Reflecting the Stars on the Hudson

East
Thursday, September 1, 2011
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"Reflecting the Stars" installation on the Hudson.

With the High Line getting the lion’s share of attention lately, Hudson River Park feels more neighborhoody then ever. Last night’s opening of public art installation by artist/performer Jon Morris of Windmill Factory felt pretty down home with everyone sprawling out on the grass around Morris, who explained the inspiration for his light show which sits out in the water.

Growing up in Beria, Kentucky, Morris could see the stars, but in New York light pollution made the experience impossible.  His idea was to sprinkle a little stardust onto the Hudson in the form of solar powered LEDs attached to the tops of pilings from a long departed pier.

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Blast of Personal Truth from Port Authority’s Chris Ward

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
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From the roof of the Memorial Pavilion on August 29. (Courtesy Tami Hausman)

The memorial as we looked down from the roof of the Memorial Pavilion on August 29. (Tami Hausman)

Far from the expected pablum that these events usually generate, Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, gave a speech opening the New York Building Congress yesterday loaded to bear with fight, a lot of Good Fight, demanding continued federal funding for infrastructure. Along the way, he recalls his own version of the tortured path from Ground Zero grind to the Memorial Moment of meditation to come.

It’s quite a version and well worth a close read as he “recalls” Libeskind’s master plan as “gardens in the sky” and how that was “replaced with another vision, as realities of the site, the market” set in. Then he talks about “Breaking Away from Monumentalism” and “The Assessment” thanks to the Port Authority, which may or may not be the stinking months of pissing match between PA and Silverstein as they wrangled about responsibility for building the first then the other towers.

Sit back—but fasten your seat belt—You’ll be amazed to read what you went through:

Read the speech after the jump.

A Terreformed Summer

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
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Terreform1's Papanek award winner "Urbaneering Brooklyn" (Courtesy Terreform1)

Terreform1's Papanek award winner "Urbaneering Brooklyn" (Courtesy Terreform1)

Last week at the Phaidon Bookstore in Soho, White Box held a benefit for their new sustainable art garden by organizing a panel discussion called “Sustainable Work Lab: new projects in art, architecture and urban design.” Ali Hossaini moderated the discussion between landscape designer Frances Levine, architect David Turnbull, and urban designer Maria Aiolova.

Hossaini yielded to Turnbull’s freewheeling conversation about Socratic love, i.e. the coupling of poverty and invention. Inspired by his fresh-off-the-plane-from-Kenya presentation, the crowd indulged in the philosophical debate. Turnbull balked at biennials and instead encouraged artists “to make artifacts that are useful and have that magical quality that keep them from being thrown away.”  “Sustainability should be the bare minimum,” concurred Aiolova. She should know. Her firm, Terreform1, held a sustainability love fest all summer long, which culminated in winning the Victor J. Papanek Social Design Award on August 17.

Continue reading after the jump.

World Trade Center Site Meets Irene’s Challenge

East
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
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World Trade Center plaza under construction. (Courtesy Peter Walker)

World Trade Center plaza under construction. (Courtesy Peter Walker)

Hurricane Irene was no match for tenth anniversary preparations at the World Trade Center site. In fact, some are claiming that the storm could have been a good thing for the soon-to-be-open memorial site. Joseph Daniels, president and CEO of the Memorial Foundation, told The Observer that all the trees on the site, including the Survivor Tree, made it out of the storm unscathed. And at a depth of only six feet, the eight-acre plaza “lid” did seem quite vulnerable just a few days ago. While there was some minor flooding and dripping underneath the plaza, Daniels said, there was no major damage. If anything, Daniels was saw Irene’s drips in a glass half full, pushing the project slightly ahead of schedule: “All the preparations we did in preparing for the storm actually helped prepare us for the opening, like removing excess equipment and temporary fencing that had been surrounding the pools.”

Hold the MSG: Renovations Hurting Arena’s Profits

East
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
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Madison Square Garden under renovation. (Courtesy Madison Square Garden)

Madison Square Garden under renovation. (Courtesy Madison Square Garden)

The three year cycle of summertime renovations at Madison Square Garden is starting to eat away at its bottom line. The renovation schedule has prevented some big name events booking the arena, resulting in 39 percent drop in earning for the second quarter. At a cost of nearly $850 million (up from initial projections of around $500 mil), renovations won’t be done until 2013. Work that began this past April at the end of the Knicks’ season involved refurbishing the lower seating bowl will wrap up in October. Future work will redo the upper seating bowl and add bridges above the arena’s ceiling. [Deadline via Real Deal]

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Opponents Line Up Against Brooklyn’s Skyscraper Historic District

East
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
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Brooklyn Skyscraper Historic District stirs dissent. (Courtesy Scouting NYC)

Some heavy hitters are lining up to knock down a proposal to landmark Brooklyn’s downtown skyscraper historic district. The Brooklyn Newspaper reported that everyone from the Brooklyn Law School to the Real Estate Board of New York say that the proposal will stunt growth in the area. Not surprisingly, as we reported back in December, the folks at 75 Livingston are still raising a stink of what it will cost them as one of the few residential buildings in the district. Proponents say that landlords are posturing to push for a major retail district and don’t want the limitations brought about by landmarking.

