New York City Council Approves Hudson Square Rezoning. Development is soon on the horizon for Hudson Square, the 18-block area sandwiched between Soho and Tribeca. Yesterday New York City Council approved the Hudson Square rezoning, which entails raising the allowable building height to pave the way for more residential and mixed-use development. The city was able to finagle more affordable housing and open space throughout the approval process. From the get-go, preservationists have feared that development will seep into the South Village and have pressed the city to landmark the entire district. City Council has worked out a deal with Landmarks Preservation Commission to vote on the northern section of South Village by the end of the year.
Landmarks Greenlights Proposal for DUMBO’s First Townhouses. After implementing a few small changes to the original design, Alloy Development has won the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission to build the first set of townhouses in DUMBO. The developer modified the height of the five-story residential complex by eliminating a screen on the roof level that was designed to keep out noise and maintain a certain acoustic level in the penthouse units. Now the 3,000-square-foot project needs the approval of Department of Buildings, but AJ Pires of Alloy anticipates that they will be able to break ground by this summer. (Rendering: Courtesy Alloy Development)
BIG’s Bergmann To Teach Studio on Freeway Impacts. Fourteen architecture students will be thinking BIG this spring as the NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD) in San Diego teams up with Bjarke Ingels Group to offer a design studio led by Kai-Uwe Bergmann (pictured), partner and director of business development at the world-conquering firm. Starting in April, students will explore the impact of freeways along key sections of the coast, with San Diego acting as an urban laboratory. They’ll also be asked to propose uses to make freeways like the I-5 more community-friendly. Working directly with Bergmann, the budding architects will also get an immersion in the firm’s “Yes is More” and “Hedonistic Sustainability” philosophies. “When we explored themes with BIG for this NSAD studio, from the start their interest was in something that would have an impact, such as dealing with large urban systems, patterns or infrastructure,” Kurt Hunker, NSAD director of graduate programs said in a statement.
Washington University Plans New Field House, Cyclotron. Washington University in St. Louis will soon begin work on two major projects totaling $130 million, according to NextSTL. St. Louis’ Hastings+Chivetta will design the $120 field house expansion, an extensive addition to Washington University’s historic field house, built out from the 1903 Francis gymnasium. Clayton, MO-based Ottolino Winters Huebner will design a $10 million cyclotron, a particle accelerator used for medical imaging and for the synthesis of radioisotopes for pharmaceutical production. The university’s Dr. Michel Ter-Pogossian is considered the father of positron emission tomography (PET scans), a nuclear medical imaging technique that produces 3-D images of internal body processes. (Rendering: Hastings+Chivetta)
Obama Appoints EPA and Energy Heads. President Obama is expected to announce Gina McCarthy (above, right) as the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency and Ernest Moniz (above, left) as the Secretary of Energy. McCarthy now serves as an assistant administrator at the EPA where she oversees regulating air pollution, including helping to double fuel-efficiency standards for cars, according to NPR. Moniz is currently a nuclear physicist at MIT, where he directs the university’s Energy Initiative, according to the Washington Post. He has been a proponent of alternative energy sources, but some environmentalists are wary of his support for natural gas and “fracking.” (Photo: Courtesy MIT / EPA)
Kentucky Architecture Back on the Map with a…Barn. All barn jokes aside, this is great news for the Louisville firm of De Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop. They received one of the AIA’s Institute Honor Awards for Architecture, allegedly the first Kentucky project to do so since Michael Grave’s cash register, the Humana Building. The barn is an operations facility for Mason Lane Farm and it’s really kind of amazing. Let’s hope that this becomes a rags to riches design story and that we see bigger, more amazing projects coming from De Leon & Primmer. Now that Museum Plaza was knocked off the drawing board, there’s room for a new iconic tower in Louisville. (Photo: Courtesy De Leon & Primmer)
Houses of Worship to Receive FEMA Grants. Houses of Worship damaged by Hurricane Sandy were initially excluded from receiving federal aid based on the constitutional separation of church and state. But in an interesting turn of events, the House of Representatives has approved a bill that would provide grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to rebuild synagogues, mosques, and churches. The New York Times reported that FEMA has stipulated that, according to its rules and regulations, it can only allocate federal money to “repair and replace ‘furnishings and equipment,’” which puts into question what items “are eligible.” It comes as no surprise that the American Civil Liberties Union and Congressman Jerrold Nadler oppose this legislation, calling it unconstitutional. (Photo: Loozrboy/Flickr)
NYU Opens Institute to Study Urbanization. It seems only fitting that New York City, the most densely populated city in the United States, is now home to a new academic institute devoted to the study of cities and urbanization. After receiving a generous $40 million donation from billionaire and NYU trustee Donald Marron, New York University launched the Marron Institute on Cities and the Urban Environment this week. According to the institute’s website, the institute is an “interdisciplinary and international effort to advance vital new research and teaching on cities and the urban environment,” and will “help cities around the world become more livable, sustainable, and equitable.”
Renowned architectural photographer Gabriele Basilico dies. Gabriele Basilico, one of the most important European documentary photographers working today, has died. Born in Milan in 1944, Basilico trained as an architect before taking to the camera, documenting the changing landscape of Europe, postwar Beirut, and many other regions. According to the Garlerie Anne Barrault, which represents him, he participated in the Venice Biennale and won a Golden Lion, was exhibited widely in museums and galleries, and won numerous awards for his work capturing contemporary urban conditions. His recent work has focused on urban transformations. He was 69.
Friends of the High Line Co-Founder Robert Hammond Stepping Down. Robert Hammond and Joshua David met at a community board meeting in 1999. The future of the then rusting and decrepit High Line was on the docket, and it was very much in doubt. The two joined forces to create Friends of the High Line, a non-profit that led the charge for the preservation and transformation of the disused line rail into a linear park. Today, Hammond announced he will step down as the organization’s executive director, saying, in a statement, “My passion has always been in starting new things, and I am looking forward to pursuing whatever my next project may be. In my heart I am an entrepreneur.”
Report: NTSB Chair Front Runner For Next Secretary of Transportation. With Ray LaHood out as President Obama’s Secretary of Transportation, observers have been speculating on who might take the nation’s top transportation post. According to The Hill blog, the latest front-runner is standing National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chair Deborah Hersman, replacing LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has said he wants to focus on his remaining time in office. Hersman has said she is not interested in the job, and according to the Hill, the NTSB responded in a statement, “Chairman Hersman’s full attention is focused on the important work of running the NTSB.” [Via Planetizen.]