09.29.09 Editor’s Note: I am thrilled to announce that, after a long series of trials and errors, the first AIANY podcast has been posted! Click the link to hear the HYBRID: Architecture and Planning Strategies for Renewable Cities event that took place at the Center for Architecture on 08.27.09. Stay tuned as we post more, including a one-on-one interview with Christian de Portzemparc to complement his series of talks at the Center on 09.29 and 09.30.09, organized by the AIANY Cultural Facilities Committee, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and La Maison Française – New York University.

As we are just launching podcasts, we want to hear from you about your thoughts. Please e-mail me with comments, criticisms, and suggestions at eoculus@aiany.org.

– Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

Note: The AIANY Marketing & PR Committee will be hosting an event 10.14.09 at the Haworth Showroom entitled, “Why to Blog, Text, and Tweet: Strategic Social Media for Design Firms.” The committee is soliciting questions for the panel, of which yours truly is one. Please e-mail Angelo Monaco at monaco@hausmanllc.com with your questions.

Note: Be sure to follow Tweets from e-Oculus and the Center for Architecture.

Museum Makes History, Below Ground Zero

Event: Preserving the Past While Building for the Future: Creating the National September 11 Memorial Museum
Location: Center for Architecture, 09.13.09
Speakers: Alice M. Greenwald — Director, National September 11 Memorial & Museum; Mark Wagner, AIA — Senior Associate, Davis Brody Bond Aedas; Michael Shulan — Creative Director, National September 11 Memorial & Museum
Moderator: Lance Jay Brown, FAIA
Organizers: AIANY; National September 11 Memorial & Museum
Sponsors: Lead Sponsors: Digital Plus; Faithful+Gould; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Sponsors: Associated Fabrication


National September 11 Memorial Museum.

Rendering by Thinc Design with Local Projects, courtesy national911memorial.org

Construction of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum has made significant progress over the last year, despite public criticism that not enough development has happened. It is difficult to see the extent of that progress since it is being built below ground. According to Mark Wagner, AIA, senior associate at Davis Brody Bond Aedas, “typically you don’t register progress at a construction site until the structural framing is above ground, casting shadows and changing the way you visually experience the streetscape. The memorial, an open street level plaza, and museum constructed below the plaza will never cast a shadow.”

Wagner has been actively involved with the development of the museum since shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While working at Voorsanger Architects, he was asked by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to go down to the “pit” and see what might make sense to save. As project architect for the World Trade Center Archive, he was given no agenda, but due to his efforts more than 1,000 artifacts exist and will find a home in the museum.

The mission of the museum is to tell the story, document responses, and memorialize the attacks in 2001, 1993, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, PA. For some, visiting the museum will be a pilgrimage. “The 9/11 site is somewhat unique in its juxtaposition of sacred space to profane space,” said panel moderator Lance Jay Brown, FAIA. Added Alice Greenwald, director of the museum, “The museum must be about the people. Nearly everyone has a 9/11 story — and we live in a post-9/11 world… We must remember, and remember well.”

Ground Zero is both an archaeological and a battlefield site. It stands alone, yet is a part of the city’s fabric. Taking up eight acres of the 16-acre site, the museum and memorial are stitched together underground with other projects — and every project is on a different schedule. When visitors descend a ramp that echoes the one used by workers during deconstruction and reconstruction, they will experience the 70-foot-high slurry wall and seven stories totaling 150,000 square feet of space below grade at bedrock that make up the footprints of the Twin Towers. Wagner explained that “the architecture is intentionally minimal” to maximize the visceral experience.

“The site will be used as a vehicle for storytelling,” said Michael Shulan, creative director for the museum and memorial. The organization has an unprecedented amount of original material, with portions of the Towers’ building envelope being the largest. He claimed that there will be no need for dioramas or recreations with artifacts such as the Survivors Staircase (concrete remnants of the stair leading to Vesey Street that was an escape route for hundreds of people fleeing the North Tower) and the 36-foot-tall steel column removed at the end of the recovery efforts. In addition to objects, there are real-time phone conversations, e-mails, cockpit recordings, voice recordings, and videos to share with the public. The museum has launched a new web initiative called “Make History,” calling for first-hand images or stories about the events and the aftermath.

To those who doubt that physical progress is being made, Wagner offered: “I encourage them to take ride on the PATH train, which passes through the site. These below-ground spaces are quickly taking form and it is exciting to see the progress in this raw state.”

To listen to excerpts of their conversation, go to the Podcasts website.

New Barclays Center Design Eyes Atlantic Yards

Event: A Conversation with the Architects of the Barclays Center
Brooklyn Borough Hall, 09.14.09
Speakers: William Crockett, AIA, LEED AP — Director of Sports Architecture, Ellerbe Becket; Gregg Pasquarelli, AIA — Founding Partner, SHoP Architects
Moderator: Rick Bell, FAIA — AIANY Executive Director
Organizer: Empire State Development Corporation; Center for Architecture


Barclays Center.

