03.24.09

03.24.09

Tickets to San Francisco are just $250 round trip for the weekend of the 2009 AIA Convention (04.30-05.02.09). Be sure to purchase yours soon if you have not already!

– Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP


CLICK ON BLOG CENTRAL: AIANY BLOG: The AIANY Chapter’s Blog Central features opinion pieces on architectural issues relevant to NY-based designers, firms, and projects, along with spotlights on debates and discussions at the Center for Architecture and AIANY. It is an informal discussion board. To become a regular contributor to Blog Central, please e-mail e-Oculus. Pen names are welcome.

Waterfront Zoning Revisions Rock the Boat at City Planning

Event: Dept. of City Planning’s Proposed Waterfront Zoning Revisions
Location: Center for Architecture, 02.20.09
Speaker: Claudia Herasme — Urban Designer & Program Manager for Guidelines, NYC Department of City Planning (DCP)
Panelists: Howard Slatkin — Deputy Director of Strategic Planning, DCP; Bill Woods — Director of Waterfront and Open Space, DCP; Bonnie Harken, AIA — Co-chair, Waterfront Committee, American Planning Association/NY Metro Chapter; Susannah Drake — New York Chapter President, ASLA; Lee Weintraub, FASLA — ASLA National Trustee; Michael Samuelian, AIA — Co-chair, AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee
Organizer: AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee; NY ASLA; APA NY Metro Chapter

New Waterfront Zoning Provisions will mandate public access to the waterfront, but could constrain and limit design.

Jessica Sheridan

Proposed by the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) and in the process of winding its way through the public review process is a text amendment to the Waterfront Zoning Provisions of the 1993 Zoning Resolution. The DCP is pursuing a comprehensive review and revision of the current urban design regulations, which mandate public access to the waterfront. These rules have successfully produced public waterfront access areas, but it has become apparent that they impose design constraints and limitations.

Drawing upon the city’s experience with waterfront developments in recent years, the new standards are designed to address a wider variety of waterfront conditions than anticipated by the existing text. Many of the elements of the DCP’s proposal already exist at the Greenpoint and Williamsburg waterfronts, and at the Ikea site in Red Hook — all in Brooklyn. In brief, DCP’s proposal is intended to improve the quality of future waterfront space by promoting inviting spaces that “read as public,” allowing a greater diversity of experiences through design flexibility, enhancing the variety and quality of plantings, and better accommodating storm water management and other green practices.

All panelists applauded the DCP’s intentions and efforts, but had their concerns. Bonnie Harken, AIA, co-chair of the waterfront committee at the American Planning Associations (APA) NY Metro Chapter, said the APA supports the goals of the revision — to make the waterfront more open and accessible to the public and introduce more flexibility into the design standards — but added, “What we’d like to see next is for the waterfront zoning to fit more consistently with some of the broader planning issues facing NYC.” With climate change already bringing rising sea levels and more intense storms, NYC’s low-lying waterfront areas need to be designed for flood-proofing and absorption, storm water management, and shoreline protection. She believes coordination of the zoning with agencies responsible for the environment, such as the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation and NYC Department of Environmental Protection, and climate change initiatives of PlaNYC is needed to plan in a larger sense for the future sustainability of NYC’s waterfronts.

Attendee Stephen Whitehouse, RLA, AICP, spoke of Gowanus Green, one of the first sizable projects to start a review under the new regulations. His firm, Starr Whitehouse, is part of a competition-winning team composed of Rogers Marvel Architects and West 8 to create affordable housing along the Gowanus Canal in Carroll Gardens. The new waterfront zoning brings the canal under its jurisdiction; the project must comply with the new waterfront zoning’s bulk regulations and criteria for public waterfront access. Whitehouse agrees the new regulations will result in engaging spaces, but based on his experience, the regulations are “complex and require significant effort to demonstrate compliance to the satisfaction of the department. With the changing regulations, the methods of demonstrating compliance have not been standardized, so we’ve had to create them, with an eye both to the text and to feasibility.” He explained that with the large site, for example, compliance formulas are generating requirements for too many benches and tables. The standards for compliance are “far too onerous to demonstrate, and it should be dropped,” he argued.

The proposal is now undergoing review by the City Planning Commission, which is weighing the recommendations from the AIA, APA, and ASLA, along with other recommendations from the Borough Presidents and Community Boards. A vote is expected in April.

