Remembering 9-11

9/10/2007 Battery Park

9/10/2007 Battery Park. 6:10 PM, NYC 9/11 Memorial Field; 6:19 PM, Wall of Patches from around the World.

9/11/2007 Ground Zero Ceremony

9/11/2007 Ground Zero Ceremony. 7:36 AM; 9:37 AM.

9/11/2007 WTC Construction Site

9/11/2007 WTC Construction Site. 1:25 PM; 1:29 PM.

9/11/2007 Tribute in Lights

9/11/2007 Tribute in Lights from Brooklyn Heights Promenade. 8:04 PM; 11:03 PM.

9/12/2007 St. George 9/11 Memorial

9/12/2007 St. George 9/11 Memorial, Staten Island. 1:32 AM; 1:53 AM.

Downtown Receives Dose of Realism

Event: Progress Report on the Redevelopment of Lower Manhattan
Location: Marriott World Financial Center, 09.06.07
Speakers: Avi Schick — Chairman, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation; Robert Douglass — Chairman, Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association (introduction)
Organizers: Lower Manhattan Development Corporation

Lower Manhattan

Avi Schick addressed some issues of progress in Lower Manhattan and skirted others.

Jessica Sheridan

With signs of progress (or at least of Freedom Tower construction) finally in sight, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) chairman Avi Schick spoke with optimism, respect, and responsibility in his recent progress report on the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan. He spotlighted silver linings and tried to keep the most recent setback, the August 18 Deutsche Bank fire, in appropriate perspective.

Ground Zero still is promising more than it is achieving, and the cultural and recreational components lag behind the more profit-driven elements. But the 9/11 memorial, East River Esplanade, and a soon-to-be-announced $45 million LMDC grant for “community enhancement” should begin redressing that balance in 2008 and 2009.

In June JPMorganChase said it would build its new investment-banking headquarters at the Deutsche Bank site; Schick anticipates 7,000 new jobs from the project. He also cited new hotels and a 20% increase in local apartment inventory. Making Lower Manhattan livable on a 24-7 basis depends on public-sector initiatives as well as the business community.

As with many political addresses, things left unsaid made as much difference as things covered. Schick paid homage to firefighters Joseph Graffagnino and Robert Beddia killed in the Deutsche Bank fire, and pledged that LMDC would “ensure that the conditions that led to the blaze, that exacerbated it, and that contributed to the difficulty in fighting it are completely eradicated.” Schick pledged, “We will bring that wretched building down.” Accountability for those conditions, however, remained between the lines; John Galt Corporation and Bovis Lend Lease never came up. Recent revelations about air quality around the World Trade Center site, too, were ignored. However, outside engineering review will align construction timetables with technical considerations, not political ones.

Perhaps the most encouraging inference one can draw involves LMDC’s reluctance to offer false encouragement. When asked for the best estimate of when Deutsche Bank would be gone, Schick declined to specify a date, claiming that the demolition would proceed “sequentially and slowly and carefully.” A question about the transit center received the same treatment. A more headline-minded spokesman might have nailed down a deadline or two for the sake of drama, feasible or not, but Schick has apparently been around Ground Zero long enough to know better.

Architecture as Social Policy

Event: Politics, Publics and Design
Location: Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP), Columbia University, 09.10.07
Speakers: Dr. Rene Spitz — Chairman, International Design Forum (IFG), Ulm; Kenneth Frampton — Ware Professor of Architecture, GSAPP, Columbia University; Adi Shamir — Executive Director, Van Alen Institute
Organizers: Kadambari Baxi — Associate Professor, Undergraduate Architecture, Barnard College & Columbia College; Irene Cheng — Doctoral Candidate, GSAPP, Columbia University

Living City

Living City was awarded a 2007 New York Prize Fellowship through the Van Alen Institute.

Courtesy David Benjamin and Soo-In Yang

In a time where globalization meets global warming, the boundaries between public and private are constantly shifting. The International Design Forum (IFG) Ulm and Van Alen Institute are two organizations examining the relationships among politics, the public realm, and design — the former with an annual design competition, and the latter with its New York Prize Fellowship.

