Total Reset: Institute for Public Architecture Symposium Tackles Affordable Housing in New York City

East, Review
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
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The "Total Reset" symposium took place at Columbia's Studio-X.

The “Total Reset” symposium took place at Columbia’s Studio-X.

The history of affordable housing in the United States has always centered on efforts—research, architectural prototypes, and creative financing—undertaken in New York City. From early philanthropic models like the late 19th century Cobble Hill Tower Homes, the 1911 Vanderbilt-sponsored Cherokee Model Apartments, and the 1930s Amalgamated Dwellings on the Lower East Side, virtually all early advancement in housing reform in this country began in New York City.

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New York Affordable Housing Experts Weigh In on De Blasio’s Pending Housing Plan

Development, East
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
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Aerial view of New York City. (Flickr /  Katy Silberger)

Aerial view of New York City. (Flickr / Katy Silberger)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been promising to “preserve or construct” nearly 200,000 units of affordable housing since his days as the most unlikely of mayoral contenders. Since stepping into City Hall, the mayor has repeated that pledge nearly every chance he gets. But while the affordable housing plan is one of his central policy issues, it’s still not clear how the city can hit the mayor’s magic number. That should change this week when de Blasio’s housing team releases their detailed plan of action. Before that plan is released, however, AN asked some of the city’s leading architects, advocates, and planners what they hope to see in the team’s path forward.

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Obit> Fred Schwartz, 1951–2014

East, Obit
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
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Fred Schwartz looks toward the New Jersey 9/11 memorial, Empty Sky, from the documentary, The Art of Memories. (Courtesy The Art of Memories)

Fred Schwartz looks toward the New Jersey 9/11 memorial, Empty Sky, from the documentary, The Art of Memories. (Courtesy The Art of Memories)

We heard this morning that Fred Schwartz—one of the most independent, passionate, and even fearless voices in the New York architecture world—passed away last night. Frederic Schwartz Architects was well known for its waterfront park planning and various 9/11 memorials (Fred died at 9:11p.m. last night).

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Amid Horse Carriage Debate, Nostalgic New Yorkers Ponder a 21st Century Horseless Carriage

Design, East, News, Transportation
Thursday, April 24, 2014
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The Horseless eCarriage. (Henry Melcher / AN)

The Horseless eCarriage. (Henry Melcher / AN)

In what sounds like a flashback to the turn of the 20th century, curious New Yorkers peered inquisitively at a new horseless carriage model on display at the New York International Auto Show. The old-timey vehicle is actually a high-tech electric vehicle at the center of the heated fight to ban horse carriages from Central Park in New York City.

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Michael Kimmelman Proposes A Queens-Brooklyn Waterfront Streetcar

The proposed streetcar route. (Courtesy New York Times)

The proposed streetcar route. (Courtesy New York Times)

As development along the Brooklyn and Queens’ waterfront has increased dramatically over the years, transportation options—for residents old and new—has not. The number of glass towers, startups, and parks along the East River has only been matched by style pieces on new “it” neighborhoods from Astoria to Red Hook. But, now, the New York Times’ Michael Kimmelman has used his platform to launch a plan to change that equation, and give these neighborhoods the transportation system they deserve.

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Letter to the Editor> Health Food and Historic Preservation

The Coignet Building in Gowanus, Brooklyn is believed to be the first concrete building in New York City. (David Gallagher / Flickr)

The Coignet Building in Gowanus, Brooklyn is believed to be the first concrete building in New York City. (David Gallagher / Flickr)

[Editor's Note: The following are reader-submitted responses to a pair of articles about the opening of an urban Whole Foods in Gowanus, Brooklyn, “Suburbs Meet City” (AN 03_03.05.2014), and the pending redevelopment of the Coignet Building on the site, “Set in Stone” (AN 03_03.05.2014). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

Thanks for the article (“Suburbs Meet CityAN 03_03.05.2014). About the note at the end referring to the project’s intent—is it possible that what could be a corporate marketing ploy on the front end positively contributes to a vibrant local culture? If consumers keep demanding this type of sensitive response from national corporations, I hope with time this business strategy evolves and matures from just local products and signs that say “Brooklyn” all the way to careful stewardship of a community, i.e. good use of the Coignet Building, etc. Thanks again.