OMA’s New Tower Steps Out From the Crowd

Event: Helfand Spotlight Series: 23 E. 22nd Street by Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA)
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.06.09
Speaker: Shohei Shigematsu — Partner and Director, OMA NY
Organizer: Center for Architecture
Sponsor: Slazer Enterprises

23 E.22nd Street

Office for Metropolitan Architecture

In the 1978 book Delirious New York, a young Rem Koolhaas remarked that Manhattan “has fed, from its conception, on the splendors and miseries of the metropolitan condition — hyper-density — without once losing faith in it as the basis for a desirable modern culture. Manhattan’s architecture is a paradigm for the exploitation of congestion.” A new OMA tower epitomizes that impulse to exult in density and make the most of a congested air space, as a recent talk by Shohei Shigematsu and an accompanying exhibition about the building at the Center for Architecture showed.

Like a young kid peeking from behind a more straitlaced parent, a midrise tower at 23 E. 22nd Street will cantilever nearly 30 feet to the east to gain views of Madison Square Park, which otherwise would be blocked by the adjacent 60-story One Madison Park to the north. At the same time, the OMA-designed tower avoids blocking the light coming to the terrace of the next-door building, Shigematsu explained. The stair-like shapes of the new building also playfully allude to the traditional setbacks of the city’s architecture.

“Somehow, [in] New York we are a little bit either lucky or doomed to face a lot of interesting moments,” Shigematsu observed, citing past projects that never came to fruition, such as the hotel at Astor Place and the Whitney Museum extension. This latest project, though, seems on the luckier side: it’s nearly recession-proof, since it shares a base with One Madison Park, which is near completion, he added. The new tower — OMA’s first in the city — will include 18 residential units, a restaurant, and a Creative Artists Agency screening room, which will be prominently visible from the sidewalk.

Though the design received considerable publicity when it was unveiled last year, one of the joys of the talk and exhibition was getting a glimpse into OMA’s process. Some other potential designs, such as a tower shaped like a spiraling stairway, make the final choice look comparatively tame. In the end, the firm went with a design that’s largely guided by the limitations of the site and its zoning. Angling over to the east not only improves views, it also allows the tower to rise higher by skirting to the side of a 250-foot height limit, Shigematsu said. The strategy was made possible by obtaining air rights from neighboring buildings.

The tower gains the necessary structural strength through a form “like a corset that braces the building at the center,” he said. The middle of the building is denser, with smaller windows and lower ceilings, whereas the ceiling heights of the units towards the top and bottom of the tower are higher, creating loft-like spaces. In a move that somehow makes sense in the building’s topsy-turvy geometries, windows are placed on the floors of cantilevered spaces, creating a sense of connection to the bustling street life below. It’s a fitting flourish for a building that seems to defy gravity, in both meanings of the word.

U.S. Federal Office Out-greens Green

Event: Films and Conversations with the Architects: Thom Mayne: U.S. Federal Office Building, San Francisco. Producer: Edgar B. Howard. Directors: Tom Piper, Charles Gansa
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.05.09
Speakers: Thom Mayne, FAIA — Founder & Principal, Morphosis; Suzanne Stephens — Deputy Editor, Architectural Record
Organizers: Checkerboard Film Foundation; AIANY
Sponsors: Microsol

Thom Mayne, FAIA, founder and principal of Morphosis, begins each project by asking plenty of questions. The style of the building is not a priority. Instead, questions such as, “How can we make the best office building?” or “How can we remove the air conditioning?” come first. During the design of the U.S. Federal Office Building in San Francisco, Mayne discovered the best way to find the answers was by talking with the office workers themselves. They wanted three things: natural light, a view, and an open window. At a recent discussion and film screening of “Thom Mayne: U.S. Federal Office Building” (produced by Edgar B. Howard, and directed by Tom Piper and Charles Gansa), Mayne explained how these requests inspired a building that made sustainability the primary concern.

The film showed how aesthetics directly resulted from the building’s performance. The north side of the 18-story structure has a green-glass façade and a stainless steel screen that wraps over the top of the building to the south. The porous nature of the screen allows natural light into the interior. The operable windows and undulating concrete ceilings allow the breeze to enter and disperse throughout each floor.