The Designing Politics competition intends to “encourage projects to develop consequences which leave a lasting mark on our social and physical environment,” according to Dr. Rene Spitz, IFG Ulm chairman. What made the winning projects in 2006 stand apart from other submissions was the way they examined the relationship between design and politics.

The KwaThema Project: Designing Negotiations Between Planning and Violence, submitted by Hannah le Roux of Johannesburg, proposes to overcome the tension between violence and planning within derelict public spaces in a small township in South Africa by working with the local community. One aspect of the project, for example, is to transform an eroding former liquor store into a children’s playground with help and input from local school children. Uncounted Counts. Citizenship by Design and Design for Democracy is a research project investigating the relationship between the individual and the state, examining nationality within globalization. Created by Kadambari Baxi, associate professor at Barnard and Columbia Colleges, and Irene Cheng, doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP), Columbia University, research will lead to prototypes of alternatives to the standard products, including passports, naturalization tests, ballot papers, and election booths.

The Van Alen Institute’s 2007 New York Prize Fellowship “provides international emerging practitioners and scholars an opportunity for in-depth research and a platform for interventions in the public realm,” according to the online overview. Living City, one of the prizes awarded to David Benjamin and Soo-In Yang, evaluates NYC’s air quality. For three months, Benjamin and Yang will develop a full-scale architectural membrane that “breathes” reacting to the surrounding air quality. Through a responsive, kinetic surface, movement is converted into public information.

In response to the panel discussion held at GSAPP on the two programs, Kenneth Frampton, Ware Professor of Architecture at GSAPP, discussed the importance of contextualization, but voiced concern over the inherent latency some of the projects presented. Whether or not all of the projects will be implemented, the proposals are forward looking and a step in the right direction toward social responsibility.

Medium-Size Firms Hit Happy Medium

Event: SUPERMODELS: MEDI_20-100, Expanded Mediums
Location: Center for Architecture, 09.05.07
Speakers: Rob Rogers, AIA — Principal, Rogers Marvel Architects; Charles Renfro, AIA — Principal, Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Christopher Sharples — Principal, SHoP Architects
Moderator: Julie Iovine — Executive Editor, The Architect’s Newspaper
Organizer: AIANY New Practices Committee
Sponsors: Exhibition Underwriters: Häfele Americas; SKYY 90; Associated Fabrication; Patrons: 3form; ABC Imaging; Sponsors: Severud Associates; Thornton Tomasetti; OS Fabrication & Design; The Conran Shop; Supporters: Arup; Bartco Lighting; Fountainhead Construction; FXFOWLE Architects; MG & Company; Microsol Resources; Structural Enterprises; Friends: Barefoot Wines; Cosentini Associates; DEGW; Delta Faucet Company; Perkins Eastman; Media Partner: The Architect’s Newspaper

The challenge of running a medium-sized firm lies in retaining the flexibility and intimacy of a small firm while taking on a variety of project types and scales. Ranging from 20 to 100 employees, it is difficult to define overarching issues relevant to all medium firms. Rogers Marvel Architects (50 employees), Diller Scofidio + Renfro (45 employees), and SHoP Architects (66 employees) are similar in number of employees, but the principals run their offices differently. The one term agreed on by Rob Rogers, AIA, of Rogers Marvel Architects, Charles Renfro, AIA, of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Christopher Sharples of SHoP is “in flux” when talking about identity, management styles, and type of work.

The biggest benefit of a mid-size firm is that it is large enough to work on a variety of different projects, but small enough that every employee can be involved in all aspects of design. Rogers claims that Rogers Marvel is run like a 20-person firm even though they have 50 employees. The open studio atmosphere allows everyone to be involved in every project. Because the three principals at Diller Scofidio + Renfro oversee all design aspects, running the firm like an art studio — complete with group critiques — allows everyone to contribute and own a piece of the work. SHoP Architects’ five principals originally come from different disciplines. By hiring employees with specialized talents, work is distributed equally, and the firm is able to maintain its diversity.

