Architectural League Names 2014 Emerging Voices

East, International
Thursday, February 6, 2014
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House in Frogs Hollow by Williamson Chong Architects. (Bob Gundu)

House in Frogs Hollow by Williamson Chong Architects. (Bob Gundu)

Today, the Architectural League of New York revealed its selections for the 2014 class of Emerging Voices, a distinction that honors young firms “with distinct design voices and the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape design, and urbanism.” This year’s pool of winners demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, according to the League, “pursuing alternate forms of practice, often writing their own programs or serving as their own clients.” Winners are selected by a jury from a pool of invited firms.

This year’s international group of eight includes The Living (which just this week was also named winner of MoMA PS 1′s Young Architects Program), Surfacedesign, SITU Studio, Ants of the Prairie, Estudio Macías Peredo, Rael San Fratello, TALLER |MauricioRocha+GabrielaCarrillo|, and Williamson Chong Architects. A lecture series is planned in March where each firm will present their work and design philosophy.

More information about the winners after the jump.

Before & After> 25 of New York City’s Most Transformative Road Diets

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New York City has been adjusting to its new Mayor Bill De Blasio, who took office at the beginning of the year. The new mayor has been slowly revealing his team of commissioners who will guide the city’s continued transformation. As AN has noted many times before, De Blasio’s predecessor Michael Bloomberg and his team already left a giant mark on New York’s built environment.

With little more than paint, planters, and a few well-placed boulders, Bloomberg and former Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan‘s street interventions have been some of the most evident changes around the city. Whether it’s at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, above, or at Snøhetta’s redesigned Times Square, these road diets shaved off excess space previously turned over to cars and returned it to the pedestrian realm in dramatic fashion as these before-and-after views demonstrate.

As we continue to learn more about our new Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, take a look back at 25 of the most exciting road diets and pedestrian plaza conversions across New York City from the Bloomberg era.

See more transformations after the jump.

Forum or Wake? MoMA’s Expansion Plans Spark Debate

East
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
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Liz Diller. (Fran Parente)

Liz Diller. (Fran Parente)

Nearly 650 people crowded the auditorium at the Society for Ethical Culture on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on Tuesday to debate MoMA’s expansion plans, which include the demolition of the Tod Williams Billie Tsien–designed American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) building.

More after the jump.

On View> MoMA Presents “Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal”

Art, City Terrain, East, On View, Urbanism
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
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Model of Frank Lloyd Wright's Broadacre City. (Courtesy MoMA)

Model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City. (Courtesy MoMA)

Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal
Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53 Street, New York, NY
February 1 to June 1

Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal will represent the first exhibit resulting from the recent join acquisition of the architect’s archives by MoMA and Columbia University’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library. The models, drawings, and films found within the extensive collection will allow the museum to illustrate the tension in Wright’s urban thinking in the 1920s and 30s.

Even as he undertook projects that contributed to the increasingly vertical nature of American cities, he created a radical horizontal vision of urban life known as Broadacre City. The elaborate model of this agrarian metropolis created by Wright and his students will be displayed alongside the architect’s designs for the San Francsico Call Building, Mahattan’s St. Mark’s-in-the-Bouwerie Towers, and a largely theoretical mile-high skyscraper.

Architecture Bookstores Are Dead. Long Live An Architecture Bookstore?

Interior of the Rizzoli Bookstore. (Garrett Ziegler / Flickr)

Interior of the Rizzoli Bookstore. (Garrett Ziegler / Flickr)

Last week news broke that the Rizzoli Bookstore on 57th Street  is doomed. The owners of the well-loved building, which is not officially landmarked, plan to demolish it to to make way for another luxury residential tower. This set off another round of fretting about the future of bookstores, especially art and design bookstores.  But the news for bookstores might not be all bad. We hear that a new Urban Center may be brewing that would join together at least 11 New York civic organizations that have been adrift in hidden offices all over the city into a single “center” with an exhibition space and an architecture book store. Stay tuned.

Watch a video of the Rizzoli Bookstore after the jump.

Revolving Dean Door: Schools Coast to Coast In Search of New Leadership

Clockwise from top left: Thom Mayne, Barry Bergdoll, Greg Lynn, Mark Wigley, Daniel Libeskind, Aaron Betsky. (Montage by AN)

Clockwise from top left: Thom Mayne, Barry Bergdoll, Greg Lynn, Mark Wigley, Daniel Libeskind, Aaron Betsky. (Montage by AN)

There is a rumor making its way around the West Coast that Thom Mayne may have more than a new building in New York. He may be headed east to become dean of Columbia University, replacing the departing Mark Wigley. But we have also heard—despite his protests that he is happy sailing to Catalina—that Greg Lynn may also be interested in the Morningside Heights position.