“Architecture is something that comes from questions,” said Mayne after the film. “It is a collective form” that integrates technology, politics, and even social systems. He values “dialogue, context, and complexity.” Although the building is sustainable, the process should develop from the needs and values that connect us all, not from a LEED checklist, he argues. For Mayne, ultimately, it was his high regard for questions that drove the U.S. Federal Building to sustainable, beyond the “checklist.”

Casa Malaparte’s Enigmatic Legacy Continues

Event: The Curious Case of Casa Malaparte: Literal Deconstruction and the Surrealist Building Enclosure
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.10.09
Speaker: Michael McDonough, AIA — Author, Casa Malaparte: A House Like Me (Clarkson-Potter)

Courtesy michaelmcdonough.com

“Who is this guy riding a bike around on a roof with no railing in a cliffside dwelling in the middle of the Bay of Naples,” asked Michael McDonough, AIA, pointing to a black-and-white photograph. McDonough is equally fascinated with Curzio Malaparte (1898-1957) — an Italian who was variously a journalist in London, a collaborator with the Surrealists in Paris, and a war correspondent on the Russian front during World War II — and Casa Malaparte, the fortress-like villa he designed for himself on the Isle of Capri. After 10 years studying the house and the man, and three years writing and editing, McDonough’s book Malaparte: A House Like Me was published in 1999.

“Casa come me,” or “house like me” is what Malaparte called his deep terracotta-colored masonry villa that was realized in 1939. Located on a promontory 32 meters above the sea, the house is surrounded by natural beauty on land steeped in Roman history. The outline of the building follows the course of the cliffs and is built on three levels. A large roof terrace stretching out towards the sea can be reached solely by a reverse pyramid staircase that fits in perfectly with the shape of the rocks. The idea for the steps comes from a church in Lipari, where Malaparte worshiped during his imprisonment. Access to the property is either by foot from the town of Capri or by boat and then a hike up a staircase cut into the cliff. “It’s inaccessibility,” says McDonough, “is extraordinary.”

One question that continues to mystify architects and historians is who really designed Casa Malaparte? Italian rationalist architect Adalberto Libera designed one scheme. Malaparte, who, according to McDonough, felt “architects are basically engineers,” worked with Libera’s plan, adapting it and building it with a local stonemason. The house has no steel components — rather, it is built of limestone, concrete, and stucco, materials found onsite. Terrific storms would cause windows to be blown out and the salty wind would blow completely through the house. In addition, the salt water in the in the two-foot-thick limestone walls migrated to the outside causing the stucco to fall off. An audience member questioned the color of the house. Yes, it was originally white, which was the color of the fascists, but after Malaparte became interested in communism, he painted it red. McDonough surmised that through time, even if people couldn’t read words, they could “read” materials and color.

The house was abandoned after Malaparte’s death in 1957 and became a victim of vandalism and neglect. Malaparte had willed the house to the People’s Republic of China — it is said he admired Chairman Mao — but his wish was contested and now the Casa Malaparte Foundation is its steward, making it available to architecture students. Malaparte’s great-nephew, Nicolo Rositani, is primarily responsible for restoring the house to a livable state. However, due to the building materials and the elements, Casa Malaparte is in a state of perpetual restoration.

Energy Audits Save Clients Money, Keep Architects Working

Event: Not Business As Usual: Energy Audits
Location: Center for Architecture, 03.11.09
Speakers: Clararose Voigt, and Joanna Moore — Project Managers, NY State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); Michael Leech, LEED AP, Assoc. Engineer, and Adam Desio, LEED AP, Assoc. Engineer — Project Managers, EME Group
Organizers: AIANY; Center for Architecture Foundation
Sponsors: AMX; Chief Manufacturing; Lutron Electronics

With the economic downturn, firms are struggling to stay competitive. By helping clients save money in the long run, firms will not only keep the valuable clients they have, but also potentially gain new projects in the future. One way to do this is by encouraging clients to do energy audits. At the most recent Not Business As Usual forum at the Center for Architecture, representatives from the NY State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) spoke about its energy audit program along with engineers who perform the audits from EME Group.

Besides gaining or keeping clients, NYSERDA has launched initiatives to focus on climate change through energy efficiency. The Commercial/ Industrial Programs aim to reduce energy consumption by 15% by 2015. By linking corporate building owners who pay less than $75,000 in electric bills per year with companies that perform energy audits, owners could save a noticeable amount of money by improving the systems in their buildings, stated Clararose Voigt, a NYSERDA project manager. With each audit, there is a billing analysis, walk-through survey, report on the performance of all systems in the building, and ultimately information and assistance on incentives and funding opportunities is provided. For larger companies, and for owners who work with engineers, NYSERDA can help re-evaluate energy consumption in the long term through feasibility studies, energy master plans, and retro commissioning.