Freedom to be creative is key, and keeping bureaucracy at a minimum is something to strive for in medium firms, especially when the firms need to grow. Often, firm growth is a result of a specific need, not necessarily a goal. Diller Scofidio + Renfro is moving to a bigger office, and therefore has space to hire more employees. The number of employees at Rogers Marvel fluctuates based on the needs of its current projects — sometimes they hire professionals who specialize in a specific field and other times they need more employees for large projects. SHoP grows as they obtain more projects; according to Sharples, with 19 active projects in six different market sectors, growth is a necessity.

While large firms can afford to pay higher salaries, employee retention is a priority to mid-size firms. Rogers Marvel aims to provide a challenging and interesting work environment so employees are excited to come to work. SHoP removed the names of the principals on the door to facilitate a collaborative atmosphere. By eliminating the hierarchy, employees can take ownership of the firm and the SHoP brand can change as the work develops. Diller Scofidio + Renfro maintains daily intrigue by working on small boutiques as well as long-term projects. Because smaller projects have a faster turn-around, employees can be involved in every stage of design and construction, and momentum is sustained with the larger projects.

Moderator Julie Iovine, executive editor of The Architect’s Newspaper, quoted the three firms’ online mission statements without stating which belonged to whom. While the stresses of medium-sized firms may be similar, it is apparent every firm approaches challenges differently.

New Rules Shape IDP, ARE

Event: IDP Inside Out
Location: Center for Architecture, 09.14.07
Speakers: Thomas Penn, AIA — NY State IDP Coordinator; Shanntina Moore, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP — AIA National Associates Committee, Regional Associate Director New York Region, representing Cannon Design 2006 IDP Firm of the Year; Tony P. Vanky, Assoc. AIA — Vice President, American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)
Moderator: Mark Behm, LEED AP, Assoc. AIA
Organizers: Emerging New York Architects (ENYA); AIANY Professional Practice Committee; AIAS; in conjunction with the arch schools: r(each)ing out exhibition

The path to licensure is not always direct. Quality of work experience is just as important as immediately fulfilling all of the Intern Development Program’s (IDP) training unit requirements, according to panelists demystifying the IDP process. Tony Vanky, Assoc. AIA, vice president of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), discussed how interns should engage their employers to gain exposure to different tasks. It is important to evaluate the diversity of experiences offered by firms during job interviews. “A job is a lot like a nice pair of shoes,” said Vanky, “once you’ve put them on, you can’t return them.”

IDP candidates should be aware that several changes in the program are underway. Soon, a rolling clock system may disallow candidates from reporting earned training units that are more than six months old. Some states are now allowing students to take some sections of the Architecture Registration Examination (ARE) after graduation, prior to fulfilling their IDP requirements. In addition, the ARE is changing from its current nine-exam form into a condensed, seven exam series that integrates graphics and multiple-choice questions into each section beginning May 2008.

According to the panelists, students should open a record with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) as soon as they are eligible, in order to capture any qualifying internships they may have completed while in school. (Note: NY State requires that an applicant for licensure must have three years of experience after graduation, in addition to having fulfilled the requirements of IDP). And now that NCARB recently launched online applications, there is no excuse to procrastinate!

Forget Branding

Event: The Future of Design
Location: The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, 09.05.07
Speakers: Etienne Fang — Strategic Director, Cultural Insights Studio, Cheskin; Rie Norregaard — Creative Director, Frog Design; Elizabeth Pastor — Co-founder, NextDesign Leadership Institute & Co-founder, Humantific; Leslie Wellott — The Insight Group, Imagination
Moderator: Chee Pearlman — Director, Chee Company
Organizer: Media Bistro

Architecture is often product-driven, and architects do not always think about enriching their designs by engaging employees and clients. As design becomes more complex, collaboration and communication are increasing important within and outside of the workplace. A panel focusing on trends in graphic and information design pointed out changes silently happening within architecture offices as well.

