by Linda G. Miller
Sven by Handel Architects Becomes Second Tallest Tower in Queens
Spanning 71 stories, Sven, a new residential tower designed by Handel Architects, is the second tallest tower in Queens. Located close to Dutch Kills Green Park in Long Island City, the glass tower’s concave façade subtly embraces the adjacent neo-Gothic Queens Clock Tower, formerly Chase Manhattan Bank Building. The tower contains 958 units, ranging from studios to three-bedrooms, 288 of which are income restricted. The façade features over 100,000 square feet of electrochromic glass—a first for a building of this height and size—to control solar heat gain in the units and reduce the building’s cooling load. Each panel is connected to a sun sensor on the roof that automatically adjusts the amount of glass tinting. Sven is also the city’s first residential skyscraper to offer View Glass technology, which allows residents to optimize their indoor comfort by controlling the tint of their windows through an app on their phone. Selldorf Architects designed the building’s lobby and 50,000 square feet of amenities including a landscaped terrace with an outdoor swimming pool, a chef’s catering kitchen, a private dining room for entertaining, a screening room, a game room and poker lounge, a children’s playroom, a fitness center, a bi-level library, a conference center, and multiple co-working spaces. Sven was developed by the Durst Organization, which also restored the landmarked Clock Tower Building, repurposing it for commercial and retail use. The development also includes a half-acre public park in front of the new tower.
Kostow Greenwood Architects Designs Annex to James Earl Jones Theatre
Broadway’s landmarked Cort Theatre on West 48th Street has been renamed the James Earl Jones Theatre by the Schubert Organization and reopened after an interior restoration by Wilmington, NC-based Francesca Russo Architect and an expansion designed by Kostow Greenwood Architects. Built in 1912, the theatre is the only surviving theatre designed by Thomas Lamb. Working with only 35 feet of street, the 20,000-square-foot addition sits between the historic theatre and a new hotel construction. The annex includes multiple levels of lounges and concession spaces, accessible restrooms, new dressing room, rehearsal spaces, and wardrobe facilities, allowing for expansion of the stage-left wing and an upgrade of the rigging system. The backdrop for the annex’s grand stairway is an original fabric mural designed by Kostow Greenwood that spans all five stories and pays homage to Marie Antoinette, whose image appears in the main lobby of the historic theatre. The French queen is pictured on the base of the grand staircase holding a flower that sprouts outward. The light blue-sky background recalls theatre frescoes depicting the gardens of Versailles, alluding to the fact that the Petit Trianon at Versailles inspired the classic exterior of the theatre and architecture from the period of Louis XVI inspired its interior. Five strategically placed corner windows, measuring eight feet in height and width, plus a through-block pedestrian courtyard across the street, allow for views between neighboring buildings. The windows are also strategically placed so that the elements of the historic façade can be seen up close when traversing the annex’s stairway. The integration of the existing theatre’s façade with that of the new addition required close collaboration between the two firms.
Prior Performing Arts Center by Diller Scofidio + Renfro Opens in College of the Holy Cross
The sound of music can now be heard in the recently opened Prior Performing Arts Center, a new 84,000-square-foot venue for fine and performing arts at the College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit liberal arts college in Worcester, MA. Sited at the highest point on campus, the center was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro as an incubator for multi-disciplinary learning and creativity, offering a space for the arts that is accessible to members of the college community and beyond. The heart of the center, known as the Beehive, is a flexible space that acts as a connective tissue between the public programs and the student productions, allowing back-of-house functions to activate the building. The space’s informal, hackable nature turns it into a creative playground for study and performance for all students. Much like a stage, the Beehive’s materials combine both the raw and refined. An exposed dark steel technical infrastructure zone rings the space, standing in contrast with the rich woods of the stairs, bars, seating, and student collaboration zones. Around this central space programs are divided into four pavilions contained within two pairs of walls that intersect to form a nine-square grid. The corners of the grid feature a courtyard garden with an amphitheater, an outdoor teaching area and workspace, a meditative garden, and a sculpture garden. The paired walls twist, rise, and interlock—the wall of one pavilion becoming the roof of its neighbor, forming a chain around the center and creating arched entries directly into the heart of the building. The Center also includes the Luth Concert Hall, a 400-seat convertible concert hall and proscenium theater for music, musical theater, and dance; the Boroughs Theatre, a 200-seat experimental theater space; support spaces for the performing arts; and the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery; a media lab; rehearsal rooms; and production spaces. Boston-based Perry Dean Rogers Architects served as executive architect.
