Two dirty coal powered electric plants in central Chicago are coming under increasing scrutiny from neighbors, environmental activists, and architects and designers. Earlier this week Greenpeace activists scaled the stacks of the Pilsen plant operated by Midwest Generation, and painted a large sign calling for their closure. The plants were also the subject of a recent design competition, the results of which will be on display on June 10 at the Pilsen/Chicago Arts District and on June 13-15 at the Merchandise Mart during NeoCon.
Sustained resistance from their Village neighbors has not thwarted NYU’s 2031 expansion plans; they’ve just looked to other neighborhoods. The university has leased 120,000 square feet at Brooklyn’s MetroTech Center and also retained Kohn Pederson Fox to design a 170,000-square-foot campus on their hospital grounds along First Avenue. This is not to say that they’ve abandoned expansion plans in the Village or wooing the neighbors. A storefront gallery space called NYU Open House designed by James Sanders & Associates invites the public in to view new 3-D models of revamped plans for the Silver Towers and Washington Square Village.
When talking to Florent Morellet, don’t call it the Meatpacking District. For the eponymous owner of now-closed diner/bistro Florent on Little West 12th Street, it’s the Meat Market. Well before SoHo House and long before Pastis, there was Florent, the subject of a new documentary by David Segal, Florent: Queen of the Meat Market. I found out about the New York opening of the film while showroom hopping on Green Street last week. At Kartell, the perfectly bouffant-ed Darinka Chase encouraged me to try out Philippe Starck‘s Magic Hole. Before slinging chic plastic, Chase spent twenty years as hostess at the downtown den of dining debauchery. She vividly recalls how preservationists met at the restaurant in an effort to preserve the district. “At the time people did think it was kind of nuts, like landmarking the city dump,” she said.
While many of you –our loyal readers–were partying it up in New Orleans at our AIA New York State party, we were being honored in New York! The Historic Districts Council presented the paper with its Friend in the Media Award at their 12th annual Grassroots Awards in the spectacular in the garden of the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims in Brooklyn Heights. I was honored to accept the award for our very hardworking staff on Murray Street.
Meanwhile, Ibex, AIANY, YKK, and the Ceramic Tiles of Italy hosted their shindig in New Orleans…
If you’re in DUMBO this week and catch a glimpse of a shirtless man hanging off a tree, don’t freak out. VAMOS Architects has curated an installation of photographer Robert Holden’s series The Treehouse, as part of New York Photography Week. The large-scale photographs depict semi-nude members of a rainforest commune, set against industrial buildings, rooftops, and scaffolding in DUMBO.
Missing Parklet. Who would steal a parklet? The Oakland Local spotted a worried Facebook page for Actual Cafe whose parklet, pictured above, disappeared last week. San Francisco is the city that invented the parklet concept–transforming parking spaces into extensions of the sidewalk–and we hear they’re quite popular, so what gives? The cafe has security footage of the early-morning incident.
Celebrating CityGarden. St. Louis’ much acclaimed urban sculpture park, CityGarden, has been awarded ULI’s 2011 Amanda Burden Open Space Award, named for NYC’s Planning Commissioner who sat on the selection jury. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said the garden topped projects in Portland, OR and Houston to claim the $10,000 prize.
Chatham Scratched. DNA reports that plans to transform Chinatown’s Chatham Square at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge have been put on hold. The $30 million project would have reconfigured the busy confluence of seven streets to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety, but with other construction projects already clogging the area, the city didn’t want to make matters worse. Funds will be used for other Lower Manhattan projects instead.
Directing Traffic. Robert Puentes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, has penned a feature-length article on the future of transportation for the Wall Street Journal. In recounting the good, the bad, and the ugly of transportation policy, Puentes calls for innovation and sustainability along with increased access to boost the economy.
Heavenly highways. No, this isn’t a preview of the Rapture (whose marketing graphics leave much to be desired)–it’s a series of time lapse photographs of the quotidian take-offs and landings of airplanes, courtesy of Lost At E Minor.
Out of Gas. Sunday Zipcar drivers take note: when the current lease runs out, the Gaseteria-turned-BP at the corner of Lafayette and Houston Streets in Manhattan will become the site of a new “super-secret five- to seven-story commercial loft development with luxury retail” reports The Observer.
Pro “Roberta Moses.” In her article “Anatomy of a Take Down,” Karrie Jacobs of Metropolis deftly deconstructs the critical pile-on around DOT Commissioner Janet Sadik-Khan and her transformation of New York City’s streets. If Jacobs were mayor, she says, she’d throw Sadik-Khan a ticker-tape parade.
Two-wheeled Commute. Happy National Bike to Work Day! Dissuaded by inclement weather in the northeast? For inspiration, check out Street Films’ video–after the jump–of Lucette Gilbert, in her “very late 70s,” who has been getting around New York by bike since the transit strike of 1980.
Italian lighting design firm Foscarini filled their Greene Street showroom with a dynamic, winding installation called Foscarini Evolution during ICFF week in New York. Artist Marc Sadler composed the installation of individual Tress lamps–made of resin-coated fabric strips–connected end to end. The pulsing red strands created a distinctly interactive experience.
“The installation shows how light can convey emotion and form space,” said Veronica Carniello of Foscarini. The showroom will now undergo a renovation and open again at the end of the year. Carniello said the company plans to feature rotating installations featuring Foscarini lighting products so the showroom will take on the qualities of an art gallery.
TEN Arquitectos have shared renderings of a museum project that Enrique Norten is working on in the historic center of Puebla, Mexico. The Amparo Museum sits in the heart a colonial quarter and though building envelope will retain its old world charm, a very new world facility will emerge inside.