Articulating the thought process behind design is what will solve problems, stated Ettiene Fang, strategic director of the Cultural Insights Studio at Cheskin. Architects have long realized the lure of a thick marker sketch in a client meeting — but what about the idea of letting the client behind the veil? “Design has shifted from being a craft to design-oriented thinking” focused on providing problem-solving skills and a perspective on design, according to panelist Leslie Wellott of The Insight Group. When it comes to finding solutions, cross-collaboration with other disciplines is critical.

Though moderator Chee Pearlman, director of Chee Company, stated, “design is no longer a field about authorship,” architects are somewhat late to the game as dozens of name-brand buildings are popping up all over town. When it comes to communication and marketing, architects may want to look toward other allied professions for ways to effectively leverage design collaboration.

Three Draws a Crowd


Dara McQuillan of Silverstein Properties counts down until CD sets for the east bathtub are complete.

Rick Bell

Larry Silverstein’s remarks were on target. He spoke of how much is happening at the World Trade Center site, and how the three teams hired by Silverstein Properties to design Towers 2, 3, and 4 have been working side-by-side in the super-sized studio at 7WTC. But the point of the September 6 convocation was the buildings themselves. Among other common features, including their projected LEED ratings, all focused on integrating commercial space on the ground floor thus animating the eastern façades along Church Street and enlivening the streetscape.

For Tower 2, to be known as 200 Greenwich Street and designed by Foster and Partners with Adamson Associates, retail space lines both the north and south sides of the building’s base. The 78-story structure respects the major aspects of the WTC Master Plan by Studio Daniel Libeskind, including integration with the “Wedge of Light” plaza and inflective roof planes. Tower 2 contains 138,000 square feet of retail and some 2.3 million square feet of office space. According to Foster and Partners’ project architect Michael Jelliffe, “the glazed crystalline form and diamond shaped summit of the building will be visible throughout the city and situate the Memorial Park when viewed from any location.”

Tower 3, designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has 2.1 million square feet of office space and 193,000 square feet of retail. Richard Paul, partner at RSHP, noted that the 175 Greenwich Street structure, “stands centrally across Greenwich Street from the main axis formed by the two reflecting pools of the memorial.” Renderings show Dey and Cortlandt Streets as pedestrian streets unencumbered by stairways within the paved area. The verticality of the rectilinear tower is accentuated by antennae that stretch the building height to 1,240 feet above grade.

The fourth tower at 150 Greenwich Street is 64 stories tall. At 975 feet above grade it contains 1.8 million square feet of office space and five floors of retail, four located at or above sidewalk level. Project architect Gary Kamemoto of Maki and Associates said that “the above-grade retail takes the form of a podium that becomes a catalyst in activating and enlivening the immediate urban environment at pedestrian street level,” as does the Transit Hall that connects public space to the Cortlandt Street IRT stop. The angular, trapezoidal and parallelogram-shaped floor plans will create a distinctive profile on the Lower Manhattan skyline.

A countdown clock on the wall in the 7WTC super-studio indicates how many days remain until completion of construction documents for the east bathtub area of the site. Six years after the destruction of the World Trade Center, there was a sense of urgency in the room overlooking the site, and confidence the new towers would be realized regardless of the demolition schedule of Deutsche Bank or related construction schedules of the underground service concourse.

The presentation of the towers was put into perspective, as well, by an update on the National September 11 Memorial & Museum by its president/CEO Joe Daniels. The memorial project, now under construction, integrates the “Reflecting Absence” design by Michael Arad, AIA, and Peter Walker, FASLA, with the underground Memorial Museum by Davis Brody Bond Aedas (including a portion of the Vesey Street “Survivors Stair”) and the “Memorial Pavillion” visitors’ arrival center by Snohetta.

Architects at Sea

ChallengeNY Architect’s Regatta

AIANY Team sets sail (left) after readying the boat on the docks (right).

