May 9, 2012
by: admin

In this issue:
• NYC Firms on Teams Selected to Transform DC’s National Mall
• New Art Institute Presents a Gateway between University and City
• Jet-Age Retro at JFK
• Yale University Art Gallery Renovation and Expansion Completed
• A Façade with Infinite Possibilities

NYC Firms on Teams Selected to Transform DC’s National Mall

Constitution Gardens

Courtesy Rogers Marvel Architects & Peter Walker and Partners

Washington Monument Grounds

Courtesy OLIN & Weiss/Manfredi

Union Square

Courtesy Gustafson Guthrie Nichol & Davis Brody Bond

Stretching from the Capitol, past the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, and over to the Jefferson Memorial, the National Mall, known as “America’s front yard,” is about to get a $700 million makeover. The winning proposals include a performance space, terraces, gardens, restaurants, and an ice skating rink, while considering issues of sustainability, maintenance and operations, and security. Rogers Marvel Architects and Peter Walker and Partners have been chosen to redesign Constitution Gardens, which is east of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Seattle-based Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, partnering with Davis Brody Bond, will redesign Union Square. And Philadelphia-based OLIN and Weiss/Manfredi are in charge of revitalizing the Sylvan Theater, which is southeast of the Washington Monument. The first ribbon cutting is expected to take place in 2016, in time for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

New Art Institute Presents a Gateway between University and City

Exterior and garden

Courtesy Steven Holl Architects

First floor galleries

Courtesy Steven Holl Architects

Steven Holl Architects’ design for Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) new Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) was recently unveiled. Clad in pre-weathered satin-finish zinc with clear and translucent glass walls, the 38,000-square-foot institute features a series of flexible programming spaces for the presentation of visual art, theater, music, dance, and film. At the building’s heart is a double-height forum that connects to the ground floor performance space and opens up to the sculpture garden and café. Four galleries allowing for different exhibitions or for one all-encompassing show radiate out from the forum in forked arms, shaping the space of the garden. The three levels of galleries are linked through the open forum, allowing artists to create works that extend across, and visitors to circulate through, the spaces via a variety of paths. With green elements including geothermal wells, green roofs, and glass walls, the project is designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

Jet-Age Retro at JFK

(c) Anton Stark

(c) Anton Stark

“Understatedly uptown, unmistakably New York,” is the design theme of Virgin Atlantic’s new Upper Class Clubhouse at JFK. Designed by Slade Architecture, the 10,000-square-foot clubhouse, located in Terminal 4, has full-height views of the jetways and aircraft on the tarmac below. In the lounge’s center is a cloud-shaped cocktail bar enclosed by a diaphanous, curving wall of stainless steel rods and walnut fins that mediate views from and through the space creating distinct sections for an Internet bar, meeting spots, dining, and even a spa. Mid-century Modern classic seating such as the Eames Lounge Chair, Saarinen’s Tulip, Bertoia’s Bird, and Arne Jacobsen’s Swan, as well as other furnishings, are reminiscent of the golden age of jet travel. Slade Architecture added its own modern touch with a custom-made Red Ball Sofa, Pebble Chair, and seats recessed into a perforated metal wall that have proved to be comfy sleeping nooks.

Yale University Art Gallery Renovation and Expansion Completed

Exterior of Yale University Art Gallery: (l-r) Louis Kahn building, Old Yale Art Gallery, Street Hall.

(c) Chris Gardner

New sculpture terrace awaiting installation of work.

(c) Chris Gardner

Old Yale Art Gallery building, view into the European galleries.

(c) Chris Gardner

The Yale University Art Gallery has completed a $135 million renovation and expansion project that began in 1998. Designed by Ennead Architects, the project increases the space occupied by the gallery from one-and-a-half buildings – Louis Kahn’s 1953 Modernist structure, and approximately half of Egerton Swartwout’s 1928 neo-Florentine Gothic Old Yale Art Gallery – to three, encompassing the Kahn building (renovated in 2006), the entire Old Art Gallery, and the contiguous 1866 Street Hall, designed by Peter Bonnett Wight. The project unites the three buildings into a cohesive whole while maintaining the architectural identity of each. A new stairway and elevator unifies circulation, mechanical systems have been upgraded, and the thermal performance of the exterior walls has been improved. A new rooftop structure, clad in zinc and glass and set back from the perimeter of the roof, provides temporary exhibition space and adds a sculpture terrace. The gallery now contains over 64,000 square feet of exhibition space and the installation of art work has begun. The gallery is set to open on December 12, 2012.

A Façade with Infinite Possibilities

Courtesy studioMDA

Located on what was once a 25-foot-wide-by-95-foot-long empty lot in the Tribeca Historic District, a 15,000-square-foot red brick, glass, and metal residential building designed by studioMDA has topped out. The six-story building at 137 Franlin Street contains three two-story condo units with a spandrel panel on the façade acting as the demarcation. The façade design, which complements its neighbors, was informed by combining interest in the nine-square grid and the play of light on the Hudson River at sunset. The architects conceptualized the “dissonant harmony” of the water’s surface to create a sense of randomness and infinite possibility, using Sol LeWitt’s automated drawings as a reference. Four elements were grouped in sets of three to generate a total of 72 possible combinations grouped in to 24 sets of three patterned panels on the exterior. This grouping represents the total set of possible geometries at a certain level of abstraction. Follow this link to watch a video detailing the façade concept.


Cornell University has chosen Morphosis Architects to design the first academic building, the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute, on its “CornellNYC Tech” campus on Roosevelt Island. The 150,000 square-foot, academic building, will be a net-zero energy structure, featuring geothermal and solar power and is expected to open in Fall 2017.

The 2012 New York Architects Regatta Challenge (NYARC) will be held this year on the evening of 09.13.12 at the Manhattan Sailing Club in North Cove. Visit the NYARC Facebook page for more information.

Forty historic places located in all five boroughs were announced as finalists competing for $3 million in grants through “Partners in Preservation,” a collaboration between American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The public is invited to vote online for the preservation projects most important to them at Partners in Preservation. The top four vote-getters, to be announced May 22, are guaranteed to receive grants for their preservation projects. An advisory committee of community and preservation leaders will select sites that will receive the rest of the $3 million in grants.

Last week, elected officials in Goshen, NY, voted 11-10 against a resolution to demolish and replace Paul Rudolph’s 1967 Orange County Government Center. Suffering from water-damage, the building has been vacant since September. Plans to tear down the Rudolph building in favor of a new government building proposed by the county executive were quashed, in part because the new building was considered by some to be bland and lacking in character. Boston-based designLAB architects presented a report to the county that detailed how Rudolph’s building can be architecturally and economically renovated. Follow this link for more information on their findings.


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