Worrell Yeung Designs Candlewood Lake Home
Worrell Yeung has designed a family house on a steep site on a narrow peninsula in Candlewood Lake in Western Connecticut. The 4,900-square-foot house is defined by its cantilevered horizontal roof planes that cascade down towards the water. The home is constructed primarily from site-cast concrete, allowing for large, uninterrupted glass openings that enhance connections to nature. Using non-contiguous load bearing points, the architects were able to shift and cantilever the second-floor volume, opening up half of the first-floor roof for gardens and an outdoor deck space. Taking cues from the neighbors’ warm wood siding, facade walls are clad in vertical slatted sustainable pine. Local limestone base walls and bluestone pavers ground the home in native materials that complement the rock outcroppings seen throughout the island. Floor-to-ceiling glazing flanks the front entrance, which leads directly to the entryway courtyard and ornamental Japanese maple tree within, which obscures, then reveals, the view of the lake as one moves further inside the home. The courtyard also separates the open dining room/kitchen, which includes a gray marble fireplace custom-designed by the firm, from two bedrooms. Accessed from behind the living room, a floating cantilevered staircase leads to a large suite with a bedroom, bath, study, terrace, and roof garden. On the lake level is a family room, a bar, a wine cellar, a garage, and utility and mechanical rooms.
Jen Lewin Studio’s The Last Ocean Exhibited at Burning Man
The Last Ocean, designed, fabricated, and engineered by Jen Lewin Studio in Brooklyn, was exhibited at this year’s Burning Man festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The 8,000-square-foot installation, created from reclaimed and recycled ocean plastic, is evocative of a luminescent ice field with a composition rooted in geometric tessellations. The shape and form are directly inspired by Type 9 pentagonal tiling discovered by the artist and amateur mathematician Marjorie Rice in 1976. The immersive installation explores the crisis of plastic pollution in our oceans and the need for aggressive systemic change, using the studio’s in-house mesh network LED technology. During the day, the platforms highlight the transformation of reclaimed ocean plastic with a swirled surface of blue and white particulate. At night, the installation glows with light that cycles through a diverse palette of colors as participants splash and dance in waves of light, highlighting the organic and powerful nature of our oceans.
In Case You Missed It…
The Queens Museum, located in Flushing Meadow’s Corona Park, has selected LEVENBETTS to oversee the design for the final phase of the museum’s renovation and expansion project. The capital project will bring state-of-the-art upgrades in energy efficiency and operational support, advancing its position as a world-class institution representing New York City’s most diverse borough.
Ground will be broken on The Cubes, a new 2,640-square-foot, two-story building designed by LOT-EK that will provide facility space for Socrates Sculpture Park to support administrative offices, arts education, community work, and year-round public programming. The structure is constructed from upcycled shipping containers and is expected to be completed in early 2024.
The installation of a James Turrell Skyspace, the capstone element to the redevelopment of the Friends Seminary by Kliment Halsband Architects, is underway. It will serve as a spiritual and educational space for the school’s K-12 students, the community, and the city. Turrell’s Skyspaces are specifically proportioned chambers where viewers can experience a unique and personal view of the sky through a knife-edged aperture in the roof. Benches line the perimeter of the enclosed space, allowing observers to look up at the sky.
The Orangerie in at the Pocantico Center in Tarrytown, NY, which is being transformed into a public arts center with net-zero carbon emissions, will open this month. Designed by FXCollaborative, the project is to be renamed the David Rockefeller Creative Arts Center and will include performance spaces, a gallery, and a flexible studio for artists and community programs. An array of on-site solar panels will generate more energy than the 13,000-square-foot, single-story structure will consume in a year and a rain garden will control storm water and restore natural habitat.
Digital artists from Culturespaces have transformed a portion of the former Beaux-Arts headquarters for the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank, designed by Raymond F. Almirall and opened in 1912, into the Hall des Lumières. The hall spans 1,615 square feet across two levels of the 17-story building, transforming the space into an immersive art experience with 130 projectors and a spatialized sound system. Currently, the works of Gustav Klimt are projected as tall as 40 feet.
The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected a Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates’ revised proposal for changes to the exterior base of the Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo Associates-designed 60 Wall Street.