In this issue:
· Housing Replaces Parking in Central Harlem
· Make-A-Wish Fulfillment
· A Diamond in The Rough
· University of Pennsylvania Builds a Hub for Nanotechnology
· Prescription for a New Hospital – Architecture + Art
Housing Replaces Parking in Central Harlem
The Dempsey, an affordable housing development designed by Dattner Architects, recently opened. Located in Central Harlem, the 84,000-square-foot building replaces an underutilized parking area of the Dempsey Center, a neighborhood multi-service center, with 80 units of housing ranging from studios to three-bedrooms. The masonry bearing wall and pre-cast concrete plank building is organized into bays of contrasting brick colors to provide scale and visual interest. Brick banding and a contrasting brick base emphasize the building’s residential character and were designed to complement the streetscape, which includes a landscape buffer between the street line and the first floor apartments. The entry is distinguished by a recessed, glazed window wall. As a participant in the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Multi-Family Performance Program, the building’s sustainable elements include a well-insulated, sealed envelope, energy-efficient lighting and mechanical equipment, and an interior stair that is naturally lit by a window wall located opposite the elevators to encourage using the stairs. The Dempsey is a joint venture between Phipps Houses, New York City’s largest not-for-profit developer/owner of affordable housing, and West Harlem Group Assistance, Inc. (WHGA), one of Harlem’s oldest and largest community development organizations. The project was developed under the Bloomberg Administration’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, and was built by Monadnock Construction.
The Samuel & Josephine Plumeri Wishing Place, located in the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Disney-esque Magic Castle dedicated to grant wishes to children battling life-threatening medical conditions recently opened in Monroe Township, NJ. Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership (LHSA+DP) transformed an existing 6,500-square-foot space into a four-dimensional environment with a choreographed narrative designed to transport wish-kids to a magical place where any wish can come true. The focal point of the project is a double-height atrium filled with larger-than-life plants and flowers that evoke the feeling of being in an enchanted garden. Graphic elements such as shelves filled with books adorn the walls of the “Inspiration Room” to help stimulate kids’ imaginations so they can decide on what to wish for. The “Wishing Room,” which resembles a magician’s cabin, features a special cabinet containing a glowing crystal. When the crystal is removed and the wish is bestowed on it, the room automatically turns into a nighttime scene so the wish can be conveyed across a star-filled sky. LHSA+DP collaborated with Argyle, NY-based Adirondack Studios, scenic and entertainment designers and fabricators of interactive environments, and Moorestown, NJ-based architect-of-record, RHM Associates.
A Diamond in The Rough
Five years after plans designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) were unveiled, and after subsequent delays due to the recession, steel has finally topped out and the crystalline curtain wall with embedded steel medallions is rising on the 450,000-square-foot International Gem Tower in the Diamond District. The first 20 floors of the 34-story building are being sold as commercial condominiums for retail establishments and office suites for businesses in the diamond, gem, and jewelry trade, while the upper floors will be retained by developer Extell, which plans to lease the space to financial and professional services firms. The two sections of the building were designed to act independently, each with its own dedicated lobby, elevators, and security system. Retail, featuring expansive display windows, is located in the lobby, mezzanine, and second floor with a dedicated escalator and elevator. The building features industry-specific ventilation and filtration system for light jewelry manufacturing, high-speed destination dispatch elevators, and a state-of-the-art security and vault system. Amenities include underground valet parking, a private executive club and fitness center, and onsite restaurants. Tishman is the project’s construction manager, and the building is expected to be delivered during the 3rd quarter of 2012.
University of Pennsylvania Builds a Hub for Nanotechnology
Construction recently finished on the steel frame of at the Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology, the new gateway to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Designed by Weiss/Manfredi, the 78,000-square-foot facility contains state-of-the-art lab spaces, including a 10,000-square-foot cleanroom (totally free of dust, vibration, and electromagnetic fields). Other program elements specific to the emerging field of nanotechnology include a 6,500-square-foot characterization suite, used for imaging equipment such as an electron microscope, and 12,000 square feet of laboratory modules. The labs are organized around a central courtyard, allowing for exterior views and making the scientific activities highly visible. A galleria, located between the lab and exterior enclosure, is wrapped in a metal-paneled façade with a bent ripple that reflects and refracts the surrounding buildings and activity of the city. An ascending route climbs from the courtyard through the building to a forum space that cantilevers 65 feet over the courtyard, and the steel shear wall structure for the cantilever is expressed on the interior and exterior, emphasizing the connection to the campus. Additional public spaces include a staircase that doubles as a lounge, conference rooms, and a café.
Prescription for a New Hospital – Architecture + Art
When the new 1.6 million-square-foot, Perkins+Will-designed Johns Hopkins Hospital Building in Baltimore – comprising the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center (named after the Mayor’s mother), and the Sheikh Zayed Tower for adult care – opens this April 2012, it will not only be a state-of-the-art medical facility, but a curated repository of over 500 works of art created by more than 70 artists. Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch, in collaboration with the architectural team, is responsible for the largest work in the building – a shimmering glass curtain wall that envelops the exterior of the building using the glass-as-water concept with two panes of glass to create a sense of depth. Inspired by Monet’s impressionist landscape paintings, 26 hues that work best in East Baltimore’s light were selected, and hundreds of hand-drawn frits became computer-generated ceramic etchings in the glass. The towers, designed concurrently and constructed as a single project, are located on a five-acre site and contain 560 all-private patient rooms, 33 expansive operating rooms, and healing gardens. The architecture and art collaboration includes the project’s curator, New York-based art advisor Nancy Rosen, consulting architect, Rowayton, CT-based KOLKOWITZ KUSSKE, and Philadelphia-based landscape architects OLIN. The acquisition and integration of art into the buildings was made possible in large part by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
THIS JUST IN…
Toshiko Mori is designing a new 22,000-square-foot space for the Sean Kelly Gallery (three times the size of its current location in North Chelsea) adjacent to Hudson Yards on West 30th and 10th Avenue. In addition, Mori is designing the new glass-canopied subway station entrances of the No. 7 line that will service the area.
The Center for an Urban Future reports New York City graduates twice as many students in design and architecture as any other U.S. city, and the city’s design schools are not only providing the talent pipeline for New York’s creative industries, but have become critical catalysts for innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth. Read the complete report at:
The Preservation League of New York State has added the block-long former IRT Powerhouse, on 11th Avenue at 59th Street, to its Seven to Save list of threatened historic resources. The Beaux-Arts building was designed by McKim, Mead and White. The League also named the South Village, a 35-block area with architecturally and historically significant buildings and sites constructed between the 1820s and 1930s. The organization will announce the remaining five sites shortly.
The Morpholio Project, a portfolio app created by designers Mark Collins, Toru Hasegawa, Anna Kenoff, and architect Jeffrey Kenoff AIA, recently launched a new iPad version. The app allows its community of users to share work through an image-based interface, as well as collaborate on projects and critique each other’s designs.