Whether or not architects encourage their clients to use NYSERDA’s services, they can encourage building owners to think about energy efficiency as directly linking to cost savings. In these troubled times, this may be one way to keep sustainability in everyone’s consciousness.

Firms Use Nature to Rethink Suburbia

Event: Architectural League Emerging Voices Series
Location: The Urban Center, 03.05.09
Speakers: Shane Coen — Principal, Coen + Partners (Minneapolis & NYC); Derek Dellekamp — Principal, Dellekamp Arquitectos (Mexico City)
Organizer: The Architectural League of New York

Mayo Plan #1 (left); Tlacolula street rendering (right).

(left) Coen + Partners; (right) Dellekamp Arquitectos

Suburban development isn’t typically associated with innovation and specificity, but Shane Coen and Derek Dellekamp want to change this. At the first of this year’s Emerging Voices series at The Architectural League, the two firms discussed their successes and shortcomings in their efforts to re-examine suburbia.

In Rochester, MN, the Mayo family (of Clinic fame) asked landscape architecture firm Coen + Partners to create a new residential development on its former 220-acre farm. Forced to work with a banal street plan, following the typical curvilinear cul-de-sac model already approved by local authorities, the firm developed a landscaping strategy grounded in the site’s history and ecology. Five-foot-tall grasses were introduced throughout the development to erase property lines, while trees, fences, and house plots were situated along innate linear axes to give residents new ways to experience their natural surroundings and interact with neighbors. Coen worked closely with Altus Architecture and Salmela Architect to design 120 contemporary, geometrical homes based on the area’s traditional agricultural buildings.

In Oaxaca, Mexico, Dellekamp Arquitectos is designing a new suburban community consisting of 1,000 low-cost social housing units. Working with a very tight budget, the firm reconfigured the generic floor plan used for these kinds of developments, responding to Oaxaca’s sweltering climate by maximizing shade and providing cool breezes. Cars are moved from their privileged position in front of a house to a shared site nearby, freeing outdoor space for family use and allowing for the creation of inner pedestrian streets. In a friendly nod to Oaxaca’s lively traditional architecture, each house is covered in vibrant bands of contrasting paint.

Dellekamp’s Oaxaca development is currently in construction, but Coen’s Mayo project has stalled. Although the plan has been widely praised in the design community, the Mayo family and its conservative community decided that they wanted their neighborhood to be more traditionally suburban. Coen’s lesson? “Never try to talk a family into doing anything.” With some perseverance, however, Coen will hopefully revive his strategies elsewhere.

The City in Transition: Gansevoort Market

Matthew Baird’s 829 Greenwich Street (left); Junya Ishigami’s Yamamoto boutique (right).

Fran Leadon

New York City has gone through tremendous changes since the last edition of the AIA Guide in 2000. The upcoming fifth edition (Oxford University Press, 2010) will reveal a city in transition: the aftermath of September 11, the Boom, the Bust, and the emergence of neighborhoods (Gansevoort Market, West Chelsea, DUMBO) that were barely even mentioned in the fourth edition.

The Guide‘s fourth edition dedicated only one short paragraph to Gansevoort Market; it wasn’t really a neighborhood. In 2000, it was still very much the city’s gritty meat market, punctuated here and there by a hipster bar or a design studio. It was a world populated by butchers in blood-soaked smocks taking cigarette breaks on loading docks. The rusty, abandoned High Line snaked overhead. It was, according to the fourth edition, “busy, chaotic, earthy from before sunrise well into the day…empty, eerie, scary at night.”

For the fifth edition we have created an entire section devoted to Gansevoort, joining parts of the Village and Chelsea, and using the High Line as a thread that links the new neighborhood to the emergent enclave of West Chelsea. We are trying to describe Gansevoort at this particular moment of transition, when supermodels and butchers occupy the same space, side by side. Here are some excerpts from the upcoming edition:

Gansevoort Market, also known locally as the Meatpacking District, lies roughly between Ninth Avenue and the Hudson River, from Gansevoort Street north to 14th. From these wholesale meat markets came the beef for many of Manhattan’s restaurants and institutions. The cobblestone streets remain, but no longer run as deeply with the blood of sectioned livestock, although you may still encounter cattle carcasses hanging out to dry. Gentrification has been happening for at least a decade here, but the conversion of the High Line to a linear park promises to preserve its melancholy vistas while connecting the area to West Chelsea and spurring even more development.

