CFAF Tours the Metal Shutter House

Dean Maltz and tour group tour the Metal Shutter House.

Tim Hayduk

The Center for Architecture Foundation’s tour series New Buildings New York took 30 architecture enthusiasts to tour Shigeru Ban Architect’s Metal Shutter House. Jeff Spiritos, Spiritos Properties, and Dean Maltz, partner of Shigeru Ban Architects, organized the private tour.

The Metal Shutter House is an innovative addition to West 19th Street, taking its form and name from the metal shutters that are integrated into the design and reflect the warehouses-turned-galleries that are predominant in Chelsea. Maltz and Spiritos provided visitors with a detailed explanation about Shigeru Ban, FAIA’s design intent, as well as about the execution and construction of the project during the past six years. Guests also had the opportunity to tour the penthouse, with its two floor-to-ceiling bi-folding glass doors on either end of the living room façade, three bedrooms, four bathrooms, and approximately 3,300 square feet of interiors with 2,000 square feet of terraces and balconies.

The tour raised approximately $2,500 to help support the Foundation’s Programs@theCenter — interactive gallery tours and hands-on workshops designed to engage youth and families in contemporary topics about the built environment.

The Foundation would like to extend thanks to Maltz for volunteering his time to lead the tour, as well as to Spiritos for coordinating the event on behalf of the Foundation. More New Buildings New York tours are planned for 2011. Visit the Foundation’s website for information, or e-mail and request to be added to the mailing list.

Long Beach Says Hello to New Expressways… for Bikes

Recently the Long Beach City Council agreed to partner with Miami-based Decobike to implement NY State’s first bike share program. While it is a shame that the roll-out is expected to happen this fall — rather than during the high season of the summer — I am looking forward to seeing how the program develops. In addition to providing 400 bicycles to be dispersed among 20-30 solar-powered kiosks throughout the city, including the Long Beach LIRR station, Long Beach will also be creating new bike lanes to help facilitate the launch. It is reported that Decobike will be putting $1 million into the project, as well as paying for the costs of installing the new bike lanes over the next year.

Of course, it will be interesting to observe how the gas-guzzling tendencies of the locals will be balanced by the new initiative. Will the initial push to get the program off the ground be enough to sustain it until next summer when we will really be able to judge its success? Will its success be dependent on city-dwelling beach-goers in town for the weekend, or will Long Beach’s residents truly adopt the program and begin to change their habits? Most importantly, will this initiative be a litmus test for how similar programs will work in other locations throughout the state, including NYC?

I patiently wait for the day that a bike share program is available in the city. Janette Sadik-Khan hinted that we are close in her recent article in Slate (“Bridge-and-Tunnel Vision,” 08.08.11). And if both initiatives prove to be worth the investment, I hope it signals a much needed new phase in urban planning statewide.

The AIA has selected five students to receive the AIA/AAF Minority Disadvantaged Scholarship, including Nelson De Jesus Ubri at Parsons The New School for Design…

Architectural Digest named the top 10 colleges nationwide with the most architecturally significant campuses, citing works by NYC-based architects including Philip Johnson, FAIA, Paul Rudolph, Eero Saarinen, and Gordon Bunshaft, at Yale University; Diller Scofidio + Renfro at Brown University; Steven Holl Architects at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Pratt Institute, along with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; OMA and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners at Cornell University; and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects at Bennington College. Pratt Institute was the only NYC-based campus to be named…

Michael L. Marrella, AICP, who previously served as Manager of Environmental Planning for the Freshkills Park project and worked for AKRF, has been appointed as the Department of City Planning’s new Director of the Waterfront and Open Space Planning Division…

Dennis Belfiore, AIA, LEED AP, and Robert Woertendyke announced the creation of Belfiore + Woertendyke to pursue projects in the corporate interiors market… EYP Architecture & Engineering announced that Long Point Capital, a NY-based private equity group, acquired a minority interest in the privately-held firm…