Read More

Quest to Save A Mysterious Hudson River Castle

East, Preservation
Thursday, January 16, 2014
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bannerman_archpaper1

(Dan Dvorscak/Flickr)

Preservationists are at work attempting to salvage what remains of a New York architectural oddity. The strange medieval-looking structure known as Bannerman’s Castle is located on Pollepel Island, a small stretch of land about 60 miles north of Manhattan on the Hudson River. Scottish-American Arms mogul Francis Bannerman IV built the series of buildings in the early 20th century to act as a personal residence and home to his extensive arsenal. Since the 1920s, however, the castle has suffered from neglect and a series of devastating storms and fires that contribute to its current dilapidated state.

Continue reading after the jump.

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Respond to DS+R Plan to Tear Down Folk Art Building at MoMA

Architecture, East, Preservation
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
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Conceptual sketch of DS+R's plans for MoMA. (Courtesy DS+R)

Conceptual sketch of DS+R’s plans for MoMA. (Courtesy DS+R)

Diller, Scofidio + Renfro announced today that their reorganization of the Museum of Modern Art will include the replacement of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s former American Folk Art Museum at 45 West 53rd street. Liz Diller said in her briefing that DS+R hoped to save the Folk Art building and repurpose it into a usable exhibit space or a connecting bridge between the new Jean Nouvel tower (which will have three floors of MoMA galleries) and the older parts of MoMA. However, “saving” the structure with its misaligned floors (to MOMA existing galleries) would mean compromising the integrity of the Williams Tsien structure.

One can imagine the logic of DS+R’s decision, but Williams and Tsien are, like any architects, sad to see the demise of their 2001 building that Herbert Muschamp said “transcend(s) cultural categories even as it helps define them.”

Read Williams and Tsien’s statement after the jump.

Silent Light Installation Illuminated Sound Pollution in Brooklyn

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Silent Lights at Night (New York City Department of Transportation/Flickr)

First proposed in 2011, Brooklyn’s Silent Light installation has finally become a reality.  Located at the intersection of Park Avenue and Navy Street under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) in Red Hook, the series of gates frames a pedestrian walkway that passes through an area of heavy vehicular traffic. The structures are covered in LED lights activated by surrounding noise from cars to create fleeting light shows of various colors and patterns.

Continue reading after the jump.

Brooklyn Hotel Bossert Conversion Shuffles Architects, Takes Step Forward

Development, East, Preservation
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
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hotel_bossert_archpaper

(Courtesy Reading Tom/Flickr)

After several false-starts, plans to re-open the landmark building as a hotel appear to be underway. Jeffrey Holmes of Australian Architecture firm Woods Bagot is the latest figure attached to the project. Developers David Bistricer and Joseph Chetrit of the Chetrit Group purchased the Brooklyn property for $81 million from Watchtower Society in November 2012 but progress subsequently stalled.

Selldorf Architects and Gene Kaufman have both at times been tipped to lead the rennovation, but neither is currently affiliated with the project.  While initial prospects looked grim, the city has recently approved plans to change the building’s certificate of occupancy, allowing for construction to begin with an eye towards a summer re-opening, a year later than expected.

A New Bench-mark at Governors Island

Fabrikator
Friday, January 3, 2014
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Over three miles of curbs and benches were fabricated from precast concrete. (Timothy Schenck/courtesy The Trust for Governors Island)

Over three miles of curbs and benches were fabricated from precast concrete. (Timothy Schenck/courtesy The Trust for Governors Island)

Southside Precast Products fabricates landscape architecture firm West 8’s designs for an organic system of concrete benches and curbs.

When Dutch landscape architecture firm West 8 envisioned a new terrain for Governors Island in New York’s East River, part of the plan included a section dubbed The Hills. The recently completed curving expanse of green space is defined by nearly one dozen curved sections, or “petals,” of seamless, white concrete bench and curb edges fabricated by Buffalo, New York-based Southside Precast Products.

Ellen Cavanagh, Director of Park Design and Construction for the Governors Island Trust, said that the concrete pathways along the petals help define areas where the ground was formed to rise and recede. “They call it eyeliner,” she told AN in a recent interview. “Thick and bold white stripes give your eye an anchor so you have a better sense of depth as opposed to one solid color.” At approximately 24 inches in width, the curbs along Governor’s Island are decidedly more massive than standard street curbs. Read More

New York Expands Public Plaza Program to Create and Maintain Affordable Spaces

City Terrain
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
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(Courtesy Mathews Nielsen)

Rendering of possible Bogardus Plaza update in Tribeca. (Courtesy Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects)

For the past five years under the leadership of Janette Sadik-Khan, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has re-appropriated underused street space as public plazas for pedestrians. The Bloomberg Administration–initiated projects have been well received in neighborhoods like Herald Square and Tribeca; however, some of the less affluent neighborhoods who would like to have a plaza have been hindered by the cost. Each plaza is sponsored by local businesses and fundraising for construction and regular maintenance can seem a daunting task. Until now.

Continue Reading After the Jump.

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