©SHoP; detail elevations by Seong Kwon Architects

“Where do the things in dreams go? Do they pass to the dreams of others?” asked Rick Bell, FAIA, quoting from Pablo Neruda during a recent talk on the new design of Barclays Center. A bit like dreams, memories of the sports-and-entertainment arena’s previous, rejected designs hovered over the proceedings: Gehry Partners’ glassy, circular design, which got scrapped for a more economical (and bland) version by Ellerbe Becket. SHoP recently joined up with Ellerbe Becket to create a sexier new design, the subject of the evening’s talk. If all goes according to plan, Barclays Center will one day be home to the Nets basketball team, and the building will be a prominent part of developer Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards, a controversial mixed-use complex in Brooklyn.

Judging by the presentation by SHoP’s Gregg Pasquarelli, AIA, and William Crockett, AIA, LEED AP, of Ellerbe Becket, the new design couples visual flair with an attention to scale and a transparency designed to make the structure seem welcoming, not overbearing. The architects described a prominent entrance plaza at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues leading to a glassy entryway that allows views straight into the arena, including glimpses of the scoreboard and a sports practice court. A canopy overhead is intended as a “grand civic gesture onto the plaza,” Pasquarelli said, adding, “It has a large oculus in the middle of it so that light can penetrate through. It’s more than 30 feet in the air, and it becomes this kind of way of seeing the building as you approach it from the west.”

To break down its mass, the building is composed of three horizontal bands. (See “SHoP Architects Joins the Nets Design Team,” In The News, e-Oculus, 09.15.09.) An intricate steel latticework helps, too: it casts shadows during the day, making the building seem less bulky. By night, the latticework will be softly lit from inside, creating a distinctive pattern of glowing lights. (Attendees were able to check out the effect in a model.)

Some questions about the project remained unanswered. Eliciting grumbles from community activists who oppose Atlantic Yards, Bell chose not to allow questions pertaining to the process surrounding the complex, explaining that the session’s purpose was to focus purely on the new design. And while the architects explained many specifics of that design, just how the arena will be integrated with the complex’s future towers remains shrouded in mystery. During the Q&A, one audience member asked what would happen to the oculus if another building slated for that spot were constructed in the future. Pasquarelli replied that the whole canopy might be removed or extended, or perhaps new escalators or elevators could even go through the oculus. As time goes by, it will be interesting to see just how this project — and the opposition surrounding it — plays out.

Sustainable Mobility Rolls On, Dutch Style

Event: New Amsterdam Bike Slam Symposium: Global Trends in Sustainable Mobility
Location: Center for Architecture, 09.11.09
Speakers: Rick Bell, FAIA — Executive Director, AIANY; Eric Niehe — Ambassador, Netherlands Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and project leader, NY400; Walter Hook, Ph.D. — Executive Director, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy; Willem de Jager — Director of Sustainable Mobility, RABO Bank, Amsterdam; Paul Steely White — Executive Director, Transportation Alternatives (moderator/speaker); Heather Allen — Senior Manager for Sustainable Development, Union International Transport Public; Ruth Oldenziel — Professor, Eindhoven University of Technology; Eric van der Kooij — Spatial Planner, City of Amsterdam; Christopher O. Ward — Executive Director, Port Authority of NY and NJ; Janette Sadik-Khan — Commissioner, NYC Department of Transportation; Pieter de Haan — Traffic Psychologist, Institute for Shared Space; Herman Gelissen — Public Bicycles OV Fiets; Arjen Jaarsma — Balancia; Jeff Olson, Alta Planning; Pascal van der Noort — Velo Mondial (moderator/speaker)
Moderators: Paul Steely White — Executive Director, Transportation Alternatives; Karen Overton — Catalyst Coordinator, Partnerships for Parks, and founder, Recycle-a-Bicycle; Caroline Samponaro — Director of Bicycle Advocacy, Transportation Alternatives; Andy Clarke — Executive Director of American Bicyclists LAB; Nazli Parvizi — Commissioner, Community Assistance Unit, Mayor’s Office, NYC; Pascal van der Noort — Velo Mondial
Organizers & Sponsors: Transportation Alternatives, NYC; Velo Mondial, Amsterdam
Cosponsors: AIANY Transportation and Infrastructure Committee


Two-hundred orange bicycles were available free to the public for NY400. Later this year, most of the bikes will be donated to Recycle-A-Bicycle. The rest will be auctioned to the public, supporting a charitable cause.