Kristen Richards

The wind was steady as evening set over Lower Manhattan. With 17 sailboats aiming for the start line and 30 seconds remaining, there was only one thing to do: tack. Randy Lewis, of the NYC School Construction Authority and regular sailor with the Manhattan Sailing Club, kept an eye on the clock. Skipper Damian Besculides of Mancini Duffy pushed the tiller slowly away from him. Rick Bell, FAIA, AIANY Executive Director, and I released the jib and reeled in the sheets port-side. Barb Steffen, AIANY Communications Coordinator, held onto the mainsail sheet while snapping photos of the action. Anthony Dowling, crewmember more familiar with Australian seas, and Mark Behm of Mancini Duffy kept an eye off the bow for oncoming traffic.

From then on, it was smooth sailing… except for the sheets getting caught on our ankles, the confusion over how to wrap the ropes clockwise (sorry!), and a brief collision with an oncoming Skidmore, Owings & Merrill boat (we had the right-of-way!). Luckily, no one was hit by the boom.

In its seventh year, the annual ChallengeNY Architect’s Regatta was held September 6, organized by Gerry Dolezar, hosted by the Manhattan Sailing Club, and providing a refreshing atmosphere for architects to socialize away from usual settings. This was the first year the AIANY Chapter sponsored a boat, and even though we came in close to the end of the pack, the prize awarded us by Robert A.M. Stern Architects — a martini glass trophy with an engraved face of Robert A.M. Stern, FAIA, wishing us “better luck next time” — made it worth the effort. That and the fact that the $1,000 each team donated to participate in the event is going to Project City Kids, a free sailing program for urban children.

Participating teams included: AIANY; Allen-Killcoyne Architects; BKSK Architects/Levien & Company; Bostwick Purcell Architects; Bureau V; FXFowle Architects; Daniel Frisch Architecture; Pei Partnership Architects/Fuller & D’Angelo; HLW International; HOK; Mancini Duffy; Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects; Rogers Marvel Architects; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Robert A.M. Stern Architects; Swanke Hayden Connell Architects; and Ted Moudis Associates. At the end of the evening, HOK won the big prize, a trophy designed by Les Metalliers Champenois. However, each team created a prize for the team finishing behind it, and no one was left empty handed (especially HLW International — recipient of a large rubber ducky and Captain Morgan Rum nibs presented by Rick Bell). For more photographs from the evening check out Sighted.

In this issue:
·Barnes Foundation Makes Art More Accessible
·Papermaking Studio Dons Garment District Loft
·Science Meets Landscape in Urban Meadow
·Jersey City Condo Reflects in Hudson River
·A Tower Grows From Masonry Base
·From Head to Toe, Two Firms Fashion New Boutiques
·Green Projects Aim for Gold Trifecta

Barnes Foundation Makes Art More Accessible
The responsibility to design a new center for the Barnes Foundation’s preeminent collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early Modernist paintings falls to NY-based Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, who have been unanimously selected to advance its educational mission and ensure long-term viability. Located in Center City, Philadelphia, the design will replicate the original galleries currently located in Merion, PA. In addition to new classrooms and an auditorium, the building will include much-needed facilities for conservation, research, and administration; a gallery for special exhibitions; a retail shop and restaurant; and areas for special events and visitor services.

Papermaking Studio Dons Garment District Loft

Wet Studio

Wet studio for papermaking at Dieu Donné.

Stephen Yablon Architect

The Dieu Donné Papermaking Studio has moved uptown to a circa 1926 steel and masonry building in the Garment District. Stephen Yablon Architect designed the new 7,000-square-foot “factory for art” with double-height areas to inspire creativity and collaboration among paper artists. The workspace supports the technical production requirements unique to the papermaking process. The facility houses offices, an exhibition gallery, a fully equipped papermaking studio, and a climate controlled archive space for paper art and historic paper samples. Cost saving strategies for the non-profit institution included minimal intervention and adaptation of the loft’s original elements, adaptive reuse of industrial lighting fixtures, and preserving existing floors.

Science Meets Landscape in Urban Meadow

Urban Meadow Brooklyn

Urban Meadow Brooklyn.