Chris Hoal
Intern Architect
Gresham Smith & Partners

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Second “Arterial Slow Zone” Arrives in the Bronx

DOT Commisioner Polly Trottenberg at the announcement. ( Flickr / NYCSTREETS)

DOT Commisioner Polly Trottenberg at the announcement. ( Flickr / NYCSTREETS)

Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero is coming to another dangerous New York City corridor. NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and city officials announced that the Grand Concourse in the Bronx will become the second of the city’s 25 planned “arterial slow zones.” The speed limit on more than five miles of the busy road will be lowered to 25-miles-per-hour, and traffic signals will be retimed to protect pedestrians. The announcement comes weeks after an eight-mile stretch of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and Queens was given the same treatment.

De Blasio, Schumer Announce A Flood of Cash for Sandy Relief

East
Monday, April 21, 2014
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Houses damaged by Hurricane Sandy (Courtesy of David Sundberg)

Houses damaged by Hurricane Sandy. (David Sundberg / ESTO)

Seventeen months after Superstorm Sandy pummeled New York City, Mayor de Blasio and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced major changes to the city’s Sandy relief efforts. At an announcement in late March in the Rockaways, Mayor de Blasio said that $100 million of federal money has been reallocated into the city’s Build it Back program, which will help storm victims regardless of their income or priority level. The mayor’s office says that funds from this program are already being sent out.

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Can a Canadian Furniture Magnate Save Citi Bike?

Citi Bikes docked in NYC. (SLGCKGC / FLICKR)

Citi Bikes docked in NYC. (SLGCKGC / FLICKR)

Given the past few weeks of Citi Bike news, the events that played out over last weekend shouldn’t come as a surprise. But, alas, they do. Bixi— the bankrupt Montreal company behind Citi Bike‘s glitchy equipment—was purchased by, who else, a Canadian furniture magnate named Bruno Rodi. Yes, the man whose company sells living-room furniture and bills itself as the “spécialiste du sofa” will himself become the “spécialiste du vélo.”

It gets stranger after the jump.

Justin Davidson Warns of Looming Shadows at St. John the Divine Development.  Rendering for the site. (Courtesy DNA Info / Emily Frost) New York Magazine’s Justin Davidson has called on Mayor De Blasio to protect the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine from being overshadowed by new apartment towers (massing diagram pictured). The site adjacent to the Cathedral has been cleared and construction seems imminent, but Davidson believes the mayor can get involved to stop the current Handel-designed plans. Instead of two towers, Davidson proposes one taller and more slender tower that’s sited farther from the street, more affordable units, and landmark status for the rest of the property. (Image: Courtesy DNA Info / Emily Frost)

 

Center for Active Design Announces Winners of Excellence Awards

Awards, East
Thursday, April 10, 2014
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Sephardic Community Center in Brooklyn by BKSK. (Courtesy Jeffrey Totaro)

Sephardic Community Center in Brooklyn by BKSK. (Courtesy Jeffrey Totaro)

The Center for Active Design has announced its first annual Excellence Awards, which recognizes the “role design plays in addressing the ongoing obesity and chronic disease epidemic.” The jury—which included AN’s William Menking—has selected winners out of more than 40 plans for buildings and public spaces that encourage healthy lifestyles. The Center, which was created under Mayor Bloomberg’s Obesity Task Force, will present the awards in New York City on May 19th. For more information on the winners and for tickets to the event, visit the Center’s website.

Rebuild By Design> SCAPE’s Living Breakwaters Transform Staten Island’s South Shore

Aerial view of SCAPE's living breakwaters. (Courtesy SCAPE)

Aerial view of SCAPE’s living breakwaters. (Courtesy SCAPE)

In early April, the ten finalists in the Rebuild By Design competition unveiled their proposals to protect the Tri-state region from the next Sandy. And in the near future, a jury will select a winner—or winners—to receive federal funding to pursue their plans. But before that final announcement is made, AN is taking a closer look at each of the final ten proposals. Here’s SCAPE‘s plan for Staten Island’s South Shore.

Continue reading after the jump.

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