Richard Koek, courtesy ny400.org

The 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s arrival provides the occasion for Dutch-American cultural exchange — and, as diplomat Eric Niehe said, not only celebrating but also publicly investing in future relations, fostering a common cosmopolitan environment of entrepreneurship and tolerance. Along with the gifts of 200 orange bikes and a Ben van Berkel/UNStudio-designed pavilion at the Battery, plus a competition between planning/design teams to imagine ways to make New York bike-friendlier (won by Team Amsterdam’s combination of Dutch city planners and American designers), this all-day symposium gave architects, planners, public officials, scholars, and activists a chance to trade ideas about combining infrastructure, culture, and public education to build an environment that citizens gladly navigate on two wheels.

The Dutch love bicycling, but not just because their land is flat, because of some aversion to obesity, or because their practical modern design prizes qualities associated with bikes (energy efficiency, health). Like other industrial nations, the Netherlands went through a period in the mid-20th century when bike use was declining; reviving a flagging bike culture took conscious effort. From the 1970s onward, public and private officials have made a bike renaissance a priority, and today the nation has more bikes than people.

RABO Bank’s Willem de Jager reported that many leading Dutch corporations have jointly agreed to remove 10% of the cars from the rush-hour roads. Taking a bottom-up, voluntary approach and embracing alternative transportation (bikes, walking, and public transit), flexible hours, telecommuting, encouraging employees to work closer to home, and greened-up corporate vehicle fleets, these firms have not only made a dent in congestion levels costing roughly $7 billion annually in lost productivity and health expenses; they’ve become more desirable employers. Balancia’s mobility consultant Arjen Jaarsma emphasized that there is no such thing as cycling planning in isolation; it is part of an integrated approach to traffic safety, legal/regulatory mechanisms, air-quality policy, and related concerns. Sustainable mobility, Velo Mondial’s Pascal van der Noort summed up, needs a political choice for a long-term balance among “emission-rich, emission-poor, and emission-free” modes of movement. “The car with petroleum,” he said, “remains in the 20th century.”

Surprise appearances by the Port Authority’s Chris Ward and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan ensured that local visions weren’t overshadowed by the Dutch experience: Ward ventured several ambitious predictions about ways New York’s infrastructure may adapt to a future where intellectual and cultural production, not the troubled finance industry, is likely to be the region’s chief driver of economic growth. Sadik-Khan recounted the city’s widely emulated recent achievements in transforming streets from vehicular corridors to spaces for people, earning applause from the audience by declaring, “I don’t look at biking as alternative transportation. I look at it as transportation, period.”

This philosophy is well-aligned with the Netherlands’ low-key, utilitarian bike culture, which treats bikes as a matter-of-fact transport-mode choice by members of the whole population. As global bike-culture hero Gil Peñalosa (Bogotá parks commissioner and brother of mayor Enrique) has said on a number of occasions, cycling facilities are adequate only if they are safe enough for eight-year-olds and 80-year-olds. The predominantly male, risk-tolerant riders who were out in force at Sunday’s NYC Century Ride bring enormous energy to local sustainable-mobility efforts, but they cannot be the sole constituency for urban cycling infrastructure if New York is to reach Dutch levels of non-automotive mode share. We’ll need more protected lanes, practical bikes suited to moms rather than messengers, efficient and affordable bike-rental programs like the smart-card-based OV Fiets system, ample secure bike parking (the 2009 Bicycle Access Bill being a good start), and law enforcement against vehicular violence (the Dutch legal approach, several panelists mentioned, recognizes all users’ equal right to the roads and protects the most vulnerable by presuming motorists are at fault in auto-bike crashes).


Architecture Schools Struggle to Prepare Students for a Rapidly Changing Profession

Event: Deans’ Roundtable and Exhibition Opening: “Arch Schools 2009: Visions of The Future”
Location: Center for Architecture, 09.17.09
Speakers: George Ranalli, AIA — Dean, City College of New York; Mark Wigley — Dean, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation; Anthony Vidler — Dean, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science & Art; Urs Gauchat, Hon. AIA — Dean, New Jersey Institute of Technology; Judy DiMaio, AIA — Dean, New York Institute of Technology; William Morrish — Dean, Parsons, The New School for Design; Thomas Hanrahan, AIA — Dean, Pratt Institute; Stan Allen, AIA — Dean, Princeton University; Evan Douglis — Dean, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Marilyn Jordan Taylor, FAIA — Dean, University of Pennsylvania;
Moderator: Robert Campbell, FAIA — Architecture Critic, Boston Globe
Organizers: Center for Architecture

“There is a perception that the world of architectural teaching and the world of architectural practice are changing more rapidly now than they usually do,” said Robert Campbell, FAIA, architecture critic for the Boston Globe, in his introduction to the AIANY’s fifth annual Deans’ Roundtable. In recent years, he posited, students have become far more diverse in terms of nationality, ethnicity, and economic background, and have grown increasingly concerned with environmental and social responsibility. Rapid technological progress has led to significant changes in many curricula and created a widening gap in computational prowess between students and instructors. At the same time, lines have blurred between traditionally distinct disciplines such as architecture, urban planning, and landscape design. While the ten assembled deans accepted Campbell’s general assessment of the issues facing architecture schools, their interpretations of the specific nature of the changes taking place differed, as did their thoughts about how to respond.

