Rising almost 400 feet (120 meters) above Sao Paulo’s financial district, reminiscent of a ship setting sail, is the Infinity Tower designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. With its cutting edge technology and unique design, one of Sao Paulo’s first Class-A towers is attracting high profile tenants, including Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Bloomberg, Facebook and Louis Vuitton.
For the eleventh anniversary of September 11, The Architect’s Newspaper has been reviewing progress at the World Trade Center site. Last Thursday, AN visited SOM’s One World Trade to survey the view from the 103rd floor and check in on construction of the tower’s spire. Friday, a trip to the top of Fumihiko Maki’s Four World Trade on Friday showed the less-publicized view of the site. From both vantage points, the hum of activity—both from construction crews and visitors to the memorial plaza—was readily apparent.
Of particular interest were substantial developments at the Vehicle Security Center, where a new entryway on Liberty Street will send security measures beneath a new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. It was heartening to read in today’s New York Times that the conflict between Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg over the Memorial Museum, reported here last year, was resolved in time for ceremonies this morning.
For all the talk of delays, an extraordinary amount work has been accomplished. As a tribute, AN has compiled a video montage showing continued progress at the site on this historic day.
Brooklyn Navy Yard and Steiner Studios have come up with a gigantic plan for a media hub to be spread across 50 acres of the former ship yard. According to the New York Times, the $400 million project depends on an influx of $35 million from the state and $2.5 million from the federal government to build out water, sewers, and electric infrastructure.
Navy Yard CEO AndrewKimball gave a pointed shout out to the governor and mayor in the Times piece, indicating yet another project making a mad dash to get on the boards before Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure comes to an end in 2013. Though the Navy Yard lost out on its bid to be the locale for the city’s new tech campus that ended up on Roosevelt Island, it does occupy an all-important corner to the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, where nearly 10,000 people work in that sector.
Take a minute to imagine what you would do if you had to cram your life into 270 square feet. In a typical ranch-style home, 270 could be a master bedroom, or a small living room, or a one-car garage. Now how about 220 square feet? It might make a shed or a bedroom. Now imagine this 15 by 18 foot or 15 by 15 foot space as your home.
Though it might sound more like another Ikea advertisement, two high-rent cities—New York and San Francisco—have been playing with the concept of permitting very small “micro-apartments” to alleviate high rents. By creating smaller housing, the idea goes, prospective renters will have a less expensive option and the city will be able to increase the density of residential units without increasing building size, always a contested point in neighborhood planning.
Urban rooftop farming is on the up-and-up in New York City and across the country. Putting his official stamp of approval on the movement, New York Mayor Bloomberg stopped by the city’s largest rooftop farm, the 43,000-square-foot Brooklyn Grange atop a building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. With the growing season in full swing, the plants were towering nearly as high as the Manhattan skyline in the distance.
With only 75 weeks left in New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, cyclists the city over will inevitably be concerned about the next mayor’s stance on bike lanes and street designs lest initiatives put in place under Bloomberg fall from grace. One need only to recall Marty Markowitz’s parodic tricycle stunts poking fun at bike lanes or former NYC DOT commissioner Iris Weinshall’s efforts to remove a protected bike lane from Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West to realize that the concern is not unfounded.
At yesterday’s regularly-scheduled City Planning review session, former Bogotá Parks Commissioner Gil Penalosa was invited to give a pep talk, placing a particular emphasis on bike lanes. He warned an audience filled with commissioners and planning staff that as the weeks wind down before the mayor leaves office, they’d better get cracking at PR and permanence: the public needs to become even more familiar with the bike network and the infrastructure needs to become permanent—and striped bike lanes won’t cut it!
Andrew Blum Book Talk
Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet
(Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins; June 2012)
Everyone thinks they know the Internet. The most powerful information network ever conceived—an indispensable tool and constant companion in both our professional and personal lives. We’re all connected but connected to what? In TUBES: A Journey to the Center of the Internet by Andrew Blum, acclaimed young journalist Andrew Blum takes readers on a fascinating journey to find out.
Andrew Blum writes about architecture, infrastructure and technology for many publications, including The New Yorker, the New York Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek,, Slate, and Popular Science. He is a correspondent for Wired, a contributing editor to Metropolis, and lives in his hometown of New York City.
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Gone will be the miniature civic history lessons that punctuated ribbon-cutting speeches made by Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. With yesterday’s announcement that the commissioner is moving on to the non-profit Trust for Public Land (TPL), the plaudits are pouring in. But as the Bloomberg Administration begins is slow-motion wind down, New Yorkers should be wary of comparisons to the “good” Robert Moses, builder of parks and playgrounds, despite the scale of public works undertaken under Bloomberg. But in terms of Parks, there is little doubt that Benepe’s tenure was historic in scope.
Now, one of the mayor’s signature initiatives—that a park be within a ten minute walk from every home—is about to go national. But will what flies in NYC fly in Louisville? “If I’ve learned one or two things in this job it’s that no one model will work for every situation,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday.
With nine million dollars total in prizes up for grabs, The Mayor’s Challenge simply asks for innovations in city life, a subject that’s been a growing concern for countless architects, planners, and governments worldwide. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the competition last week calling for individual designers and teams to address urban challenges from sustainability to citizen empowerment. “Every day, mayors around America are tackling increasingly complex problems with fewer and fewer resources,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Our cities are uniquely positioned to inspire and foster the innovation, creativity, and solutions needed to improve people’s lives and move America forward.”
With just a year and a half left of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure remaining, the first of his major appointees, New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, is moving on. Under Benepe, the Parks Department was transformed on a scale that approached the early tenure of Robert Moses. Since his appointment in 2002, the commissioner oversaw the largest expansion of waterfront parks like Brooklyn Bridge Park, embraced public-private partnerships as seen on the High Line, and distributed more than $250 million in Croton Water Filtration funds to small pocket parks throughout the Bronx.