829 Greenwich Street (house), bet. Horatio and Gansevoort Sts. 2005. Matthew Baird.
A small but uncompromising exercise in weight and weightlessness from the modernist Baird. Impossible to miss is the forty-foot high rusted steel “billboard” bolted to the facade. A funny take on privacy: the residents can peek out, barely. Don’t feel bad for them, though: the entire back of the building, not visible from the street, is glass. Baird’s billboard, emphasizing the vertical, works surprisingly well with Morris Adjmi’s horizontally-obsessed building next door at 40 Gansevoort.

Yamamoto (clothing boutique), 1 Gansevoort St. at crossing of W.13th & Hudson Sts. 2008. Junya Ishigami.
A drastic, but ingenious, approach to the adaptive re-use of old buildings. Japanese architect Ishigami has performed invasive but beautiful surgery on an existing brick shed, removing layers of green paint, punching big openings in the façade, and last but not least, slicing the building into two parts. One half is now a light-filled showroom and the other half provides storage and office space. The showroom gleams like a lantern at night, and comes to a razor-sharp point where Gansevoort and West 13th meet.

Long-Term Planning: Emerging Architects Key to Future

In the many discussions about the state of the economy that I have participated in, there is a growing concern for emerging architects. Those graduating this year into a profession that feels as if it is buying time until new projects are announced and construction begins again are finding it difficult to get their foot in the door. Young professionals with a couple of years of experience are often the first to get laid off. Soon, these jobless professionals will start looking elsewhere to support themselves, leaving a major gap in the workplace.

There are several things that can be done to keep young professionals in architecture. Many offices that do have work right now are hesitant to hire when the future is so uncertain. Instead, employees are working overtime (even more than usual) to keep up with the breakneck deadlines that were promised by firms trying to stay competitive. Perhaps these firms can hire emerging architects to work on a temporary basis, to ease some of the pressure. Unemployed emerging architects are looking for any kind of experience to boost their resumes.

The AIA is taking steps in the right direction to support emerging architects, but it can do more, as well. It recently launched a scholarship program that gave away 100 free registrations to next month’s convention. Needless to say, almost the day it launched, it closed due to the overwhelming response. There should be more of these scholarship programs, locally as well as nationally, encouraging emerging architects to get involved with the architecture community even if they are not working. The AIANY’s Not Business As Usual discussions have broached the topic, offering resume advice (portfolio reviews will be offered this Wednesday, 03.25.09). Also, the AIANY Emerging NY Architects (ENYA) committee is hosting a Mentor Match program Tuesday evening, 03.24.09, to give career advice.

Everyone is struggling these days, but looking forward to preserving the profession in the long-run is just as important as finding the next project.

In this issue:
· Five New Projects for TEN Arquitectos
· Oak Room and Oak Bar at The Plaza Reopen
· A Piano Factory Changes Its Tune
· A School That Knows Its ABC’s, and Its G for Green
· First “Green” Affordable Mixed-Use Project in the Garden State
· A Passage Through India


Five New Projects for TEN Arquitectos

Clinton Park.

TEN Arquitectos

TEN Arquitectos is currently working on five new commercial and residential buildings in the city. This number includes the recently completed ONE York, an upscale, 32-unit residential condominium located at Sixth Avenue and Canal Street. The project is a sleek fusion of old and new. A crystalline shaft penetrates a pre-existing industrial loft building and rises to create a prow of glass and steel seven stories above it. Clinton Park, on 11th Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets, is a 1.3-million-square-foot, mixed-use development with a 28-floor tower containing 900 apartments (20% inclusionary) a 25,000-square-foot health club, a Mercedes Benz showroom, market, and a 35,000-square-foot horse stable for the NY Police Department. The Habita Hotel Chelsea features a metal mesh façade and exterior glass elevator, which rises through a slender glass column. On the ground level is a brasserie and bar lounge, and the roof deck features a pool, bar, and garden terrace. Near Bryant Park, the Cassa Hotel, is a combination restaurant, bar, boutique hotel, and luxury condo that share a common triple-height lobby. The tower uses windows and a punctured rhythm to ornament the façades.