One of the liveliest debates centered on technology. Several speakers claimed that hand drawing was a fundamental part of architectural education; but others, such as Princeton’s Stan Allen, AIA, said it was time to move on. “I think we can talk about certain fundamental ideas of spatial imagination — the ability to think three-dimensionally, an understanding of projection systems, and so on — that belong historically to the culture of drawing…. you can get at all of that in a much more sophisticated, and, I actually think, faster, way through computation.”

Columbia University GSAPP’s Mark Wigley agreed with Allen, calling the hand-vs.-computer debate “unbelievably reactionary and unnecessary.” However, he expressed confidence that the wide diversity of educational philosophies and approaches found in different schools augured well for the future of the profession. “One of the great things about schools of architecture in the U.S. is that they’re all so different, and that to some extent they’ve managed to resist the forces of standardization.”

Art And/Or Architecture?

Event: TOWARD “ANARCHITECTURE”: A Conversation between Architects and Artists
Location: Center for Architecture, 09.16.09
Speakers: Joe MacDonald — Founder Urban A&O; Mark Foster Gage — Principal Gage/Clemenceau Architects; David Marcus Abir — Artist & Composer; Alex Amini — Artist; Ula Einstein — Artist
Moderator: Farnaz Mansuri, Assoc. AIA — Principal, de-spec
Organizer: AIANY New Practices Committee

In the past, architects designed by sketching and making models — a hands-on approach similar to that of a traditional artist. Now, architects employ technologically advanced software and materials that allow them to create ever more sculptural spaces, challenging the notion of what constitutes a building. The line between art and architecture seems more blurred than ever — or is it? In the early 1970s, Gordon Matta-Clark formed the Anarchitecture Group, seeking to push the boundaries of architecture. In the same spirit, the AIANY New Practices Committee gathered a group of artists and architects to discuss whether there is a middle ground between the two fields.

Artist and composer David Marcus Abir borrows materials and building systems from architecture for his installations. “Tekrar,” a sound installation for The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT, was organized with angled walls to emulate the structure of the human ear. To produce a multi-sensory experience in his work, he uses “light and shadow to create or expand a physical space.”

Similarly, the work of artist Ula Einstein expresses spatial qualities. For “A Plan for Her,” she collected architectural drawings found on the street, added her own markings, and cut them into strips, that she wove through a found rack. “I’m influenced by windows and openings,” she explains, which is evident in her sculpture titled windows: rolls of paper are set on end like miniature skyscrapers, with openings rhythmically sliced along the surfaces.

Alex Amini, an architect-turned-artist, creates abstract drawings using ink on mylar and enamel on cardboard, among other media. His architectural background is evident in his work, but he prefers to make spontaneous lines as opposed to the “forceful lines” in architectural drawings. Amini also appreciates the autonomy of being an artist, explaining, “The most painful part of being an architect is having to hand off your work to someone else to build.”

Conceptual architecture, however, avoids this quandary. Joe MacDonald, founder of the architecture firm Urban A&O, is exploring several “client-less” projects such as the Bone Wall and the Cairo Tower. MacDonald is able to indulge his preoccupation with pattern by transforming two-dimensional geometries into three-dimensional structures via the modeling software CATIA. The resulting forms appear more sculptural and less inhabitable.

Architectural firm Gage/Clemenceau is known for fluid, ethereal designs, but partner Mark Foster Gage said, “I don’t think what we’re doing is art.” He believes there is a strong distinction between art and architecture, and that blurred boundaries are rare. While interior and exterior surfaces offer opportunities for creativity, architects must “stuff what’s between with plumbing.” Moderator Farnaz Mansuri, Assoc. AIA, countered that some installations take the function out of architecture, citing Gage/Clemenceau’s Valentine to Times Square as an example. Apparently art and architecture, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder.

Awards of the State

“I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis, and I don’t deserve that either,” once quipped comedian Jack Benny. At the recent Rochester convocation of AIA New York State, 41 design awards, four student awards, and 12 service and achievement awards were conferred at two gala ceremonies. The acceptance speeches sounded like silent movies. To keep things moving, there were no opportunities for award winners at either event to thank clients, colleagues, collaborators, co-workers, co-habitators or, even, architectural photographers.

The 2009 Design Awards evening on Thursday, 09.24.09, was opened by AIA New York State President Burton Roslyn, AIA, who said that the purpose of the awards was “to celebrate design achievement and generate greater public interest…. That 41 were selected from a record number of 310 design submissions,” he declared, “is a tribute to the diligent work of the design jury, headed by Design Award Jury Chair Charles Matta, FAIA, the Director of Federal Buildings and Modernizations in the Office of the Chief Architect at GSA.” Sounding a sour note, AIA Rochester 2009 President Robert A. Healy, AIA, complained from the lectern that all 41 awards were won, this year, by NYC-based firms. Roslyn engaged in the debate by replying that the competition was anonymous, entries were unmarked, and the jurors were not aware of the location of the office of the project authors.

