In this issue:
· Frieze Decorates Randall’s Island
· A Final Gwathmey-Designed Building is Added to the Skyline
· Fumihiko Maki Re-Makes Astor Place
· First Look at Designs for the Final Section of the High Line
· Armory Show Redux
· Reinventing the Suburban Office Building

Frieze Decorates Randall’s Island

Rendering of the pavilion.


Frieze New York has released renderings of SO-IL’s design for a temporary structure that will snake along the East River on Randall’s Island. The London-based international contemporary art fair’s first foray in New York will take place in a “mutated pie-shaped tent section” using “wedges” that will be inserted into the structure at five locations. From the outside, the wedges allow for an otherwise straight tent to appear supple and meander. Frieze will feature commissioned works of art, the majority of which will be situated outdoors throughout the island. The fair will include works from more than 170 leading galleries and takes place May 4 – 7, 2012.

A Final Gwathmey-Designed Building is Added to the Skyline

Rendering of 323 Park Avenue South

Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman & Associates Architects

One of the last projects designed by the late Charles Gwathmey, FAIA, is now rising. Known as 323 Park Avenue South, the project is being realized by Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman & Associates Architects for Tessler Developments. The 33,200-square-foot, 10-story luxury residential condominium features sixteen 1,350-square-foot two-bedroom residences, and one 3,100-square-foot, full-floor penthouse, as well as ground-floor space for retail. Amenities include 10-foot-high ceilings, bathrooms with heated floors, and optional SmartHome technology.

Fumihiko Maki Re-Makes Astor Place

Rendering of 51 Astor Place

Maki and Associates

Construction is underway and new images have been released for 51 Astor Place, a 400,000-square-foot, 12-story office building designed by Maki and Associates, which replaces Cooper Union’s old engineering building and a Starbucks. The structural steel and concrete slab building incorporates a low-e glazed and aluminum curtain wall. Features include a private green roof on the fifth floor, a tenant-accessible green roof on the 13th, a James Carpenter-designed cast glass art installation, and an urban plaza designed by Thomas Balsley Associates with its own Alexander Calder sculpture and a bicycle storage room with showers. The project, developed by Edward J. Minskoff Equities, is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. Adamson Associates International serves as associate architect on the project.

First Look at Designs for the Final Section of the High Line

Rendering the 11th Avenue access point for the High Line.

Image by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro; courtesy City of New York and Friends of the High Line.

Friends of the High Line (FHL) and the City of New York recently unveiled initial designs for the third and final stretch of elevated freight rail line that wraps around Hudson Yards. In keeping with FHL’s practice of seeking public input, the High Line design team James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro presented schemes at a community meeting. Comments from the meeting will be compiled in a summary document to be posted on the FHL website and shared with the design team. The estimated total cost of capital construction of the High Line at the rail yards is $90 million. FHL is actively working to raise private funding, and the City has launched the public review process for a zoning text amendment that would set a framework for critical funding from the Related Companies for the portion of the High Line on the Eastern Rail Yards. The funding would cover approximately 30% of the estimated total cost of building the final section, and would pave the way for construction to begin later this year.

Armory Show Redux

BSC’s design features yellow-painted “Street Seats” and landmark towers.

Andy Ryan

The Armory Show, a leading international contemporary and modern art fair and one of the most important annual art events in the city, recently took place on Piers 92 and 94 on the Hudson River. Organizers engaged Bade Stageberg Cox (BSC) to redesign and reinvigorate the show. The firm countered the common complaint of “fair fatigue” by making the space more comfortable and easier to navigate by employing a single-loop circulation. BSC’s layout balanced gallery areas with lounges that serve as both a visual respite from the art and places where impromptu performances and chance meetings could occur. Lounges, analogous to parks or town squares, serve as social spaces around which galleries were organized; landmark towers oriented the visitors and identified the lounges. BSC also created “Street Seats,” an installation for the coffee bar at Pier 94. An eclectic mix of chairs found abandoned on city streets were repaired, painted taxi cab yellow, and ended up traveling and reappearing at different points throughout the fair during its five-day run.

Reinventing the Suburban Office Building

Rendering of the renovated building.


KPF has broken ground on the renovation of an existing 225,000-square-foot building in Madison, NJ. What was once an outdated windowless Verizon call center will be repositioned and transformed into a Class A suburban office building for Realogy, the parent company of several leading real estate franchise brands. The renovation is designed to pull nature directly into the office environment, which is achieved by cutting out the central third of the original building to create a series of open-air courtyards. The central courtyard divides the building into two parallel office wings, and moves outward in layers into the parking area, which is re-envisioned as a part of the landscape. Landscape swales and plantings help to reestablish natural aquifers. The lobby, which serves as a central connector, is conceived as an architectural promenade leading to the third floor by way of an ornamental stairway. Once employees are inside the building they surround a captured forest while they themselves are surrounded by environmentally responsible landscape designed in collaboration with Nelson Byrd Waltz Landscape Architects. The project is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification.


After a 12-month renovation, fashion retailer Joe Fresh will open later this month at 510 Fifth Avenue. The 14,000-square-foot, two-story store is located in the former Manufacturers Hanover Trust building, a designated landmark building designed by SOM’s Gordon Bunshaft, FAIA. The Toronto-based interior design firm Burdifilek created a clean backdrop to highlight the collection’s bold color aesthetic and created custom fixtures and finishes in matte white, blackened steel, and clear sandblasted acrylic. A big win for preservationists is property owner Vornado Realty’s  recent agreement to return sculptor Harry Bertoia’s  ”Golden Arbor,” a  70-foot-long copper, nickel, and brass gilded screen has which has been reinstalled on the second floor of the store. Other concessions have been made to improve the connection to the important design elements of the original architect’s vision, but the signature scissor escalators won’t be replaced in their original configuration.

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates has been selected by the George Kaiser Foundation to transform more than 55 acres of land along the Arkansas River into a recreational, civic, and cultural destination in Tulsa, OK. The firm is already holding sessions to elicit ideas from the public.

The New York City Department of Housing, Preservation and Development (HPD), the DESIS Lab (Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability) at Parsons The New School for Design, and the Public Policy Lab have formed a partnership to explore ways to facilitate community engagement in the development of housing-related services. The team, composed of Public Policy Lab fellows and Parsons faculty and students, will target specific neighborhoods where HPD programs and initiatives are most active, starting with the Melrose Commons Urban Renewal Area in the Melrose section of The Bronx. This initiative is part of Public & Collaborative, a global effort of the DESIS Network in which more than a dozen academic design labs around the world will explore how to enhance the connections between citizens and public services. Parsons will host a series of four lectures in March and April that will bring together leading European and New York City designers with policymakers to explore the intersection of social innovation and public service. For more information visit