall show, Buildings = Energy, got a bit lost in the shuffle. But there’s still time to check it out through January 12. Earlier this month Margaret O. Castillo took AN on a tour of the exhibit, the last under her tenure as AIANY chapter president. The show drives home several green points that Castillo has been hammering at all year, primarily the fact that buildings consume energy–a lot of it.  Eighty percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, and in New York City alone they use 94 percent of the power. The exhibit takes a holistic approach focusing on the amount of energy needed to extract and make materials, to the energy used to build, and the energy consumed by the completed structure.

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Proposed Light Installation Responds to Noise Pollution in Red Hook

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
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Silent Lights proposal (Courtesy Artist Build Collaborative).

Silent Lights proposal (Courtesy Artist Build Collaborative).

The Artists Build Collaborative is attempting to bring light and clarity to an area of Red Hook most notable for its darkness and confusion. The proposal, Silent Lights, is a system of interactive illuminated gates along a pedestrian path along Hamilton Avenue under the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. With a high concentration of both human and motor traffic in the area, the installation will respond to the surrounding vehicular cacophony by translating sound pollution into light, allowing the auditory experiencee to be both seen and heard.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Cornell Wins: Next Stop Roosevelt Island

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
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SOM's plan for Cornell's tech campus on Roosevelt Island.

SOM's plan for Cornell's tech campus on Roosevelt Island.

With his hand essentially forced by a hasty withdraw of Stanford on Friday, and the hugely enticing carrot of a $350 million gift from Duty-Free billionaire and Cornell alum Charles Feeney, Mayor Bloomberg announced on Monday that the Cornell team will be building the NYC Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island. The terms “game changer” and “transformative” were bandied about with regularity throughout the mayor’s midday press conference, which was streamed live on the net to the delight of Cornell’s partnering campus, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology. The Israeli students’ digitally lapsed cheering added a techy touch.

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Slideshow> SHoP’s Pier 15 Opens to Public

East
Monday, December 19, 2011
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The SHoP designed Pier 15 opened to the public today. (Stoelker/AN)

The SHoP-designed Pier 15 opened to the public today. (Stoelker/AN)

Before all eyes and ears were focused on the mayor’s announcement about Cornell and their EDC project upriver, AN was downtown for a much quieter opening of yet another EDC project. Without fanfare, the SHoP-designed Pier 15 opened to the public today. With the exception of another photographer and a family visiting from Spain, we were the only ones at the pier when the security guard unhooked the chain.
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