Matta, taking the stage, also complimented the hard work and difficult decisions of his jury colleagues, Alan H. Cobb, FAIA, VP, Director of Design, Architecture and Sustainability, Albert Kahn Associates; Tom S. Howorth, FAIA, President, Howorth & Associates Architects; Mark Robbins, Dean, Syracuse University School of Architecture; and Judith E. Bergtraum, Vice Chancellor for Facilities Planning, Construction and Management, City University of New York. But he observed that “the number of projects is indicative of the economic boom in place until 2008” implicitly raising the question of what we will see next year.

For attendees there was no Emmy or Tony suspense — award-winners had been notified in advance, and programs nicely printed. Nonetheless, a few award winners were surprisingly absent from the proceedings, which many in the room found to be unfortunate and disrespectful. Happily, many distinguished practitioners including Rick Cook, AIA, stepped up to the lectern; Cook + Fox garnered three design awards for projects as diverse as 401 West 14th Street, 11 Christopher Street, and the Center for Friends Without a Border in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Sylvia Smith, FAIA, of FXFOWLE Architects, was there to receive design awards for the Lion House Reconstruction at the Bronx Zoo and the lean reconstruction of Alice Tully Hall in Manhattan, achieved in concert with Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The Best in New York State Award was given to the four firms who together made possible the TKTS Booth and Revitalization of Father Duffy Square; Choi Ropiha (concept architects), Perkins Eastman (design architects), William Fellows Architects/PKSB (plaza architects), and Bresnan Architects (preservation architects) admirably shared the acclaim for this transformational project. One Perkins Eastman rep, standing on the podium next to PKSB’s (and AIANY 2009 President) Sherida Paulsen, FAIA, even decked out in a kilt for the occasion.

Many younger and emerging architects were present to accept their awards and the accolades of their peers. These included Philip Wu, who received an award of excellence for a project at 39 East 13th Street, and Jolie Kerns of Toshiko Mori Architect, who designed a Newspaper Café in Jinhua City, China, which also received an excellence award.

What we missed in speeches, we regained in the beauty of the winning project images, projected through Powerpoint, the 21st century equivalent of a camera obscura — a darkened chamber in which the real image of an object is received through a small opening or lens.

The Honor Awards ceremony, held at George Eastman House and sponsored by Zetlin & DeChiara, took place on Friday, 09.25.09, and was equally short and sweet. The quick pace allowed those in the audience to subsequently mingle with the honorees while touring the National Register house and the generous reception in the adjacent International Museum of Photography. AIANY Chapter members also won the lion’s share of these awards. The downstate prevalence was, again, the elephant in the room. AIANY Chapter members honored included Venesa Alicea, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP (Intern/Associate Award), Abby Suckle, FAIA (Fellows Award), Leevi Kiil, FAIA (President’s Award), and Anthony Vidler (Educator’s Award). The Firm of the Year was conferred upon Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, and one of the Student Awards went to Jackie Delsandro of Parsons, The New School of Design, School of Constructed Environments. A complete list of AIANYS Design, Honor, and Student Awards, will be posted on AIANYS’s website soon. Design matters and service was honored.

AIA Offers Health Care Advice

When the AIA stopped offering an endorsed group health insurance plan for members, many individuals and employers — particularly sole practitioners — were left to fend for themselves, wading through the many convoluted options for health care benefits. This week, the AIANY Member Services Committee announced a short list of brokerage firms that have expressed interest in working with AIA and Assoc. AIA members to meet their health care needs. According to the announcement, the Member Services Committee felt that with the NYC market, it would benefit members “to have access to more comprehensive no-cost, no obligation services, and personalized guidance through the health insurance industry in NYC.” With office sizes in a constant state of flux these days, having a broker to call and ask for advice can only help navigate the system. It could benefit businesses, employers, and employees.

The selected firms are the result of both personal recommendations and an interview process held by the committee — a process that has been discussed for years but began solidifying in March, according to AIANY Director of Member Services Suzanne Mecs. Each firm has an intricate knowledge about the many insurance company plans, and can help guide members to the most comprehensive plans at the best possible price. The shortlist includes:

– Charles D.F. Cohn, CLU ChFC; AXA Advisors, LLC, Charles.Cohn@axa-advisors.com
– Fredi Cohen, Fredi Cohen Benefit Solutions, fredi@fredicohenbenefits.com
– Michael H. Yates, Premium Benefit Planning, michael@premiumbenefit.com
– Eric T. Ling, MBA and Steven Skover, Planning Center for Professionals, eling@htk.com

On Thursday, 10.01.09, 8:30-10:00AM, the Center for Architecture will host an informational session for Chapter members may to the brokers. Click here to RSVP.