Pictorial> MTA Perseveres through Hurricane Irene

East
Monday, August 29, 2011
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Tree limbs cover tracks in the Bronx. (Courtesy MTA / Leonard Wiggins)

Tree limbs cover tracks in the Bronx. (Courtesy MTA / Leonard Wiggins)

So Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene has come and gone, leaving most of New York City unscathed. It looks like some 700 trees were downed across the city and we’re sure a few patio chairs ran away from home, but luckily for the city, the storm lost its might as it raged toward Gotham. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority prepared for the worst before the storm, shutting down the city’s transit system electively for the first time (the system was also shut down after 9/11 and a power blackout). The agency has released an amazing set of photos of its preparation and cleanup after the storm including dramatic views of an abandoned Grand Central Station, mudslides, and flooded tracks. Take a look after the jump.

View the gallery after the jump.

Architects Leading Charge for Disaster Preparedness

East
Friday, August 26, 2011
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Worst-case flood projection for Lower Manhattan. (Via WNYC)

Worst-case flood projection for Lower Manhattan. (Via WNYC)

After going through 9/11,  the importance of disaster preparedness and relief hit home with New Yorkers. “Everyone was focusing on the fact that New York had been damaged,” said Lance Jay Brown, AIANY board member and co-chair of the recently formed Design for Risk and Reconstruction committee of the AIANY. “The architectural community was galvanized to respond.” Just coming off a jolt from a rare, if small, earthquake and with Hurricane Irene on its doorstep, New York is once again focused on planning for disaster.

Continue reading after the jump.

It Takes an Earthquake to Jolt New Yorkers

East
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
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At City Hall Park thousands waited for the all's clear to return to their offices.

At City Hall Park thousands waited for the all's clear to return to their offices.

A routine Tuesday afternoon came to an abrupt halt as our desks at AN HQ on Murray Street in Manhattan began to shake, rattle, and roll. As we grabbed our phones, commenced tweeting that we were among the survivors, and ran for the stairs, it appeared that New Yorkers all around City Hall had been suddenly given a recess to hang out in the streets.

It turned out to be the strongest quake in the City since the 19th century at a magnitude 5.9 and was centered in Mineral, VA, about 90 miles from Washington, D.C. where stones fells from the National Cathedral. Buildings were evacuated up and down the east coast from Boston to North Carolina although little damage was reported.

Continue after the jump.

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Churches Squabble as Furness Falls

East
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
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The crumbling facade of the Furness designed 19th Street Baptist Church. (Courtesy of Naked Philly)

The titan of Titan Street is mighty no longer. On the corner of Titan and 19th streets in South Philadelphia, a robust Frank Furness-designed church has been crumbling for some time, but now the Department of Licensing and Inspections has threatened to tear the building down and send a bill to the owner, the 19th Street Baptist Church. Calls to the church went unanswered—the phone is disconnected. After Naked Philly broke the demolition news on Friday, readers identified the architect as Furness, and preservationists began to rally the troops on Facebook.

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On View> Supertall! at The Skyscraper Museum

East, Newsletter
Monday, August 22, 2011
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Guangzhou West Tower Hotel Atrium, designed by Wilkinson Eyre. Courtesy Skyscraper Museum.

SUPERTALL!
WORLD TOWERS ABOVE 380 METERS
The Skyscraper Museum
39 Battery Place
New York
Through January 2012

The world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa is over twice the height of the Empire State Building—a grand total of 2,717 feet. The exhibition SUPERTALL! at the Skyscraper Museum explores the development of such architectural giants, presenting a survey of the world’s 48 tallest buildings completed since 2001 or expected for completion by 2016. The skyscrapers featured are at least 1,250 feet tall, with the majority from China, South Korea, and the Middle East, including Al-Hamara in Kuwait, above left. Organized chronologically as well as by region, the installation highlights the evolution of very tall buildings, opening with a 30-foot timeline of vertical constrution. Architectural models, computer renderings, as well as photographs and film, support a story focused on building technology, contemporary construction, and sustainable approaches. Nodding to the local as well as the global, the exhibition also includes a section on the original World Trade Center towers and the new construction rising on the site. images after the jump

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On View> Meeting Bowls in Times Square

East
Thursday, August 18, 2011
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Meeting Bowl Times Square (Courtesy Times Square Alliance)

Meeting Bowl Times Square (Courtesy Times Square Alliance)

The Times Square Alliance has partnered with Spanish collaborative mmmm… as part of an experiment in urban furniture design. The result, Meeting Bowls, is a series of three over-sized semi-spherical capsules that provide seating for up to eight people. Over the course of the next month, these exaggerated forms will invite engaging social interactions along Broadway Boulevard in Times Square. Inside the bowls, there is a feature which allows one to record and share their dialogue via smartphones or laptops. Meeting Bowls will be open from 8:00 a.m. to midnight daily through September 16th.

images after the jump

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