Mayor Bloomberg’s vision for a pedestrian-friendly Times Square is about to be written in stone. On September 27, Snøhetta gave Community Board 5 a preview of things to come at the Crossroads of the World, and they look a lot more permanent than lawn chairs and painted pavements. Principal Craig Dykers presented designs for dark and darker pavers that largely eliminate any bias for an automotive Broadway, stepping the plaza streetscape up to sidewalk grade and adding elongated benches to indicate long-gone traffic patterns. In homage to New York noir, the designers have also embedded nickel-sized reflectors adding a hard bit of glitz to the dark stones that will not compete with the glam above.
According to an email from Seth Solomonow, Press Secretary at the NYC Department of Transportation: “This long-planned redesign will restore the aging utilities below the street, which itself hasn’t been rebuilt in more than 50 years and still has trolley tracks beneath the asphalt. On the surface, this simple, flexible design will clear obstructions and support the growing number of programs occurring in Times Square, which more than 350,000 people visit every day.”
511 W 25th St. #607
Through September 17
In honor of the tenth anniversary of September 11th, 1500 Gallery in West Chelsea will present PIIOTOS_WTC, an exhibition of photographs of the Twin Towers taken by 22 of Brazil’s most notable photographers. The images, which all have the World Trade Center site as their subject, span the last three decades of the 20th century. Selected photographers include Victor Andrade, Ali Karakas, and Roberto Linsker, among others. The selection is diverse, with works ranging from distant portrait landscapes of the towers from the Hudson River, to bold aerial views, black and white night shots, glowing, hazy sunsets, andclose-up structural shots, like the work of Tuca Reines, above. Gallery 1500—the only gallery in the world to focus specifically on Brazilian photography—brings together these poetic works, capturing the power, strength, and beauty of the city as it is no longer.
New York vs. Paris. It seems that the Big Apple and The City of Lights are forever battling over design, architecture, fashion, and film. A Parisian graphic designer decided to take matters into his own hands, creating a website to display his witty color-block graphics that juxtapose these iconic cities. Topics are eclectic, ranging from landmarks (the Empire Sate vs. the Eiffel Tower), to architecture (5th Avenue Apple Store vs. Musée du Louvre), to food (cupcakes vs. macarons), to even car parking styles (parking lot towers vs. double parked). More at the NY Times T Magazine.
Oil from plastic. Energy company Vadxx has invented reactors that can transform plastic scraps that can’t be recycled into crude oil with the lowest sulfur content in the world, says Good Magazine. The first reactors are slated for a recycling plant in Akron, Ohio. However, this begs this question: will the amount of crude oil created offset the amount of energy needed for the conversion process?
Basket lights. A New Zealand designer, David Trubridge, has infused his lighting with the spiritual–looking to a Maori creation myth for design inspiration, writes Contemporist. The Maori believed gods gave humans three baskets of knowledge. Trubiridge designed three corresponding teardrop ceiling “baskets”: the bamboo light represents knowledge of the natural world, the polycarbonate light symbolizes knowledge of the spiritual world, and the aluminum basket signifies knowledge of the rational world.
With the High Line getting the lion’s share of attention lately, Hudson River Park feels more neighborhoody then ever. Last night’s opening of public art installation by artist/performer Jon Morris of Windmill Factory felt pretty down home with everyone sprawling out on the grass around Morris, who explained the inspiration for his light show which sits out in the water.
Growing up in Beria, Kentucky, Morris could see the stars, but in New York light pollution made the experience impossible. His idea was to sprinkle a little stardust onto the Hudson in the form of solar powered LEDs attached to the tops of pilings from a long departed pier.
So Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene has come and gone, leaving most of New York City unscathed. It looks like some 700 trees were downed across the city and we’re sure a few patio chairs ran away from home, but luckily for the city, the storm lost its might as it raged toward Gotham. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority prepared for the worst before the storm, shutting down the city’s transit system electively for the first time (the system was also shut down after 9/11 and a power blackout). The agency has released an amazing set of photos of its preparation and cleanup after the storm including dramatic views of an abandoned Grand Central Station, mudslides, and flooded tracks. Take a look after the jump.
After going through 9/11, the importance of disaster preparedness and relief hit home with New Yorkers. “Everyone was focusing on the fact that New York had been damaged,” said Lance Jay Brown, AIANY board member and co-chair of the recently formed Design for Risk and Reconstruction committee of the AIANY. “The architectural community was galvanized to respond.” Just coming off a jolt from a rare, if small, earthquake and with Hurricane Irene on its doorstep, New York is once again focused on planning for disaster.
Lyonel Feininger: At the Edge of the World
Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Ave. at 75th St.
New York, NY 10021
“The ultimate aim of all artistic activity is the building! Let us desire, conceive, and create the new building of the future together. . . [and it] will one day rise towards the heavens from the hands of a million workers as the crystalline symbol of a new and coming faith,” Walter Gropius boldly declared in his 1919 “Bauhaus Manifesto,” laying the foundations for a new architecture and a modern approach to design. Seeking to reunite the artist and artisan together, the founders of the Bauhaus looked to medieval guilds as a model for a new design school that would combine the arts and design under one roof.
To illustrate the manifesto, Gropius selected a woodcut by American-born German artist Lyonel Feininger, titled, “Cathedral,” an abstracted depiction of a late Gothic church. This collaboration marked Lyonel Feininger’s first involvement with the Bauhaus—he would be later hired to teach printmaking—that would continue until the school was closed under pressure from the Nazis in 1933.
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A prototype of the city’s alternative to unsightly construction sheds is unveiled.
Two years after the NYC Department of Buildings and AIA New York launched the UrbanSHED competition to find a new sidewalk shed design that would beautify city streets, a prototype of the winning proposal has been unveiled. Called Urban Umbrella, the shed structure was developed by competition winner Young-Hwan Choi with architect Andrés Cortés and engineer Sarrah Khan of New York-based Agencie Group. Brooklyn-based architecture and fabrication firm Caliper Studio was hired late last year to detail and build the much-anticipated design, which the DOB and architecture, construction, and real estate backers hope will eventually replace unsightly sidewalk scaffolding at many of the city’s construction sites.