There may or may not be universal health care as we would like to see it in the future, but at least members now have a place to go for advice.

In this issue:
· CCNY Architecture Students Inhabit New Home
· Cooper Union Morphs Three Schools into One
· Pediatric Emergency Services Cater to Children
· Tram Terminal Will Light Way to Roosevelt Island
· Ode to Poetry
· Developer Lends Land For Public Art
· Zinc Goes Green for Prototype Villa
· Five Teams Short-Listed for Basque Country Master Plan
· Calatrava’s New Rail Station Realized (in Liege, Belgium)

CCNY Architecture Students Inhabit New Home


Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture at City College of New York.

Rafael Viñoly Architects

The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture at City College of New York officially opened last week, a few blocks south of its former home in Shepard Hall. The 135,000-square-foot facility, designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, houses administrative offices, classrooms, exhibition space, an architectural library, design studios, faculty offices, a model shop, and a rooftop open-air amphitheater. The original Modernist, glass-block building designed and constructed as a library in the late 1950s, was gut-renovated, preserving only the structure of reinforced concrete columns and floor slabs. The exterior is now clad in pre-cast concrete with light shelves. Oriented vertically on the east and west façades, and horizontally on the south, aluminum louvers are designed to balance outward views and maximize shading. The open-air amphitheater overhangs the atrium. The central atrium brings daylight down to the ground floor, and incorporates intersecting steel staircases and pedestrian bridges. Faculty offices look over the open-plan design studios that take advantage of the natural light along the perimeter.

Cooper Union Morphs Three Schools into One


41 Cooper Square.


The recent ribbon cutting ceremony at 41 Cooper Square, designed by Morphosis with associate architect Gruzen Samton, marked a defining moment in Cooper Union’s 150-year historyand its goal to create an iconic building that reflects the institutions values. The nine-story, 175,000-square-foot building houses the Albert Nerken School of Engineering and Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, along with student and teaching studios and common spaces that serve the School of Art and the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. Conceived as a vehicle to foster collaboration and cross-disciplinary dialogue among the college’s three schools previously housed in separate buildings, state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, studios, and public spaces have replace more than 40% of the college’s academic space.

The building itself is symbolically open to the city. Visual transparencies and accessible public spaces connect the institution to the physical, social, and cultural fabric of its urban context. Built to LEED Gold standards, the facility will be the first LEED-certified academic laboratory building in NYC. Technologies such as radiant heating and cooling ceiling panels, an operable building skin of perforated stainless-steel panels offset from a glass-and-aluminum window wall, a full-height atrium, a green roof, and a cogeneration plant make the facility 40% more energy efficient than a standard building of its type. In addition, flexible laboratories, studios, and classrooms are designed with renewable, recycled, and low-emission materials that will accommodate pedagogical objectives and research activities. The project team for the new academic building includes owner’s representative Jonathan Rose Companies, and construction manager F.J. Sciame.

Pediatric Emergency Services Cater to Children


Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York (MSCHONY).

Davis Brody Bond Aedas

Davis Brody Bond Aedas (DBBA) and New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital (MSCHONY) recently broke ground on the new Alexandra and Steven Cohen Pediatric Emergency Department in the Washington Heights. The $50 million project will be located within the Children’s Central Building and in the existing shell of the Children’s Bed Tower. DBBA designed the new department after collaborating with Poltronieri Tang to complete a feasibility study and program development. Occupying 30,070 gross square feet, the building will create 29 treatment bays and two trauma bays, radiology and CT-ready suites, a pharmacy, orthopedic and cast procedure rooms, negatively- and positively-pressured isolation rooms, and a mechanical system that affords department-wide isolation and purge capabilities in the event of airborne catastrophic or infectious event. The scale of the new pediatric emergency department will ensure an intimate and nurturing environment for its young patients. Both clinical and public spaces will display full-height images taken from children’s literature, and various waiting rooms integrate intimate family reading areas, a multimedia/interactive wall, and game kiosks. Completion is scheduled for summer of 2011.

Tram Terminal Will Light the Way to Roosevelt Island


Manhattan Terminal at night.

Courtesy BL Companies Architecture

BL Companies Architecture plans to transform the Manhattan Tram Terminal to Roosevelt Island, operated by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, by incorporating lightness and movement. The transportation hub design will replace the metal roof with thin sheets of sloped, translucent polycarbonate — a material that will provide soft diffused day lighting, reduce energy consumption, reduce the heat island effect, and limit evening light pollution. The waiting platform will be similarly covered with polycarbonate. Partially glazed walls and motorized doors will provide further protection from the elements. The undersides of each roof will be comprised of energy efficient lighting and offer a warm, low-intensity glow. On the Roosevelt Island side, the tram station’s exterior metal cladding will remain intact, except that the metal siding flanking both sides of the platform will be removed. The waiting platform will be enlarged and partially enclosed, and will also include translucent polycarbonate roofing, glazed walls, and soft, indirect lighting.

