“How can a construction toy be ‘playful’?” This is the problem that Tamar Zinguer asked her Cooper Union students in a recent seminar focused on the architecture of play. For this session, Zinguer, who has taught the course before, decided to eliminate the visual aspect, a sensory aspect of toy design highly relied upon in previous seminars’ constructions. Focusing less on color and more on the experience of the object, the result is a set of innovative and wonderfully textured toys, from blocks to shells, that encourage play for the visually impaired.
A revamped South Street Seaport Museum shook off the dust last night to reopen after a three-month renovation overseen by the Museum of the City of New York. The exhibits were both a departure from and an embrace of the old collection. The design team, particularly Wendy Evans Joseph and Chris Cooper of Cooper Joseph Studio, turned what could have been a cramped exhibition arrangement into a free-flowing multi-leveled space.
Despite a very public effort by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) to stop City Council’s landmarks subcommittee from approving Downtown Brooklyn’s skyscraper district, the measure passed, paving the way for a full Council vote on February 1. As the proposed district always had full support of Council Member Stephen Levin and Borough President Marty Markowitz, it wasn’t likely that REBNY’s shot across the bow would make much of a difference. But it may point to a more assertive stance by the group which has been decrying layers of regulations from Lanmarks and ULURP.
City Planning approved the Rudin development family’s plan for the old St. Vincent’s Hospital Site today allowing the Rudin Managment company to build an $800 million multi-use complex. The plan includes 450 luxury condos, a 564-seat school, 15,000 square-foot-public park, and street-level retail. The St. Vincent’s plan went through a bevy of iterations before finally arriving at today’s approval.
Richard Rogers’ planned 80-story Three World Trade Center could come in a little short—okay, 73-stories short—if office tenants aren’t found for the under-construction tower by the end of the year. Crain’s reports that developer Larry Silverstein plans to cap the tower at seven floors and fill the podium with retail uses. If an anchor tenant is later found—as late as 2020—the building’s cap can be removed and construction resumed to reach its original height.
The New York City Department of Design and Construction is now managing the majority of capital construction for the Department of Sanitation and the Department of Parks. DDC spokesperson John Ryan Martine confirmed that the agency is now officially responsible, adding that the shift was in response to a request from City Hall to facilitate consolidation. The DDC already works closely with both departments. For example, DDC will be responsible for the design and renovation of Tavern on the Green. Recently, Sanitation ceded responsibility to DDC for construction of its controversial garage at Spring Street designed by Dattner and WXY.
Michael Maltzan Architecture has won the competition to redesign St. Petersburg, Florida’s iconic pier. In a group of ambitious proposals from the likes of West 8 and BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), Maltzan’s scheme was perhaps the most so, with a group of interconnected bridges and pathways arranged along a figure-8 plan leading to a large shell-structure at its end. Called “The Lens,” the gigantic project will frame the city through its structure and create a connection between downtown St. Petersburg and its waterfront. It will include a new tidal reef, a civic green, raised walking paths, an amphitheater, a water park and other leisure activities. More on this breaking story to come shortly.