by Linda G. Miller
Skolnick Restores Arts Nonprofit The Church
Arts nonprofit The Church recently underwent a comprehensive restoration by Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership. Located in Sag Harbor on Long Island, the original 1836 church, shuttered since 2008, was adaptively reused as the home of the nonprofit arts center founded by the artists Eric Fischl and April Gornik. Developed in collaboration with Fischl and Gornik, the 12,000-square-foot, three-story building was reimagined into a light-filled center for artists-in-residence with on-site accommodations, flexible making spaces, exhibition galleries, a resource library, and a public garden that can host a range of events. Demolition from prior restoration attempts revealed rustic wood framing throughout, which complements the contemporary interventions. At the ground floor, the space has been completely opened up to create flexible spaces surrounded by 22-inch-thick stone masonry walls. The main floor, accessed through the restored east façade entry portal and foyer, which retains much of the processional sequence from its time as a sanctuary, leads to the double-height space of the main exhibition hall. The mezzanine level is expressed as a floating element between the main floor and the soaring roof trusses above. A glass elevator and wood stairways connect the levels. Portraits of notable East End artists painted Fischl have been transferred to translucent film and mounted within the windows, serving as a modern interpretation of traditional stained-glass windows. The Church will offer tours starting on April 15, 2021.
Wid Chapman’s Dhamaka Restaurant Opens at Essex Market
Dhamaka, a 1,300-square-foot restaurant designed by Wid Chapman Architects, has opened at Essex Market, with indoor seating for 52 patrons plus an additional 30 outdoor seats. In Hindi, dhamaka means “boom” or “explosion,” an idea expressed both in the restaurant’s design and in its cuisine. Many of the restaurant’s design elements, including the wall panels, metal frames, and light fixtures, were conceptually designed by the architect, but were then fine-tuned and realized by artist Christopher Wynter. The wall panels serve as a “shattered” canvas, with shards of objects and backlighting making the forms appear to float from the wall. The handmade screens at the kitchen and bathrooms and the sculptural pendant lights are made of rusted steel, placed in a random triangular geometry. The bar area features a bottle-storing “chandelier,” converted from what looks like an old truck wheel or oil barrel. The bottles and back bar mural are painted with Indian icons, motifs, and Hindi phrases by artist Sean Maze. The bar back, located on top of the painted mural, has a bottle-supporting, linear wood grill structure that also appears to float off the wall with discreet backlighting. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow passersby on Delancey Street to glimpse a slice of India on the Lower East Side.
FXCollaborative to Reimagine 3 Times Square
FXCollaborative has been selected to reimagine 3 Times Square, located on 7th Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets, for the Rudin Management Company, who intends to reposition the 30-story, 885,000-square-foot office tower into a 21st-century workplace. The building boasts column-free floor plates ranging from 28,000 to 35,000 square-feet. Capital improvements include a glass-walled, triple-height lobby; a ground-floor sculptural façade screen design to diffuse the lights of Times Square, and interiors with streamlined, touchless entry and a fully renovated destination dispatch elevator system. The building will also be equipped with a HEPA filtration system with a MERV rating of 15. Also planned are terraces on select floors, as well as a dedicated amenity space on the 16th floor. The space will include a spacious dining area and lounge overlooking Times Square, a coffee bar, a fitness center, and conference and event center that can host up to 220 participants. The building will maintain its spire, which serves as a communications antenna, as well as one of the largest and most visible screen signs, in keeping with the Times Square aesthetic.
Snarkitecture Completes Library Street Collective Gallery in Detroit
Snarkitecture recently completed a new gallery for Library Street Collective, located in downtown Detroit in a once-deserted alleyway known as The Belt, which is now set to become a cultural hub. The gallery is housed on the ground floor of the historic L.B. King and Company building designed by Rogers and McFarlane and completed in 1911. The “portal,” an intervention sculpted out of the original brick façade, functions as both an art installation and as a glass window into the gallery. From the interior, the arrangement of bricks appears to cantilever into the space. With flexibility as a priority, the display wall at the back of the gallery offers exhibition space while also acting as a partition for the library, office, or private viewing area. Mosaic tiled flooring and a custom reception desk provide depth in the monochrome space. Cove lighting around the perimeter, along with a central halo light, create an even diffusion of light across the space for the exhibition of artworks.