Ode to Poetry


Poets House.

Elizabeth Felicella, courtesy http://www.puertopasajes.net/fotografias_puerto_pasajes.php?lang=es

The Poets House, a poetry library and literary center designed by Louise Braverman Architect, recently opened in its new home at Ten River Terrace in Battery Park City. The 11,000-square-foot space is located on the ground and second floors and contains a reading room that will house a 50,000+-volume collection, a whimsical children’s room, and a programming hall where leading poets will recite their works. Designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, the space features insulation made of recycled blue jeans, lights that adjust based on natural daylight levels, low-flow lavatories, wind and hydro-electric power, and building materials that are recycled or manufactured locally. Landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburg designed the outdoor amphitheater. In 2004, the organization received approval from the Battery Park City Authority to build a new library at the base of the Polshek Partnership-designed Riverhouse condo tower, and signed a 60-year, rent-free lease agreement in 2007. Poets House estimates that over the course of its new lease, it will save about $60 million, which will now to go programs and services.

Developer Lends Land For Public Art



Courtesy LMCC

Trinity Real Estate has donated 37,000 square feet, or one square block, of vacant, undeveloped space between Canal, Grand, Sullivan, and Varick Streets to the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) for approximately three years (or until the market picks up) for public art exhibitions. The recently-opened LentSpace, designed by Interboro Architects (a winner of a 2006 AIANY New Practices Award), is curated by Adam Kleinman of the LMCC. The project features a tree nursery that provides shade while incubating street trees to be planted throughout the downtown neighborhood at a later date. A custom, operable fence encourages a variety of social encounters; incorporating benches for seating, the fence also acts as a support for the end-to-end graphic design commission that repurposes its façade. These two elements frame a central event space, and when walking across the east/west axis, visitors pass through three zones with unique spatial engagements. The encounters continue after exiting the lot, as LentSpace is bookended with Juan Pablo Duarte Square, creating a larger network of open space. The inaugural exhibition features three distinct but inter-connected programs. “Points & Lines” presents seven art installations that each refer to issues of “boundary” in relation to LentSpace’s identity as both host and guest. “end-to-end” and “Late Editions” are parts of a series of print-media based reviews of the space and exhibition by artists and architects.

Zinc Goes Green for Prototype Villa


Libeskind Villa

Studio Daniel Libeskind

Studio Daniel Libeskind has unveiled the prototype of the Libeskind Villa, the first in a series of signature homes. The residence has been built in Datteln, Germany, at the headquarters of Rheinzink, the developer of the villa’s zinc façade. A trio of interlocking architectural bands envelops the angular villa; the asymmetrical interior has spiraling, two-story peaks and smooth transitions to secluded terraces. Design details include: a balcony adjacent to the master bedroom with elaborate metalwork; light wells that direct daylight into a sauna; and recessed wardrobes that streamline dressing spaces. The villa is largely constructed of wood, with a wooden core that offers maximum thermal insulation and efficient operation. In addition, the insulation of the exterior walls matches that of passive houses. The home employs onsite renewable energy sources including a solar thermal system invisibly integrated into the zinc façade, as well as a geothermal system with a high-efficiency heat pump. Electric power may be generated from photovoltaic thin film, and rainwater can be harvested from the roof for use in the garden’s irrigation system. The project complies with many of the world’s energy-saving standards, including Germany’s KfW40 code. The project has been realized in partnership with Berlin-based company proportion.

Five Teams Shortlisted for Basque Country Master Plan
Five design teams, out of 47 that applied, were short-listed to develop proposals for a new master plan that will regenerate the area surrounding the Bay of Pasaia in the Basque Country of northern Spain. NY-based Balmori Associates in collaboration with Dutch firm S333 Architecture + Urbanism will compete with four other international teams led by Zaha Hadid, West 8, KCAP, and Ezquiaga, of the UK, Holland, and Spain, respectively. The Province of Gipuzkoa has created the Gipzukoa Aurrera for the development of strategic projects, and has organized the competition to plan an outer harbor for the bay between 2011 and 2020. In spite of the physical limitations specific to the bay and the fact that it does not have a bulk liquid handling dock, current port activity moves an annual cargo of around five million tons, which contributes approximately 1.8% to the domestic product of Gipuzkoa. Other challenges include the bay’s relationship with the existing urban centers, which belong to four different municipalities.

Calatrava’s New Rail Station Realized (in Liege, Belgium)


Liège-Guillemins high-speed rail station.