The firm is also working in Park Slope, Brooklyn, at 580 Carroll Street in Park Slope, a 30,000-square-foot condominium containing 17units. The project is set back and separated from the street by a 3,000-square-foot shared garden, introducing an element of country living to an urban site.


Oak Room and Oak Bar at The Plaza Reopen

The Oak Room at The Plaza.

Sari Goodfriend

The restoration and redesign of The Oak Room and adjacent Oak Bar at The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan has been completed by Selldorf Architects. The firm conducted a detailed restoration of the designated interior landmark room, including all of the original paneling, paintings, and moulding. Built by Plaza Hotel architect Henry Hardenbergh in 1907, the room features a Renaissance Revival interior that boasts a 24-foot ceiling with Flemish and English oak paneling, carved reliefs, and original oil frescos of Bavarian castles. The architects custom-designed almost every new element of the space, including personalized furniture and modern accessories, to evoke an atmosphere of chic, elegant, and sophisticated dining. Of particular note are the walls in the newly created private dining room, which have been covered in a curtain of woven copper fabric. In addition, new lighting suffuses the restaurant, and complementary colors of copper and oak set the theme throughout.


A Piano Factory Changes Its Tune

The Sohmer Piano Factory.

Caliendo Architects

The Sohmer Piano Factory, a designated landmark on the East River in Long Island City distinguished by its prominent clock tower, has been converted into a 69-unit condominium designed by Caliendo Architects. The red brick building, designed in the German Romanesque Revival style by the architectural firm Berger & Baylies, was built in 1886. Now known as the Piano Factory, the lobby, detailed in mosaic tiles with piano key accents and an original Grand Sohmer piano, opens into a private circular driveway. The residence offers studios to three-bedroom homes designed by Penelope Kim Designs, with ceilings up to 12 feet high, many with private terraces or balconies facing Manhattan.


A School That Knows Its ABC’s, and Its G for Green

PS/IS 338.

HOK

The New York office of HOK was commissioned by the School Construction Authority to design a new $52.5 million Public School/Intermediate School in South Jamaica, Queens. The 93,400-square-foot school is one of the first in the city built under the NYC Green Schools Rating System, and will accommodate approximately 625 students from Pre-K through eighth grade in 32 classrooms. The design scheme reflects the everyday activities experienced within the facility. In addition, the courtyard entrance will feature an outdoor kinetic art installation by artist Christopher Green. The school’s U-shaped form, complete with a welcoming court facing the street, will be defined by the five-story L-shaped Learning Block, filled with classrooms and a library, and the four-story Activities Block, housing the auditorium, gymnasium, and cafeteria. The two blocks will be distinctly patterned with vertical and horizontal symbols found in musical scores, geological strata, mathematics, science, and art. The interior walls and floors will integrate colorful linear strokes throughout. The school is scheduled to open in September 2011.


First “Green” Affordable Mixed-Use Project in the Garden State

Webb Apartments.

GF55

GF55 Partners has completed Webb Apartments, the first 100% affordable, “green,” mixed-use building in NJ. Located in the heart of the Martin Luther King, Jr. redevelopment zone in Jersey City, the 58,740-square-foot building is a public-private partnership between the State of New Jersey, the City of Jersey City, and developer Genesis Companies. The five-story building contains 40 housing units and 8,000 square feet of retail space, and incorporates bamboo floors, low VOC paints, and low SONE exhaust fans. Webb Apartments has received LEED-Silver certification.


A Passage Through India
Lee Harris Pomeroy Architects (LHPA) has been selected to design the new East-West Metro Railway in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), India. The new corridor will span 13.7 kilometers and include a tunnel under the Hoogly River. LHPA will be responsible for the design of six underground stations and for developing land use plans in the station areas. The project is part of a comprehensive initiative by the governments of India and West Bengal to modernize and expand its transportation system. Once completed, it will link suburban residential areas of Salt Lake and Howrah to the central business district. The new metro will connect with major rail terminals in Howrah and Sealdah, as well as an existing North-South metro line. Ferries, buses, surface rail, and taxis will also be accessible to the line. It will accommodate an estimated 480,000 passengers daily when fully completed in 2014. The firm’s other transit projects include the Union Square, MoMA, and Lincoln Center subway stations.