XS Space

Landscape design firms Balmori Associates and XS Space are collaborating to explore ways to temporarily transform vacant urban lots into productive green spaces. Recently the firms transformed an 8,000-square-foot vacant lot owned by the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation into a verdant meadow with rolling hills of grasses, wildflowers, and flowering trees. Urban Meadow BKLYN is a product of scientific data collected by scientists at Columbia University’s Center for Climate Studies on the site’s potential environmental benefits. As a result, the site maximizes its capacity to absorb storm water run-off, offset carbon emissions, and create a cooler microclimate. Although initially conceived as a temporary landscape, it was recently adopted under the auspices of the Community Garden “GreenThumb” program and will be maintained by local residents.

Jersey City Condo Reflects in Hudson River

77 Hudson

77 Hudson.


Sales have set sail on the Cetra/Ruddy-designed 77 Hudson, a 500-foot-tall residential condo with five-star hotel amenities. Located one block from the Hudson River in Jersey City the architects gave the building a nautical flavor with a curtain wall of blue glass that transmutes from mid-blue to deep blue to greenish blue intended to replicate water reflecting the sky. A navy blue stainless steel sculptural element in the lobby houses the concierge and acts as the centerpiece for the building. The building’s triangular “stingray” shape with serrated corners affords most of the 420 condo residences corner views and floor-to-ceiling windows. The lower façade of the building is of red brick, echoing those of its neighboring brick townhouses in the historic Paulus Hook section of the city.

A Tower Grows From Masonry Base

330 Hudson Street

330 Hudson Street.

©2007 Brennan Beer Gorman / Architects LLP

Brennan Beer Gorman/Architects is set to design a $220 million mixed-use building at 330 Hudson Street. An existing eight-story 1910 historic masonry former warehouse-turned-office building, designed by Charles Haight, will be restored and transformed into 292,000 square feet of office space, 15,000 square feet of retail space, and a 12-story, 171-room boutique hotel. The 22-story building is capped with a signature double-height loggia and will feature a 7,000-square-foot roof garden with a pool, sky bar, restaurant, conference center, and fitness center. The building aims to garner a LEED Silver rating. Construction is expected to begin in October, with the office and retail spaces available for tenant fit-out in January 2009.

From Head to Toe, Two Firms Fashion New Boutiques

Nina Footwear; Liz Claiborne

(l-r): Nina Footwear; Liz Claiborne.

HOK; Spacesmith

HOK’s NY office completed the new headquarters of Nina Footwear, a 33,000-square-foot duplex at Union Square housing executive offices, design studios, and showrooms. A central staircase between the two floors fosters employee meetings, and a new reference library for designers and marketing staff is intended to foster creative collaboration. The new office also includes an extensive shoe archive, cataloguing 4,000 pairs of vintage shoes.

And, Spacesmith has completed the interiors for Liz Claiborne and Ellen Tracy’s new corporate offices and showroom. Located in the Fashion District, the new 6,500-square-foot office/showroom houses operations for the international fashion designer and retailer features a tailored design that uses natural materials, such as wenge wood fused with bronze glass, mirrors, and coil curtains.

Green Projects Aim for Gold Trifecta

Maple Grove

The Center at Maple Grove.

Peter Gisolfi Associates

Three new “green” buildings designed by Peter Gisolfi Associates are nearing completion and all will receive LEED Gold certification. The new student center at Manhattanville College in Purchase is a 31,000-square-foot building that saves 45% of the energy used by a typical code-compliant building of similar size. Solar collectors supply 8% of the building’s electricity, and energy efficient evaporative chillers provide necessary cooling. The Darien (Connecticut) Public Library uses geothermal heating and cooling to control the temperature, natural and multi-level lighting controls, and biofiltration for storm water. The Center at Maple Grove, a new 18,000-square-foot building at the Maple Grove Cemetery complex in Kew Gardens, Queens, also employs geothermal heating and cooling, and saves 35% of the energy used by a typical building of similar size. All three projects have been constructed of natural, local, non-toxic materials.