Iannis Kandyliaris and Ilias Papageorgiou have been promoted to Associate Principals at SO–IL… Mancini Duffy promoted Yevgeniya Nikelberg to Senior Associate…

2011 OCULUS Editorial Calendar
If you are an architect by training or see yourself as an astute observer of New York’s architectural and planning scene, note that OCULUS editors want to hear from you! Projects/topics may be anywhere, but architects must be New York-based. Please submit story ideas by the deadlines indicated below to Kristen Richards:

2011 Themes:
Spring (President’s Theme): Design for a Change: Buildings, People, Energy

Summer: AIANY Design Awards 2011

Fall: Interior Activity

Winter: Up, Down, and Sideways: Density and Transportation
Density enabled by transportation: mass transit, cycling; Moynihan Station; Regional connections; Housing Authority: former purposeful disconnect, now reintegrating back into neighborhoods; How a century of New York skyscrapers has/is/will affect the architecture, planning, and culture of the city and the world.
Submit story ideas by 08.19.11

For further information, contact OCULUS Editor Kristen Richards:

08.25.11 Call for Submissions: Sustainability by Design: Meeting the 2030 Challenge!

08.26.11 Call for Entries: 2012 AIA Honor Awards

08.29.11 Request for Proposals: Venue for 2013 Solar Decathlon

09.08.11 Call for Entries: Center for Architecture + Design’s Architecture Is… Short Film Competition

09.15.11 Call for Applications: James Marston Fitch Mid-Career Grant

11.01.11 Call for Entries: Parks for the People: A Student Competition to Reimagine America’s National Parks

AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, was honored by the American Institute of Architects Council of Architectural Component Executives (CACE) with the 2011 Component Leadership Award at the CACE conference in Philadelphia.

(L-R): AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA; AIA Executive Vice President Robert Ivy, FAIA; AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA; CACE President Michael Waldinger.

Sara Ann Kay

08.13.11: The AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) co-hosted a potluck picnic on Governors Island. Teaming with the Design Trust for Public Space and arts organization FIGMENT, a smorgasbord of dishes completed a spread at the Burble Bup pavilion, designed by Bittertang, the winner of the FIGMENT/ENYA/SEAoNY City of Dreams Pavilion Competition.

Picnic-goers relaxed in the sun at the foot of Burble Bup listening to music provided by DJ Marvel.

Ernesto Martinez

An impromptu performance was presented by the Cocoon Project, a group founded by ENYA Member and recent Pratt Institute graduate Sherry Aliberti.

Ernesto Martinez

08.02.11: A press preview was held at the BMW Guggenheim LAB designed by Tokyo-based Atelier Bow-Wow.

Momoyo Kaijima, co-founder, Atelier Bow-Wow (left) and David van der Leer, Assistant Curator, Architecture and Urban Studies, Guggenheim Museum.

Linda G. Miller


Editor’s Note: There are just a couple more days to submit your work to the “New York New Work 2011 Subway Exhibition.” The deadline has been extended to 08.12.11. Click here for more information.

– Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP

OCULUS Correction: Please note that in the current issue of OCULUS (Summer 2011), the top left photo on p.23 of the interior of the C.V. Starr East Asian Library by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects should be credited to Michael Moran.

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

And check out the latest Podcasts produced by AIANY.

Center for Architecture Expands

The Center for Architecture is expanding! The American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) announced that, after almost eight years providing public programs and exhibitions about architecture and design, the Chapter is expanding its award-winning facility into the adjacent storefront at 532 LaGuardia Place.

“This is an historic day for not only the American Institute of Architects, but also for all in NYC who are passionate about architecture and what architects do to create sustainable and livable communities,” according to Margaret O’Donoghue Castillo, AIA, LEED AP, 2011 AIANY President and principal at Helpern Architects.

Each year since 2003, the Center for Architecture has presented more than 1,000 public programs and 20 exhibitions on subjects ranging from energy use in buildings to active design.

