Archtober Building of the Day #19
Campbell Sports Center, Columbia University
Broadway & 218th Street
Steven Holl Architects
We rode the subway to the northern tip of Manhattan to tour Columbia University’s Campbell Sports Center, designed by Steven Holl Architects. The design, based on football play diagrams, incorporates “points on the ground, lines in space” that develop from the sloping site in this industrial section of Inwood. Olaf Schmidt, associate-in-charge of the project, led the Archtober tour through the building.
Archtober Building of the Day #18
Navy Green Supportive Housing
40 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn
Architecture in Formation
The design is “not subtle,” said Matthew Bremer, principal at Architecture in Formation, of the design of the Navy Green Supportive Housing Facility in Brooklyn. The bright red, corrugated-metal facade references the neighborhood’s brick townhouses, and also the sea of red brake lights on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, visible from the site at night. The corrugated metal gives the building an industrial look and responds to the “grittiness” of the Brooklyn Navy Yard down the street. This bold building is one of four towers in the larger Navy Green development.
Archtober Building of the Day #17
East 34th Street Ferry Terminal
E 35th Street at FDR Drive
Public architecture is alive. The 34th Street Ferry Terminal, designed by KVA Architects, integrates structure, social use, the natural environment, and digital technology to realize an architecture that is sensitive and responsive to its surroundings. This approach, called “soft” or “resilient” infrastructure, creates a dynamic civic space in which flows of water, people, and information are manifested in the structure. Inspired by Walt Whitman’s 1900 poem, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” the design emphasizes the fecundity of the waterfront and the multiple uses of the pier, not only that of the commuter but also that of the wanderer, viewer, or fisherman. Technology accentuates elements of nature so that the commuter might slow down, absorbing the light, water, and the beautiful terminal, before entering or re-entering the city.
The project itself required responsiveness and adaptability on behalf of the architects. Over the fourteen years it took to complete the project, the plan underwent radical changes. Originally planning to build an encased glass structure, the terminal is now an open air, cloud-like canopy made of Teflon-coated PTFE and supported by slender triangulated steel columns. One of the flaws of the original pier structure, which they reclaimed, was that it was higher up than the point of entry onto the boats, and required stairs. Creating a second, narrower, and accessible pier opened up the opportunity to frame the water and create a second row of seats for viewing. The architects used this structural obstacle to create a place for visitors to observe and experience the water without standing on the edge of the pier.
The reflection from the water within this “frame” creates a dappling, caustic effect on the underbelly of the pier and roof canopy. The steel, undulating walls are perforated to repeat this visual effect, called a moiré pattern. KVA used sensory technology to repeat the naturally occuring beams of light between the building and the water in its LED system. The canopy roof has three “oculi” with LED lights around the perimeter. When people move across the pier, the LEDs light up in a pattern that reflects the pattern of movement, from the east to the west, or west to the east, of both the pier and the oculi. When the tides flow from the north to the south, or from the south to the north (the East River is a tidal strait, not a river), the LEDs brighten in a pattern that reflect the movement of the water at that moment.
Whitman’s poem, written in 1900, calls attention to the future of the ferry passage:
Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half an hour high;
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them,
Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring in of the flood-tide, the falling back to the sea of the ebb-tide.”
The project started in 2000, 100 years after the poem was written. Since 2000, development on the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront has proliferated. The structure survived Hurricane Sandy, and can stand up to winds twice that strength. The terminal itself was created through digital fabrication, technology that enabled an undulating, steel structure that could not have been built twenty years ago. Where will the terminal, the ferry system, and the New York City waterfront be in the next 100 years?
Board the East River Ferry to the Schaefer Landing-South Williamsburg terminal, located at 440 Kent Avenue at South 10th Street, to arrive at the Building of the Day Tour tomorrow, Navy Green Supportive Housing.
Julia Christie is a Public Information Assistant at the Center for Architecture.
Archtober Building of the Day #16
Post-Disaster Urban Interim Housing
Cadman Plaza East & Red Cross Place
Nearly three million residents live in New York City’s six emergency evacuation zones. After a natural disaster ravages communities, displaced people often leave their neighborhoods never to return, causing catastrophic economic and social upheaval. The Prototype for Urban Interim Housing Units is an attempt to remedy this condition after the storm. Instead of dispersing, residents could begin to regain what they lost, starting with a safe, resilient home.
Archtober Building of the Day #13
The Museum at Eldridge Street
12 Eldridge Street
The Columbus Day holiday and parade did not deter the Archtober faithful from attending a very special family event at the Museum at Eldridge Street. Archtober first visited the 1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue on on October 28, 2012 in the shadow of the looming Superstorm Sandy, to enjoy the fruits of a 20-year restoration project that culminated in the 2010 installation of the Kiki Smith rose window. Now, adding to the manifold riches to be found within is a fully realized Museum at Eldridge Street, the result of a collaboration of curators, historians, architects Archimuse, and graphic designers.
Archtober Building of the Day #12
The Pavilion at Brookfield Place
100 West Street
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
It is impossible not to notice The Pavilion at Brookfield Place from almost any viewpoint near it’s location on 100 West Street. A glass curtain wall seems barely to contain the steel trees that emerge from its floor. While our Archtober tour was conducted under the noonday sun, one can easily imagine the building’s brilliance after nightfall.
Archtober Building of the Day #11
Glen Oaks Branch Library
256-04 Union Turnpike, Queens
The goal of libraries is to provide communities with access to resources, said Karen Fairbanks, founding partner of Marble Fairbanks. Before Fairbanks and a large team of fellow architects, landscape architects, and engineers designed the new Glen Oaks Branch Library, community members were yearning for a facility that could provide more resources that better serve their needs.
Building of the Day #10
The Barbarian Group
112 West 20th Street
Clive Wilkinson Architects
It seems like something out of an interiors sci-fi novel: a barbaric desk comes to life, invading a helpless office floor. Nothing can stop it. It grows around structural columns. Monsters represent our cultural fears, and this could be a story expressing our anxieties about Corporate America, if it wasn’t for the fact that Clive Wilkinson Architects’ superdesk for The Barbarian Group is so functional and so cool. A 1,100-foot-long uninterrupted white surface snakes about the office, arching to create nooks for informal meetings and casual encounters.
Archtober Building of the Day #9
58 Kent Street, Brooklyn
Ole Sondresen Architect
“Nothing is better than doing nothing.” While this may be the maxim that many of us live by on lazy Sunday afternoons, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn it applies to the design philosophy of Norwegian carpenter-turned-architect Ole Sondresen. During today’s tour of the Kickstarter headquarters, Sondresen demonstrated how this sustainable principle guided his design process.
Archtober Building of the Day #8
National September 11 Memorial Museum
Liberty Street, Manhattan
Davis Brody Bond
The space is cavernous. Visitors to the National September 11 Memorial Museum are confronted, upon arrival, with their own memories, and the collective recall of a day unlike any other.
Archtober Building of the Day #6
Tavern on the Green
Central Park West & 67th Street
Swanke Hayden Connell Architects
The Swanke Hayden Connell Architects team was well represented on today’s Archtober tour with Elizabeth Moss, How Zan, and landscape architect Robin Key, principal of Robin Key Landscape Architecture. Our tour focused on the technical aspects of the restoration of the Tavern on the Green. With a detailed look at the removal of excrescences layered on from the 1930s conversion of the Jacob Wray Mould Sheepfold to the Robert Moses Tavern on the Green. Plenty of other architects, in earlier times, have had their hands on this subtle folksy Victorian decorated with polychromed brick, slate, stone, and Minton tiles.