Archtober Building of the Day #1
The Public Theater at Astor Place
425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY
Many “Building of the Day” tours demonstrate the vibrancy of New York City, as it manifests itself in public spaces, public buildings, and, today, in the Public Theater. Theater shows us who we are, and the Public Theater has presented a balanced mix of Shakespeare, classics, musicals, contemporary works, and experimental. The lobby is filled with words, and immediately my head is filled with quotes from the Bard: “What do you read, my lord,” and Hamlet replies: ”Words, words, words.” So we kick off with some good words about the public, the theater, and the splendid blend of history and aspiration that brings them all together.
The Japanese retailer Uniqlo—a favorite among budget conscious designers and students—has announced a new scholarship fund for Japanese students accepted into programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Harvard Business School. The retailer will provide $600,000 in funding over the next three years. We think it’s a smart move on their part, though we wish the funds weren’t only for Japanese students! Have you seen the numbers for our national student debt lately?!? Too bad American Apparel is broke…
Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his plan to reduce New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent over 2005 levels by 2050. Needless to say, that’s a pretty ambitious target, but this mayor seems to like ambitious targets—his plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade comes to mind. But back to his latest plan, the climate plan.
A straight-forward, standard-issue park just won’t do for the uber-trendy, graffiti-covered streets of Miami‘s Wynwood Arts District. Instead of merely carving up green space within the artsy district, Tony Cho, a local real estate broker and developer, launched an international design competition to turn a parking lot into a public space worthy of its distinguished neighborhood.
Philadelphia is getting tantalizingly close to transforming its 40th Street Trolley terminal into an inviting public plaza. Plans to remake the one-acre space have been in the works for about a decade, but things officially got started in 2012 when the University City District (UCD)—a collection of businesses and institutions near the terminal—was awarded a William Penn Foundation planning grant for the project.
The Center or Urban Pedagogy (CUP), long one of the most provocative, insightful and productive non-profits in New York City, is holding its annual benefit event Thursday ,October 16th at The Green Building, 452 Union Street in Brooklyn. CUP uses the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement. It has a long history of successful collaborations with designers, educators, advocates, students, and communities to make educational tools that “demystify complex policy and planning issues.” There is not organization in New York more deserving of our support than CUP and tickets are now on sale for the evening of conversation, cocktails, and CUP projects! Get your tickets now!
Despite pleas for preservation from some of the nation’s top architects, demolition work has begun on a nationally significant example of “Brutalist” architecture in north America, the 1967 Morris A. Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland, designed by the late John M. Johansen.
A yellow backhoe with a spike-like attachment began chipping into the theater’s concrete exterior earlier this month, ending any chance that the building could be saved. One local preservationist was able to salvage the original letters from the building, but nothing else. Read More
In the early 20th Century, the sprawling, 29-building Public Health Service hospital on the south shore of Ellis Island was the biggest federal hospital in the country—and possibly its most state-of-the-art. The comprehensive medical institution treated over one million newly-arrived immigrants ill with diseases like tuberculosis, measles, trachoma, and scarlet fever.
In 1948, Paul Rudolph was residing at the American Academy in Rome. He had traveled there to study classical architecture, but was instead spending his days designing modern houses for Sarasota, Florida. In fact, Sarasota, according to Timothy Rohan who has recently published a monograph on Rudolph, made a huge impression on the architect and defined his work for the rest of his career. He had moved there to apprentice and work for the local architect Ralph Twitchell, who in the 1940s helped create a style of modern house that eventually became known as the Sarasota school.
The picturesque Longwood Gardens outside of Wilmington, Delaware has announced a $90 million plan to revitalize its 83-year-old fountain garden. The expensive undertaking will include replacing the fountain’s aging electric and plumbing infrastructure, restoring limestone reliefs, installing new plantings and pathways, and improving guest access to the garden. The historic renovation is being led by Beyer Blinder Belle with West 8 overseeing the garden’s public space design.
The historic Wardman Tower in Washington D.C. is getting an interior update courtesy of Deborah Berke. The New York–based architect has been tapped by JBG Companies to update all of the building’s interior spaces and its 32 private residences. According to JBG Companies, the renovation “will pay tribute to the opulence of mid-century Paris while adding an open and contemporary feel to the spaces.” If it wasn’t obvious, that’s code for: Expensive. As in, these condos will be very expensive—priced between $2 million and $8 million. According to the Washington Post, that could make the Wardman condos “the most expensive units ever to hit Washington.”