“With a growing interest from the international community — two current Center exhibitions focus on new work in São Paulo and new visions for Amsterdam and New York — our wonderfully forward-looking board felt that it was time to grow,” said AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA.

At the heart of the expansion plan is the local design community and the NY-based architects that AIANY represents and serves. The new design will be completed by Rogers Marvel Architects, and Associate Marta Sanders, AIA, expressed the firm’s delight to be working for a client consisting of almost 5,000 experts in its field: “The Center for Architecture is the place where the design community comes together — we are happy to help it reach even more people more effectively.”

Special events are planned for the new space, including the “Smart Living” exhibition opening in October, as well as additional meeting, gallery, and work space. As the Center expands, the Chapter is making it ever more clear that Design Matters!

With the Vision Clear, Now Comes the Toolkit for the Future

Event: PlaNYC Update 2011 Workshop: Growth Issues — Assumptions and Implications
Location: Center for Architecture, 07.29.11
Speakers: Katie Theis, AICP, LEED AP — Senior Planner, HNTB Corporation, & Chair, Urban Design Committee, New York Metro Chapter, American Planning Association; Stephen Whitehouse, RLA, AICP — Partner, Starr Whitehouse; Margaret Castillo, AIA, LEED AP — Principal, Helpern Architects & 2011 AIANY President
Moderator: Ernest W. Hutton, Jr., Assoc. AIA, FAICP — Principal, Hutton Associates/Planning Interaction, & Co-chair, New York New Visions
Organizers: New York New Visions; AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee; APA NY Metro Chapter; ASLA NY Chapter; Citizens Housing & Planning Council

Courtesy: PlaNYC

Three months after the unveiling of PlaNYC version 2.0, with its emphasis on achievable and affordable incremental improvements, members of professional and civic organizations discussed ways to sustain the plan’s momentum in an era when public sector funding is dropping and political contexts are shifting. The next few years will present demanding tests of “how much of PlaNYC can be incorporated into our DNA, and it becomes, if we all believe in it, part of NYC, [not] just a political thing that can be undone with the next mayor,” said 2011 AIANY President Margaret Castillo, AIA, LEED AP. Translating a planning document into an effective management toolkit, panelists claimed, can make the difference between a vision of a sustainable city — compelling but provisional — and a permanent reality of one.

Moderator Ernest Hutton, Assoc. AIA, FAICP, sorted strategies for managing population growth and appropriate development into three categories: creating housing capacity for a diverse demographic mix; expanding, revising, and operating the city’s parks so that they are both a public amenity and a functional component of the city’s infrastructure; and encouraging brownfield and waterfront development in ways that mesh with community needs, transit systems, and ecological imperatives. Specific goals within these policy areas frequently collide at the local level. American Planning Association (APA) representative Katie Theis, AICP, LEED AP, raised critical questions of policy integration and priorities. Everyone, she claimed, agrees the city needs more affordable housing, for example, and rapid remediation of the city’s 7,000 acres of brownfields is a major PlaNYC goal, but do these aims add up to a need for dense residential development on waterfront brownfield sites over a mile from the nearest subway stop?

As the waterfront, once dedicated to industry and shipping, attracts more recreational functions and offers the potential to expand the transportation system, the relative roles of large developers and smaller ones may need rethinking. John West, AIA, and other audience members raised important questions about infill development and bottom-up community involvement: perhaps a period of minimal public expenditure calls for more incentives directed toward small-scale, as-of-right construction in under-the-radar locations, rather than high-profile developments requiring concentrated investment.

Stephen Whitehouse, RLA, AICP, who served at the Parks Department for 13 years, described many of the nuts, bolts, silos, roadblocks, and incentives associated with city agencies. Rational policy coordination and resource allocation have long been “the bureaucrat’s dream,” he noted, and some of PlaNYC’s measures actually build on efforts initiated decades ago, like the original Greenstreets (a comprehensive traffic-calming strategy, before it morphed into a planting program). Yet control of budgetary streams by different offices (the mayor, borough presidents, and city council) militates against effective pursuit of sustainability objectives, which are always complex and interdisciplinary. Stormwater, he noted, pays no heed to jurisdictional boundaries: “it falls where it will, and it flows downhill.”

