These days, it seems that the Brooklyn community is doing its best to find creative solutions to ameliorate the awkward neighborhood divisions caused by the BQE. The Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) just received a grant for $75,000 from the NYC Department of Small Business Services to create what they’re calling a “funderpass” that will turn the dreary BQE underpass into a pedestrian-friendly passageway, which provides a direct connection between the shops and businesses on Atlantic Avenue and the Brooklyn Bridge Park and Pier 6.
The Atlantic Avenue BID will team up with the Design Trust for Public Space to redesign the underpass to include wall murals by Groundswell, and new amenities such as a bike service station, seating, lighting improvements, and prominent wayfinding signage. BID hopes to finalize the design and possibly implement these changes by the end of 2013.
New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) confirmed today what many had feared: flooding damage from Hurricane Sandy has indeed delayed New York’s beleaguered Citi Bike bike share system. As AN noted last month, electrical components of the Citibike docking stations were damaged while in storage in the Brooklyn Navy Yard along the East River. The initial rollout, now scheduled for May 2013, will include at least 5,500 bikes and 293 stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, later expanding to 7,000 bikes by the end of 2013. The final goal is to have 10,000 bikes and 600 stations across the city.
Before the end of this year, the Squibb Park Pedestrian Bridge will be completed connecting Brooklyn Heights with the Brooklyn Bridge Park on the waterfront. This windy path over the BQE and through the treetops will quite literally bridge the divide and substantial grade shift between the neighborhood and the park. Construction of this $4.9 million pedestrian bridge, made of black locust timber and galvanized steel, is already underway, and on December 14th and 15th, the spans will be hoisted into place over Furman Street.
On Wednesday, Forest City Ratner made it official: the world’s tallest prefabricated building will be coming to Brooklyn with a groundbreaking date set for December 18. As AN outlined in our recent feature on Atlantic Yards, the SHoP Architects-designed B2 Tower will climb, modular unit by modular unit, 32 stories on a slender wedge-shaped parcel adjacent to the new Barclays Center on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street.
Renderings released with the groundbreaking announcement also revealed design revisions to the B2 Tower since it was unveiled in November 2011, and Chris Sharples, principal at SHoP, told AN what’s new.
Downtown Brooklyn has an unusual situation on its hands: it has a surplus of parking spaces. But soon developers may get the green light to put that space to other use. As AN reported this summer, the city’s zoning rules require new residential developments to build large garages, most of which have remained half empty. With a plethora of transit options in the area—including 13 subway lines, seven subway stops, more than a dozen bus routes, and a commuter rail to boot—there is little demand for parking, which is why the Department of City Planning (DCP) and developers are advocating for new zoning. Yesterday the New York City Council considered a proposal from the DCP that suggests reducing the minimum parking requirements from 40 percent to 20 percent of new residential housing units, which would free up those spaces for other uses whether it be mixed-income and affordable housing or public parking. City Council will likely hold a vote on the proposal on December 4th.
If you ride your bike along Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn on your way to or from Williamsburg, you may have noticed a splash of color along the bike lane’s barrier. Similarly, the Flushing Bay Promenade in Queens got some color recently in efforts to bring art to the public. The New York City Department of Transportation, New York Cares and the Community Affairs Unit organized the event in collaboration with two Brooklyn-based artists Deanna Lee and Kara Lynch.
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Experimental systems and new materials break ground in an untapped field of architecture
Earlier this month, Brooklyn-based design practice The Principals installed Wave Dilfert, an interactive “light-sensitive barrel vault” created for The Feast, a social innovation conference that took place this year in Essex Street Market. With their unique trifecta of talents, the founders of The Principals—Christopher Williams, a metal fabricator, Charles Constantine, an industrial designer, and Drew Seskuras, an architect—seem poised to lead the pack of interactive environmental architects. Interactive design is a quickly growing field thanks to events like do-it-yourself festival Maker Faire and the proliferation of open-source electronics prototyping platforms like Arduino. But before The Principals dominate the design-build world, we wanted to revisit the installation that caught everyone’s eye at NY Design Week: Cosmic Quilt. Read More
Plans for the Hub, a 53-story tower planned for the ever-growing Downtown Brooklyn were released in February, but the Dattner-designed project comes into clearer focus when new views were revealed this month. Developed by the Steiner family, who is also building a 50-acre media hub/film studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the tower will house 720 apartments and 42,000 square feet of retail space and feature a large rooftop terrace and bike parking for each unit. Located at 333 Schermerhorn Street just blocks from the new Barclays Center, The Hub could measure up as Brooklyn’s tallest when it’s completed in 2014.
With the last digitally fabricated piece of rusty Cor-ten steel in place, crowds have begun to pack the newly opened SHoP-designed Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Last week, AN spotlighted the arena and its adjacent Atlantic Yards mega-project in a three-part feature on the arena’s design and public space, a look at the next phase of AY set to break ground by the end of the year, a 32-story residential tower that could be the largest modular construction building in the world, and a look at the complex digital design and fabrication process employed by SHoP Architects to design and build the complex geometry of the structure.
While we’re waiting for the next phase of construction to begin, take a look back at this time lapse construction view of the arena. [h/t Gothamist.]
The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation issued an RFP last week seeking qualified developers to revamp the post-Civil War Empire Stores warehouse in DUMBO, according to Crain’s. The adaptive reuse project, originally drafted in 2002, has been postponed several times over the last decade due to a lack of developers willing to address the building’s “scary structural issues.” Proposals, which are due on December 10th, could add up to 70,000 square feet and two additional stories to the existing buildings. Projects must be community friendly and address design challenges at the intersection of preservation and sustainability.