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February 23, 2007
by Linda G. Miller

IN THIS ISSUE:

– Boerum Hill Grows a Green Urban Show House
– New Spaces Round Out Music Conservatory
– Two Interactive Playgrounds Stretch Kids’ Minds, Muscles
– 30-Story Condo Slated for Brooklyn
– Piazza for SUNY Purchase
– Reopen Airport as Service Center
– NYC IDA Spurs New Office, Industrial Space in Brooklyn
– Survey Predicts Engineer Shortage

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Boerum Hill Grows a Green Urban Show House
Working with developers R & E Brooklyn and Studio A/WASA, Natural Home magazine is converting a circa 1920s Brooklyn brownstone that had been slated for demolition, into the city’s first American Lung Association Health House. Plans call for preserving the existing historic brick commercial façade, while creating two three-bedroom residences.

Designed to meet a high standard of environmental performance, solar panels will provide electricity, and an innovative hybrid solar-thermal and gas-fired system will provide heating and cooling. Eco-friendly materials will include cement made from fly ash, recycled glass countertops, bamboo flooring finished with low-VOC water-based poly, and sorghum stalk kitchen cabinets. In order to be a Health House, a project must meet stringent standards that address moisture and humidity control, energy efficiency, air filtration and ventilation, and materials emissions. In addition, the project will include site inspections during the construction phase and performance testing upon completion. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2007.

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New Spaces Round Out Music Conservatory

Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners

The multi-functional Ades Performance Space at the Manhattan School of Music.

Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners

The Manhattan School of Music gained two new performance spaces and a residence for the president, completing the school’s plan for a fully functional and centralized campus community on the Upper West Side. The $65 million project, designed by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, began with the construction of a 19-story multi-use building to house dorms, practice rooms, and a new music library.

Now the school’s campus has the Miller Recital Hall, designed for recitals by faculty and students it is an intimate 1,775-square-foot performance space that seats 151. The multi-functional, 2,080-square-foot Ades Performance Space accommodates 216 persons and allows for multiple configurations for staging informal performances including chamber music, jazz, opera, and musical theater, as well as rehearsal space for large ensembles. The residence, with a penthouse and wrap-around terrace, also serves as an extension of the president’s office and as entertaining space for the institution.

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Two Interactive Playgrounds Stretch Kids’ Minds, Muscles

Ellen Honigstock Architect

The deli component of apple seeds playground.

Ellen Honigstock Architect

Rockwell Group

Burling Slip playground aims to encourage imagination.

Rockwell Group

Imagination Playground, a private/public partnership between the Rockwell Group and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation got a thumbs-up from Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) after receiving necessary approval from the local community board. Billed as a place “where kids will exercise their minds as well as their muscles,” the Rockwell Group’s model, initiated as a pro bono project, adds a rich environment of diverse materials encouraging unstructured “free play” in addition to traditional fixed equipment for physical activity.

The playground, located at Burling Slip adjacent to South Street Seaport, incorporates elements such as climbing ropes, a lookout ramp with telescopes, amphitheater seating, and a multi-level “crow’s nest” that has a double function as storage for loose parts. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) provided a grant for the construction of the Playground and the architect and the city are seeking to raise an additional $2 million for an endowment. Construction is slated to begin late 2007.

On West 25th Street near Madison Square Park, two friends, both moms of twins, decided they needed an indoor place for kids and their parents to hang out in the neighborhood. Designed by Ellen Honigstock Architect, apple seeds is a 15,000-square-foot play space, café, and boutique with classrooms where students can learn music, art, cooking, and yoga. The main attraction of apple seeds is its 2,500-square-foot NYC-themed interactive playground created by children’s museum designer, Roto Studios. The playground is divided into three zones — “the neighborhood,” ‘the park,” and “the city,” coinciding with early childhood development.

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30-Story Condo Slated for Brooklyn

Courtesy Clarett Group

Purchase College Student Services Building

Courtesy Clarett Group

Forté, a 30-story residential condo designed by FXFOWLE Architects, will be constructed in the new BAM Cultural District. Containing 108 residences, from studios to three-bedroom apartments, the streamlined glass ribbon façade will house four homes per floor and include gourmet kitchens and luxury amenities.

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Piazza for SUNY Purchase

Kevin Hom + Andrew Goldman Architects

Purchase College Student Services Building

Kevin Hom + Andrew Goldman Architects

Kevin Hom + Andrew Goldman Architects has recently completed a new, $12.6 million student services building for Purchase College. The project is part of a campus master plan conducted by the firm, designed to create a new center for academic and outdoor functions. The 57,000-square-foot glass and brick building has a two-story atrium with a one-stop-shop for student services and a multi-media conference center. The center is located at the end of the newly created Central Campus Mall, a plaza extension consisting of an overpass infill that bridges over an existing roadway, creating a new quad area know as the “Piazza.”

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Reopen Airport as Service Center

Margulies Hoelzli Architecture

The Avitat Westchester

Margulies Hoelzli Architecture

After a 15-month, $9 million renovation that converted its pre-jet age airplane hangar, Avitat Westchester reopened as a modern airport service center at Westchester County Airport. The 21,000-square-foot, two-story lean-to terminal, designed by Margulies Hoelzli Architecture, contains multi-tenant offices, crew facilities, maintenance shops, and storage facilities. Hoping to make the trip from to the aircrafts interesting, the facility has a glass canopy, an atrium, custom stainless steel staircases, aquariums filled with tropical fish, a baby grand piano, and its own Starbuck’s with freshly brewed coffee for pilots and passengers.

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NYC IDA Spurs New Office, Industrial Space in Brooklyn
New York City Industrial Development Agency (IDA), administered by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), approved financial assistance for the office component of The Center at Albee Square, a mixed-use development in Downtown Brooklyn that will serve as the city’s first major commercial project constructed in the area since a 2004 rezoning. The $60.4 million project is expected to create more than 470 construction jobs over three years and provide office space for about 500 permanent jobs. The IDA Board also approved financing assistance to four industrial companies, an auto parts manufacturer, commercial printer, importer/distributor of groceries, an apparel manufacturer, and a not-for-profit religious school.

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Survey Predicts Engineer Shortage
In time for National Engineers Week 2007, a survey of 175 member firms conducted by the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACECNY), reveals the direction, trends, and challenges the consulting engineering industry expects to face over the next five years. Critical issues include finding and retaining qualified personnel. Currently, 42% of those surveyed said they have enough engineers to meet their needs, and they anticipate this problem to grow. Personnel shortages in civil engineering, including transportation, highway, and bridge engineers, followed by mechanical and electrical engineers, fire safety, structural, and environmental engineers appeared to be of greatest concern to respondents. Topping the list of factors important to retaining professional engineers are higher salaries, more visibility and recognition, mentoring, and job security.

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