Sky High & the Logic of Luxury
The Skyscraper Museum
39 Battery Place
New York, NY
Through April 19, 2014
For Manhattan architecture, the sky has always been the limit. The current trend in super-slender, luxury high-rise residential buildings has excited a niche clientele and captured the attention of skyscraper architects. This October, The Skyscraper Museum explores these ultra slim constructions, from their contextual rise to the modern engineering technologies that have rendered them possible.
On Saturday night, New York’s architecture community gathered in Manhattan’s historic 69th Regiment Armory to celebrate the Architectural League of New York on the centennial of the original 1913 Armory Show. The sold out party welcomed 1,350 design-minded revelers dressed as their favorite “–ism,” the theme of this year’s event, representing everything from surrealism, revivalism, Dadaism, classicism, and brutalism. In all, over $100,000 was raised for the League.
SITU Studio designed an installation to bring scale to the cavernous armory space, working with Renfro Design Group on an integrated lighting scheme. A series of white fabric prisms were suspended from the ceiling, serving to humanize the space while providing an armature for digital projections. Pulsing music built excitement throughout the night, which culminated in a procession of giant vellum marionettes, each controlled by a team of three performance artists, and a troupe of vellum-clad artists wandering through the armory, encouraging attendees to dance.
Foster + Partners likes to think of itself as a high-design firm with glamorous projects all over the world. But the banal rendering accompanying this week’s announcement of a new 19-story, “luxury” residential tower, 551 West 21 Street, belies their design skills. Could it be that they have a two-tier design strategy in their office where glamorous cultural institutions get “Sir Norman” and commercial towers get, well, something less?
The streets of Lower Manhattan were especially crowded today as New Yorkers and tourists alike gathered around the World Trade Center site to mark the 12th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. A national moment of silence was observed at 8:45 a.m. this morning—the time the first jet struck the World Trade Center—to reflect on the disaster and all who were touched by the devastation. Over a decade after the attacks, Lower Manhattan is in the midst of a strong recovery. With AN‘s offices only a couple blocks away from the World Trade Center site, we have been able to watch daily as construction continues at rapid speed.
Earlier this week, Manhattan Borough President and City Controller candidate Scott Stringer announced his $1 million pledge to restore a historic Harlem fire watchtower at the heart of Marcus Garvey Park. In the 19th century, the 47-foot tower served as a lookout point and the bell was raised in case of imminent danger. Today, the tower no longer protects the community but threatens it, showing substantial signs of decay and neglect.
Running a tight race against Eliot Spitzer, Stringer lags behind the former governor in terms of African American votes and is thus seeking to salvage one of the community’s most valued landmarks. The past few days, he has generated good publicity from his ability and desire to fund this restoration project.The $1 million provided by Stringer, along with the $1.75 million contributed by Councilmember Inez Dickens and $1.25 million by Mayor Bloomberg will be used to preserve the tower. The project includes a full restoration of the tower’s cast-iron structure, the removal of deficient parts, and the additional construction of a stainless steel support system.
A dramatic 16-story building designed by SOM has continued construction on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 14th Street in Manhattan. The structure will eventually open at the University Center for The New School, and with its Muntz metal (a type of brass made of copper and zinc) and glass facade now in place, most of the activity is happening behind closed doors. Or in this case, on the roof only viewable from neighboring buildings. In late July, crews installed a thin emerald necklace where the building sets back including what appears to be a variety of sedum plants commonly found on green roofs. The building is expected to be complete this fall. In the meantime, read about SOM’s unique approach to expressing circulation on the facade in an AN In Detail report.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, architects have been called to arms to both engage in the immediate recovery efforts and to come up with design solutions that will make New York City’s buildings more resilient and sustainable in the long-term. The latest in a flood of new Sandy-inspired design initiatives was launched yesterday by New York Restoration Project (NYRP), dubbed “EDGE/ucation Pavillion Design Competition,” asking a group of hand-picked, up-and-coming architecture firms to create a storm-resistant pavilion in Sherman Creek Park right on the Harlem River.