by Linda G. Miller
Take Me to the East River
BIG and Field Operations team up for River Street waterfront development
BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group and James Corner Field Operations, with project developer Two Trees Management, unveiled plans for River Street, a mixed-use development anchored by a waterfront park in North Brooklyn. The masterplan, designed by BIG and Field Operations, enhances the connectivity of the public waterfront, reinstates natural habitats, and elevates the standard for urban waterfront resiliency. The site, once home to the No. 6 fuel oil storage complex for Con Edison North First Street Terminal, will feature a pair of gently sloping, BIG-designed residential towers that are oriented to limit view obstruction from the neighborhood and maximize the Metropolitan Avenue view corridor. The buildings will house 1,000 mixed-income units, including 250 below-market-rate homes. The base of the buildings will contain a 47,000-square-foot YMCA featuring a waterfront aquatic center and 30,000-square-feet of retail space. A series of kiosks will run along the waterfront trail. The project’s public and community spaces will introduce a protected public beach and water access for boating, fishing, tide-pool exploration, and, potentially in the future, swimming. Borrowing from models used in the Netherlands, the River Street plan embraces the river instead of building walls and hard surfaces. Waterfront infrastructure includes berms, breakwaters, marshes, and wetlands designed to increase resilience. These components take the energy out of storm surges, reduce flooding, provide more room to absorb water and slow down its retreat, thereby reducing the risk of erosion, and better protect the the habitat loss in the face of climate change. The plan also includes a new tidal basin, capable of holding four million gallons of flood water, that is designed to mitigate damage from receding waters. In addition, the development expands the shoreline with various wave breaks, sustaining intertidal habitat and creating calmer waters to promote water access. The new waterfront park will support the restoration of salt marshes, wetlands, oyster beds, and tidal flats. In total, the River Street plan creates 2.9 acres of public open space and another 3.0 acres of protected waters, including natural habitat, far beyond the 0.7 acres required under zoning regulations.
Arts Organization Form a Cohesive Cultural District
Ground breaks on TEN Arquitectos and Andrea Steele Architecture-designed Downtown Brooklyn Cultural Center
The NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) announced that ground has been broken on a new arts and cultural center in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The 50,000-square-foot Downtown Brooklyn Cultural Center, designed by TEN Arquitectos with Andrea Steele Architecture, will become the home of several cultural institutions including the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the Brooklyn Public Library, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), and 651 ARTS. An elevated terrace extends inside as an open, light-filled café overlooking the activities of the plaza and will act as a flexible venue for exhibitions, gatherings and performances for all four cultural institutions. The café’s backdrop is an undulating wood wall that continues its sinuous form to envelope MoCADA’s gift shop and draws patrons into the gallery beyond. MoCADA’s curvilinear wall will allow a single meandering exhibition or series of artists, even providing a space for audio/video works within its folds. This dynamic procession creates a loop, bringing visitors to an outdoor terrace overlooking Ashland Place. On the other side of the serpentine wall is Brooklyn Public Library’s new location. The library’s wood-lined interior will host a production studio to function as a theater in the round, offering a space for sharing and recording content. Around the corner and visible from the entry café is 651 Arts, with graphics signaling passage to an elevator that brings patrons to a black box theater, gallery, and classroom on the 4th floor. In addition to these spaces, 651 Arts will also have rehearsal studios, and work and meeting spaces. BAM extends their campus presence, bringing additional cinemas, a multipurpose space, and film archive to their offerings. A glass-enclosed, double-height reading room will connect BAM’s ticketing to its concessions, cinemas, and film archive. The cultural center is housed within a larger 460,000-square-foot, mixed-use residential tower that opened in the fall of 2017. Additionally, the building features a public plaza for farmers markets, performances, and other programming for the local community, along with public parking.