It behooves supporters of PlaNYC, the panelists agreed, to clarify its various benefits for public consumption. Theis hailed the marshaling of traffic-safety statistics by the Department of Transportation, Transportation Alternatives, and others in defense of Complete Streets projects, calling for similar evidence of its effects on local business. Castillo inquired whether the professional societies’ participation in elections, League of Conservation Voters-style, vetting candidates and engaging in voter education (though probably pulling up short of endorsements), might usefully raise the level of debate. Workshops like this one, Hutton suggested, could yield documents clarifying AIA/APA/ASLA positions and give the public better information about the long-range value of upgrading and maintaining the urban environment.

The Future: There's a Map for That

Event: Planning for the Future: Integrating Art & Architecture into a Digital Cultural Landscape
Location: Center for Architecture, 07.26.11
Speakers: Jason Kambitsis — Senior Planner of the City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning; Sherri Brueggemann — Manager, City of Albuquerque’s Public Art Program; Alexandros E. Washburn, AIA — Chief Urban Designer, New York City Department of City Planning
Moderator: William Menking — Founder and Editor-in-Chief, The Architect’s Newspaper
Organizers: Center for Architecture; cultureNOW; AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee
Sponsors: ABC-Imaging; Partners: Betaville-Brooklyn Experimental Media Center; Center for Urban Research — City University of New York; Google; New York Public Library; Spatial Information Design Lab — Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation at Columbia University; Wildlife Conservation Society; Tauranac Maps; The Environmental Simulation Center; Special Thanks: Dattner Architects; The Mohawk Group; Karastan

Computer models were overlaid with hand drawings to capture the vibrant spirit of Coney Island.

New York City Department of City Planning

As a fierce hurricane pummels NYC, a huge swell of water washes over much of Wall Street and Red Hook, doing even more damage than Katrina. This might sound like the plot of yet another disaster movie set in New York, but it’s actually the scenario in a digital animation created by the Office of Emergency Management.

These days, city planners and designers are increasingly turning to digital maps and other visualizations like this to portray what the future might hold for their cities, whether in times of disaster or opportunity. In a recent talk in a series tied to the exhibition “Mapping the Cityscape” , government officials from NYC, Pittsburgh, and Albuquerque discussed how such technologies are being used in their cities.

The hurricane animation involved GIS graphics based on SLOSH maps, explained Alex Washburn, AIA, chief urban designer in the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP). Another DCP project involved mapping the city’s food deserts. “City Planning has, and is accumulating, a tremendous store of GIS information,” Washburn remarked. “As the data gets finer and finer grained, you really can use it as a tool of inquiry to try to figure out what the problems are and where the problems are.”

In Pittsburgh, urban planners used GIS to figure out how many pieces of property would be covered under a new zoning ordinance for urban agriculture, said Jason Kambitsis, senior planner in that city’s Department of City Planning. On a lighter note, Sherri Brueggemann, manager of Albuquerque’s Public Art Program, proposed that the information in digital maps of UFO landings could be useful for city officials hoping to woo aliens as cultural tourists. “We know that they’re out there,” she said. “But where are they vacationing?”

Amidst all the discussion of digital technologies, Washburn reminded the audience of the importance of hand drawing, too, in creating effective visualizations of a place. A few years ago, to depict what Coney Island would look like under a proposed rezoning, designers in the DCP used computer models overlaid with colorful drawings to capture the vibrant spirit of the locale. “We try to use this combination of computer work and hand sketching to get to a point that is accurate enough spatially but loose enough to give a sensibility to a place,” Washburn explained, adding that he won’t hire anyone who can’t hand draw. Drawing by hand can “infuse a little bit of character into a view, to give you a sense of what it would feel like to be there,” he said.