Santiago Calatrava

The new high-speed rail station at Liège-Guillemins, Belgium, designed by Santiago Calatrava, has opened. The architect was first commissioned to design the station in 1996 after Euro Liege TGV determined that the existing station was unsuitable for the demands of high-speed rail travel. Calatrava was required to replace the existing station without interrupting train service for the 36,000 daily riders. Envisioning a building that would reflect the new station’s significance as a high-speed, inter-urban link through Europe’s cities, Calatrava designed a structure “without façades” with a glass-and-steel vaulted roof that stretches over five working platforms. The result is a station designed to symbolize the city’s renewal and provide shorter travel times to Aachen, Cologne, and Brussels, as well as to Frankfurt, Paris, London, and the Southern portions of Europe, which are now only a few hours away.

In this issue:
· Preview: Architecture Week

Every year, the Center for Architecture hosts a week-long celebration of the best in architecture and design. This year’s programs include two exhibition openings, an international design competition jury, and presentations by Heritage Ball honorees Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Robert Silman, Adrian Benepe, and the Make it Right Foundation. The week culminates in the Heritage Ball, a black-tie event on 10.08.09 to support the many initiatives of AIANY, the Center for Architecture, and the Center for Architecture Foundation.

All programs take place at the Center for Architecture, are open to the public; admission is free unless otherwise noted. For more information, visit the Architecture Week website.

Monday, 10.05.09, 9-11AM
Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Recipient of the AIA New York President’s Award
Design, the Arts and Everything Else

Join the principals of Diller Scofidio + Renfro for a conversation about the High Line, Alice Tully Hall, and other notable projects.

Monday, 10.05.09, 6-8PM
Robert Silman, PE, Hon. AIA
Recipient of the AIA New York Chapter Award
Technology and Values in Architectural Form

Structural Engineer Robert Silman will converse with historian and architecture critic Kenneth Frampton of Columbia University to explore the relationship between technology and architecture and the effect this relationship has on the development of architectural form.

Tuesday, 10.06.09, 9-11AM
Commissioner Adrian Benepe
Recipient of the Center for Architecture Award
Parks, Play and People

Custodian of 2.5 million trees, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe has emerged as a design catalyst in the Bloomberg Administration. Hear him speak about parks for people.

Tuesday, 10.06.09, 6-8PM
Exhibition Opening: Context/Contrast: New Architecture in Historic Districts

“Context/Contrast” asks how the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s charge of ensuring “appropriate” new architecture in historic districts has allowed neighborhoods to evolve without endangering the essential character that contributes to their public value and makes them worth protecting.

Wednesday, 10.07.09, 6-7PM
Exhibition Opening: New York Now

AIANY and the Center for Architecture take over the West 4th Street subway station with an exhibition that presents the scope and quality of work being done by Chapter members in NYC today. (Exhibition may be viewed 10.01-31.09 in W. 4th St. Subway Station’s South End, Reception at the Village Trattoria, 135 West 3rd St)

Thursday, 10.08.09, 9-11AM
Make It Right Foundation
Recipient of the Center for Architecture Foundation Award
Make It Right: From Concept to Community

A talk and presentation by Make It Right Executive Director Tom Darden will trace the genesis and evolution of Make It Right’s work to provide green, affordable, storm-resistant family homes for residents of New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. Special emphasis will be placed upon the involved architects and their groundbreaking designs.

Thursday, 10.08.09, 6-9PM
Heritage Ball

Architects, designers, friends, and industry professionals join together for the annual AIANY and Center for Architecture Foundation black-tie event, which celebrates the tradition of design excellence. This year, with Dinner Chair Laurie Beckelman, Hon. AIA, we honor Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Robert Silman, PE, Hon. AIA, Commissioner Adrian Benepe, and the Make It Right Foundation. Tickets start at $750, with half tables from $5,000, and can be purchased at aiany.org/heritageball.

Thursday, 10.08.09, Evening
Announcement: Stage I Jury of urbanSHED International Design Competition

urbanSHED, a competition sponsored by the NYC Department of Buildings and AIANY, challenges the global design community to rethink New York’s sidewalk shed with a mind for safety, sustainability, and pedestrian experience. The three finalist teams, who will continue on to the second phase of the competition, and several honorable mention awards, will be announced at the Heritage Ball.

Thursday, 10.08.09, 9PM-2AM

This Heritage Ball after-party, which features music, drinks, and dancing, packs the Center for Architecture late into the night. Guests must be 21 years or older to attend. Tickets are $25 in advance, $40 at the door, and can be purchased at aiany.org/partyatthecenter.

Saturday, 10.10.09 & Sunday, 10.11.09, 11AM-3PM
7th Annual openhousenewyork Weekend & Family Festival

The Center for Architecture will serve as headquarters for openhousenewyork. Families are invited to drop in and enjoy family-friendly activities offered by the Center for Architecture Foundation, openhousenewyork, and other participating OHNY sites. On Sunday, the AIANY Emerging NY Architects Committee (ENYA) will also be hosting tours of their international design ideas competition site, Highbridge, Bronx. View the full openhousenewyork schedule at http://www.ohny.org.