The Pits Get a Makeover
WEISS/MANFREDI to lead master planning for La Brea Tar Pits
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) selected WEISS/MANFREDI to lead a master planning team in the reimagining of the La Brea Tar Pits, situated within the eastern portion of Hancock Park in Los Angeles’s Miracle Mile district. The team will work with NHMLAC on a multi-year process of public engagement, master planning, design, and construction at the Tar Pits’ 13-acre campus, which encompasses the world’s only active paleontological research site in a major urban area, its asphalt seeps, surrounding parkland, and the George C. Page Museum building. The firm’s “Loops and Lenses” uses a triple mobius form to create new connections between the museum and park. WEISS/MANFREDI’s team was one of three finalists, which included Copenhagen-based Dorte Mandrup and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Beyond WEISS/MANFREDI, the winning team consists of primarily LA-based collaborators, including experiential designer Karin Fong of Imaginary Forces, paleobotanist Carole Gee, architect and historic preservation advocate Brenda Levin of Levin and Associates, and graphic designer Michael Bierut of Pentagram.
Co-Locating Two Schools into One Building
Rogers Partners partners with Drexel University on K-8 public school
Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers is working with Drexel University on the design for a new K-8 public school that is being built on their campus. Ground was recently broken on the U-shaped, 87,000-square-foot, two-story building that will be nestled into a sloped site. The building will co-locate two existing public schools, pairing one of Philadelphia’s most beloved elementary schools, the Samuel Powel School, which will be on the ground floor, with the city’s most recognized innovation school, the Science Leadership Academy Middle School (SLAMS), on the floor above. The program includes core learning spaces, science labs, a maker space, a library, art and music spaces, administration offices, and a gymnasium, and a cafetorium with public entrances for community use. Clad in brick and zinc, the repetitive rhythm of classrooms mirrors that of the neighboring rowhouses. Two central open stairs encourage interaction between the two schools and enable each to operate autonomously while sharing select spaces and programs. Collaboration and informal learning spaces are clustered around these double-height circulation spaces. Two larger-scale spaces, clad in translucent polycarbonate, bookend the classroom portion of the building, which shares its spaces with both schools. The adjacent landscape by Philadelphia-based Andropogon Associates is designed for both play and sustainability, employing an integrated strategy to reduce stormwater runoff and a selection of durable, native plants. The project is expected to be completed in 2021.
From Vacant Historic Armory to Community Asset
Ground breaks on Marvel’s Bedford Union Armory
The NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) recently broke ground on BFC Partner’s Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Designed by Marvel Architects, the historic Armory’s Drill Shed will be renovated to include a recreation center that will house three basketball courts, a multi-use field, a full-length swimming pool, a fitness center, and areas designated for boxing and archery. The armory will accommodate several enrichment activities and educational programs including computer and coding classes, dance and performance studios, and literacy courses. The armory’s spaces will be utilized by local schools and Yeshivas, with access to its enrichment programs and athletic facilities, as well as spaces for meetings and exhibitions. The 650,000-square-foot project will preserve approximately 84 percent of the historic armory building, while providing two residential buildings with a total of 415 units, nearly two-thirds of which will be affordable to low-income individuals and formerly homeless New Yorkers. The lower residential building is an eight story, 82,000-square-foot building and will sit along the southern edge of the armory. The larger of the two is a 15-story, 320,000-square-foot building that occupies a through-lot. Designed in 1903 by Pilcher and Tachau, the armory occupies nearly an entire city block and covers approximately 2.8 acres. The armory was decommissioned for military use and the site was taken over by the City of New York in 2013 and has been vacant for years. The new armory is expected to open by the end of 2020, with the residential components of the project to open in 2021 and 2022.
West Side East Side – Closing Gaps in Manhattan’s Green Necklace
!melk’s Pier 97 and Stantec’s East Midtown Greenway add green space to Manhattan’s waterfront
Urban design and landscape architecture firm !melk is designing Pier 97, an approximately 680-by-12-foot site at 57th Street and 12th Avenue, the northern-most end of Hudson River Park. West Siders can expect features including a children’s playscape, a sports field, water play features, sculptural elements, an elevated “belvedere” with river views, an all-ages slide, and canopy structures that provide shade. The pier was used as a docking pier until the 1970s and has since served as a NYC Department of Sanitation parking lot and a concert venue. It is currently an abandoned, empty concrete pier. Construction on Pier 97 is scheduled to begin in fall 2020, with an anticipated opening by spring 2022.
The NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that construction on the East Midtown Greenway (EMG), a new waterfront public space from East 53rd to 61st Streets, has begun. Stantec has provided landscape architecture and waterfront, civil, structural, and electrical engineering for the project. The project is part of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway initiative to create accessible waterfront public space and safe bicycle pathways along the entire perimeter of the borough. East Siders can expect a continuous 40-foot-wide esplanade over the water parallel to FDR Drive, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to experience water on both sides and creating approximately 1.5 acres of new waterfront park space. The project will include a widened area near 53rd Street, with space for environmental programming and an art installation by Stacy Levy called “Diatom Pavers”, which was selected through a public procurement process in 2018. The project is expected to be completed by 2022.
This Just In
Fotografiska recently opened to the public in the renovated six-story, 450,000-square-foot Church Mission Building originally designed by architects Robert W. Gibson and Edward J. Neville Stent around 1894. Located on Park Avenue South at 22nd Street, the building will house photography exhibitions. CetraRuddy led the design and renovation, with Higgins Quasebarth & Partners consulting on the preservation and restoration elements. Roman and Williams designed the building’s soon to open restaurant.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), in partnership with the Hudson Square Business Improvement District (BID), today announced that construction has started on the first phase of work for a public-private, design-build project along Hudson Street between Canal Street and West Houston. The project, which transforms the corridor into a grand boulevard, will strengthen Hudson Square while enhancing pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular traffic safety. Prima Paving Corporation is leading the project’s design-build team and is responsible for overseeing related construction. Sam Schwartz Engineering is leading engineering, design, agency approvals, and public outreach. Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects is overseeing landscape architecture and urban design.
Ground was broken on Innolabs, a life sciences facility in Long Island City. Designed by Perkins and Will, the 267,000-square-foot property will provide lab and office spaces plus amenities, including bike storage, a grab-and-go cafe, showers, and professional spaces to host industry events. The project is developed by King Street Properties and GFP Real Estate.
Related Companies unveiled lighting installations at The Point LIC, a mixed-use development in Long Island City. Urban design and real estate development firm Totem’s in-house design studio FANTÁSTICA worked with Brooklyn-based lighting artist Todd Polenberg to develop and install “Light Speed,” an LED installation along a 140-foot fence along a pedestrian underpass that runs beneath the Long Island Expressway. The development firm also worked with Brooklyn-based lighting artist Chris Jordan to create an abstracted digital work entitled “Lumi Ciclo,” which will be projected on the pedestrian bridge at 21st Street between 50th and 51st Avenues.
The American Institute of Architects has honored Architecture Research Office (ARO) with the 2020 Architecture Firm Award, the highest honor that the Institute awards to architecture practices recognizing, “a firm that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least 10 years.”
LTL Architects was selected by AIANYS as the 2019 Firm of the Year. AIANYS honored Mitchell Giurgola partner Carol Loewenson, FAIA, with the 2019 President’s Award. F. Eric Goshow, FAIA, of Goshow Architects received the James William Kideney Gold Medal Award. AIANY was conferred the Frederic Schwartz Community Development Award for its 2019 Day of Service. 2019 AIANY Design Awards went to BC-OA, Trahan Architects, Magnusson Architecture and Planning, UNITEDLAB Associates, SHoP Architects, Selldorf Architects, Deborah Berke Partners, MBB, Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Perkins Eastman, ESKW/Architects, and Andrea Steele Architecture.
Beyer Blinder Belle won Building of the Year for the TWA Hotel in The Architect’s Newspaper’s Best of Design 2019.