Opening Salvo Aimed at NYU Expansion

East
Thursday, January 5, 2012
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Andrew Berman takes the mic before an overflow crowd at the Center for Architecture. (Stoelker/AN)

Andrew Berman takes the mic before an overflow crowd at the Center for Architecture. (Stoelker/AN)

It was the opening shot heard ’round the Village–and the East Village, and SoHo. An overflow crowd gathered at the Center for Architecture last night to rally the troops opposing NYU’s twenty year expansion plan. It certainly wasn’t the usual black-clad crowd found at the Center. No, these were some good old fashioned Village rabble rousers.

The event was organized by the Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, who assured the crowd that the NYU Core plan is “not a done deal.” On Tuesday, the university certified proposals with City Planning, thus kicking off the ULURP process for what is likely to become one of the most contentious development debates of 2012. The proposal is, after all,  in the heart of Jane Jacobs country.

Just across the street from the Center are the remains of Robert Moses’ failed attempt to build the Lower Manhattan Expressway through SoHo after Jacobs and Co. put a halt to the plan. Parcels of land assembled by the Department of Transportation to accommodate the failed highway are now parkland commonly known as the DOT strips. A substantial portion of the 1.3 million square feet NYU wants to build in the area would be placed beneath the strips. The university has proposed designating the strips as parkland after the construction is complete, with the new green space designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.

No matter the promises, this was not a crowd that trusts the university. The term “Midtown Zoning” got thrown about with on-message regularity. As did square footage metaphors, such as “bigger than the Waldorf-Astoria,” “the size of the Empire State Building,” and “three Jacob Javits Convention Centers.”

Council Member Margaret Chin was on hand to listen, but not to state her pro or con position–despite pressure from the crowd.

This month’s Community Board 2 subcommittee meetings will no doubt be unusually crowded as they’re all dealing with the proposal. If you want to see some New York zoning theater in action, here’s a selected breakdown:

Land Use:  Mon., 1/9 6PM at The Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Pl.

Traffic and Transportation: Tues., 1/10 @ 6:30 NYU Silver Building, 32 Waverly Pl. room 520

Parks:  Thurs., 1/12 @ 6:30PM at NYU Silver Bldg. 32 Waverly Pl. room 520

Full Board: Thurs., 1/19 @ 6:00PM 116 West 11th Street, Auditorium

 

Board Named for WTC Performing Arts Center

East, Newsletter
Thursday, January 5, 2012
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The site of the proposed performing arts center sits directly east of One World Trade Center.

Possible site of the proposed performing arts center sits directly east of One World Trade Center.

It had to happen before midnight December 31. And it did, although quietly. Downtown Express reports that five founding board members for the World Trade Center Performing Arts Center (PAC) were announced by National September 11 Memorial President Joe Daniels in the nick of time, in order not to forfeit access to $100 million in LMDC funds set aside in fall 2010 for the lone surviving cultural venue–apart from the September 11 museum–at the site, where once many were envisioned as the most sure-fire way to lift ground zero out of the psychological depths of mourning for the lost.

Continue reading after the jump.

Obit> Anne Tyng, 1920-2011

East
Thursday, January 5, 2012
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Anne Tyng, photo credit: Ramak Fazel

Anne Tyng, 1920-2011. Photo: Ramak Fazel.

Anne Tyng, the Philadelphia architect and design professor, passed away on December 27. Born in 1920, Tyng was best known as a close collaborator—and even muse—of Louis Kahn, but she herself was an extraordinary figure. She established her career with theoretical writings that reflected a deep interest in mathematics and design, themes that she explored in Simultaneousness, Randomness and Order, her Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania, and pursued throughout her professional life.

Anne Tyng: Inhabiting Geometry, an exhibition that opened last year at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, was an elegant summation of her theoretical research on design and of her professional and academic career. Several of Tyng’s geometric designs from the ICA show were later exhibited at the Graham Foundation in Chicago, a longtime supporter of her work.

The Architect’s Newspaper will publish a more extensive obituary written by Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss in our next issue.

New Projects: Chicago’s Newest Architecture Gallery

Midwest, Newsletter
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
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Located three blocks south of Crown Hall at IIT, New Projects, a new architecture research and exhibition space, aims to provide a venue for urban and artistic dialogue about the future of cities. Located in the 1920’s Overton Building, the 3400 square foot storefront space is to play host to lectures, workshops, and exhibitions “focusing specifically on urbanism,” according to co-organizer Marshall Brown. Read More

New Year Brings CRA Disaster in California

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
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The CRA's dissolution could be the final death knell for the $3 billion Grand Avenue Project (The Related Companies)

The CRA's dissolution could be the final death knell for the $3 billion Grand Avenue Project (The Related Companies)

Now that California’s Redevelopment Association (CRA) has doubled down and lost its bet with the California Supreme Court, leading to the scrapping of all the state’s CRAs, building projects across the state are in severe jeopardy. There are about 400 municipal redevelopment agencies in the state. Here are the projects in trouble for just one (albeit the largest): the Los Angeles CRA. They include nearly $100 million in grant funds to improve public infrastructure and create affordable housing and transit oriented development, the 126-unit Noho Senior Arts Colony in North Hollywood, the renovation of the historic Westlake Theater near downtown, the 35,000 square foot Wattstar Theater in Watts, the Cleantech Manufacturing Center south of downtown, and the biggest, the $3 billion Grand Avenue Project downtown. More than 20 projects in total are in danger. More to come on this huge news, including more lawsuits than you ever wanted to see.