Spacesmith Completes Expansion for e-Trading Platform MarketAxess HQ
As part of an ongoing relationship with e-trading platform MarketAxess, Spacesmith has designed the expansion of their London headquarters. Located on the 12th floor of the Eric Parry Architects-designed 5 Aldermanbury Square, the new 17,000-square-foot office space was planned to attract new talent and maximize the company’s innovations in technology by providing settings for open communications, collaborative interactions, and the launch of new products. The design reflects the company’s belief in agile collaboration, accommodating “scrum team” stand-up meetings and adding highly flexible training space. For efficiency and openness, work areas are primarily height-adjustable benching, all with access to natural light and views of the skyline. An array of meeting rooms flanks the workstations. A large café offers employees three zones for three different activities: training, eating, and lounging. Each zone is identified via different wall treatments—a media installation for the training space, café amenities for the eating area, and a live green wall with an array of plantings for the lounging area. The space also features a clean, neutral palette with furnishings that add pops of color. An art wall, which wraps the building’s core, is visible from all workspaces as well as the café. The expansion has achieved an SKA Gold Rating (a U.K certification similar to LEED), for its ample natural light, energy consumption reductions, and responsible construction practices and materials.
SO-IL Designs Pebble House for LA’s Accessible Dwelling Units Program
As part of Los Angeles’s Accessible Dwelling Units (ADU) Standard Plan Program, SO-IL has proposed “Pebble House,” a 700-square-foot, flower-shaped home. An ADU is a secondary housing unit on a single-family residential lot to help ease LA’s current housing crisis. After a year of development and a seven-month pilot phase, the ADU Standard Plan Program gives homeowners access to 20 pre-approved design options from ten different firms. Clad in corrugated metal, SO-IL’s house acts as a self-contained residential extension, raised on a rounded platform that doubles as an exterior deck. The prefabricated facade maximizes exposure to the exterior, opening up where needed and allowing natural cross-ventilation. A central block contains the MEP and the bathroom, flanked by a kitchenette on one side and a space for a bedroom on the other. These spaces are surrounded by living spaces, which open onto the deck.
In Case You Missed It
The Prospect Park Alliance has completed the restoration of the Concert Grove Pavilion, closed to the public since 2014 due to structural damage. Originally designed by Calvert Vaux in 1874, it features eight cast-iron columns that support a decorative metal and wood roof with an octagonal stained-glass skylight. Work was performed by the Alliance’s Capital Projects team, which includes architects, landscape architects, construction supervisors, and an archivist.
May 31, 2021 will mark the second centenary of the abolition of the Inquisition Court in Portugal. On this day, Studio Daniel Libeskind, in collaboration with Saraiva + Associados, will sign a protocol for the creation of Tikva – Jewish Museum Lisbon.
As scaffolding begins to come down, the exterior of the Korean Cultural Center on East 32nd Street near Park Avenue has been revealed. Designed by SAMOO, the project, which has been under construction since 2018, is set to open in late 2021/early 2022.
SO-IL’s Las Américas Housing Complex, a model for urban cohabitation, has opened in León, Mexico.
Essex Crossing by SHoP Architects has received a 2021 AIA National Award for Regional & Urban Design.
NYSERDA announced 14 winners in Round Two of their Buildings of Excellence Competition, including Bethany Terrace Senior Houses by Paul A. Castrucci Architects; Cooper Park Commons – Building 2 by Steven Winter Associates, Court Square by Ettinger Engineering Associates, DeKalb Commons, Linden Boulevard Phase III and The Rise by Magnusson Architecture and Planning; Hudson Hill by Amie Gross Architects; and The Seventy Six Building C by Garrison Architects.
On April 21, 2021, architect and author Hermes Mallea of M(Group); Tyler Morse of MCR/MORSE Development; and Sam White, FAIA, Anne Holford-Smith, AIA, and Ray Dovell, AIA, of PBDW Architects will be honored at the Preservation League of New York State’s Pillar of New York Awards.