On View> The House That Sam Built

West
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
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(Courtesy Huntington Library)

(Courtesy Huntington Library)

The House That Sam Built:
Sam Maloof and Art in the Pomona Valley, 1945–1975

The Huntington Library, Art Gallery, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, CA
Through January 30, 2012

The exhibit explores over 100 works of renowned midcentury furniture craftsman, Sam Maloof (1916–2009) and his circle of friends, who gathered at the Maloof residence and workshop—which have become a central part of the dynamic Pomona Valley art community—to share a meal and their common interest of hand-crafted objects. The exhibit showcases some of the earliest Maloof pieces, such as a round, plywood coffee table with walnut legs, decorative arts and crafts such as ceramic works by Otto and Gertrude Natzler (above), an office chair made for the prominent industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss, three iterations of his classic rocking chair, a table lamp by William Manker, among other objects. Visitors will also find two rare watercolors produced early in Maloof’s career. The exhibit is part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980, a Getty collaboration spanning six months, bringing together over 60 cultural institutions all across Southern California.

BLOCK Research Group’s Freeform Catalan Thin-Tile Vault

Fabrikator
Friday, December 30, 2011
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Brought to you with support from:
Fabrikator
Fabrikator Brought to you by:

The freeform vaulted structure is BLOCK Research Group's first built prototype (BLOCK)

A research project explores techniques from the past to learn about building stronger structures in the future

Sometimes research involves destruction in the name of creation. Architects and engineers from Zurich-based BLOCK Research Group at science and technology university ETH Zurich recently teamed up to build, and destroy, a vaulted masonry structure that was designed with advanced digital fabrication methods but constructed with traditional timbrel, or Catalan, thin-tile vaulting techniques. Through its research of freeform shells, tiling patterns, building sequences, and formwork, the group hopes to construct increasingly radical forms without sacrificing efficiency.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pictorial> An Architect Paints a Softer Skyline

International
Friday, December 30, 2011
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A watercolor by Gene Kohn included in a Hong Kong exhibition.

A watercolor by Gene Kohn included in a Hong Kong exhibition.

Are you on KPF’s holiday mailing list? If so, think twice before you toss their annual card into the recycling bin. You’re now the owner of a limited edition print by an artist who is represented by one of London’s poshest galleries, the Belgravia, and whose work was featured this fall in a one-man show in Hong Kong. The signature is in the bottom right corner: Kohn ’11.

Continue reading after the jump.

Zen-otaph: Steve Jobs and the Meaning Behind Apple’s New Campus

Newsletter, West
Thursday, December 29, 2011
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Aerial view of Apple's proposed new headquarters in Cupertino, California. (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Aerial view of Apple's proposed new headquarters in Cupertino, California. (Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Apple’s new campus in Cupertino has left the design community a bit perplexed.

Back in September most of the architectural critics who weighed in on the issue expressed a one-two combination of shock and disappointment. Precisely because of Apple’s design bona fides and Sir Norman Foster’s involvement as the lead architect, they were expecting better. Christopher Hawthorne of the LA Times called it a “retrograde cocoon,” marking it down as a car-centric, “doggedly old-fashioned proposal.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Will Cornell stand by SOM to build NYC Tech Campus?

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
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Inside the proposed Cornell campus.

Inside the proposed Cornell campus.

Multiple factors helped the Cornell/Technion team win what is shaping up to be Mayor Bloomberg’s favorite super-scale legacy project. Stanford, the only real competition, withdrew; a windfall of a $350 million donation blew in; local Cornell alums pulled out the stops with petitions. High on that list is SOM’s preliminary design proposing a net-zero building and a permeable landscape, developed with Field Operations, woven in, over, and into multiple structures lending an interactive and public character to the entire campus.

This wholly sustainable, radically accessible design plan has become a signature of the project as the city ambitiously strives to become an East Coast high tech start-up incubator bar none. And yet it is unclear if SOM will remain on the job.

Continue reading after the jump.

Slideshow> A New York Year in A New York Minute

East, Newsletter
Monday, December 26, 2011
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The acrylic from Nouvele's carousel mutes views of the Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade, and Ghery's 8 Spruce. (Stoelker/AN)

The acrylic walls of Nouvel's carousel building offer a new view of the Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade, and Gehry's 8 Spruce. (Stoelker/AN)

Neither blizzards, an earthquake, or Hurricane Irene slowed down work here at 21 Murray Street. Nor did any of these disrupt work down the street at the World Trade Center. The demonstrations at Zuccotti Park did not get in the way, nor the spontaneous turn out following the death of Osama bin Laden. Construction only paused for the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Some of the year’s biggest stories sat at our doorstep, and quite often, we only had to go downstairs to capture their images. Here are a few photos of the news and news-makers taken downtown, as well as a few from uptown, across town, and over the river…

View slideshow after the jump.

The Twelve Days of Architecture.  The Twelve Days of ArchitectureWhile it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a white Christmas here in New York, we can still try to spread a little holiday cheer. Architect Jody Brown at the blog Coffee with an Architect has come up with a new carol, “The Twelve Days of Architecture.” Here’s a sample from day four: “On the Fourth day of Christmas,/ my Architect gave to me/ a four-sided building,/ Three French Curves,/ Two turtlenecks,/ And a study guide for the A.R.E.” Click on over to Coffee with an Architect to check out the entire song.

 

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