NYC Maps Tomorrow's Risks Today

Event: Mapping Risks
Location: Center for Architecture, 07.21.11
Panelists: Dave LaShell — Senior Account Executive, Environmental Systems Research Institute; Dorothy Nash — Senior Associate, Geospatial Technologies, Office of Emergency Management; Alan Leidner — Northeast Regional Information Exchange Broker, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Moderator: Illya Azaroff, AIA, LEED AP — Assistant Professor, New York City College of Technology & Co-chair, AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee
Organizers: Center for Architecture; cultureNOW; AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction 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

The Office of Emergency Management tracks all forms of potential disaster.

Office of Emergency Management

The numbers are striking. Approximated by the United Nations and Doctors Without Borders, in 2010 alone, 50 million people worldwide have been displaced due to natural disasters, and 42 million have been displaced as a result of manmade disasters. By 2020, the total estimate comes to more than 200 million. It is with the aid of new mapping tools that we can track potential risks and preventative measures beyond past cartographic methods. Architects, urban planners, designers, engineers, sociologists, and archeologists can all contribute to mapping the potential risk of an area as they have the ability to pull together information from hundreds of databases and on-site research.

One of the city’s main hubs of information is the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), a “small agency, big mission”, said Dorothy Nash, a senior associate of geospatial technologies at the OEM. The organization is responsible for a 24/7 “watch alert” system to respond and report any abnormal circumstances in the city. Whether it is high heat effects or a public event requiring a representative to be on site, the OEM uses GIS maps to monitor everything, including the number of 311 calls, tracking sewage paths and public waterways, and to alert public management agencies about notable events. It is unlikely there is an area above or below ground that OEM does not cover or reference on its maps.

As U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Alan Leidner put it as “GIS is the DNA of government.” It is a system that takes national, city, town, and street information and relates them to each other. Hundreds of pieces of information are organized and mapped. Perhaps the best example of the effectiveness of GIS is 9/11. A week prior to the disaster, the base map of NYC’s infrastructure was tracked by just one part-time employee. After 9/11, the effort multiplied tenfold. Reports were pouring in by the hundreds, and only with the efforts of volunteers from public and private sectors was it possible to pull together the means of specialized maps for specific emergency needs within hours of the request. GIS is carving the path in which we communicate as a community, and it is becoming a necessity for assessing preventative measures — the halo of risk management.

ABCD's of Design

Event: Disegno: Composition and Drawing at the Core of Italian Renaissance Art
Location: Center for Architecture, 07.28.11
Speaker: Linda Wolk-Simon — The Charles W. Englehard Curator and Head of the Department of Drawings and Prints, The Morgan Library & Museum
Organizer: AIANY Architectural Dialogues Committee

Raffael Stanza della Segnatura.


In Florence, Italy, during the Renaissance, “disegno,” or drawing and design, was viewed as fundamental to the realization of Art, Building, Craft, and Design — or “ABCD.” “It’s important to engage the core method of how we design,” said William Singer, AIA, partner at Gruzen Samton Architects, and chair of the AIANY Architectural Dialogues Committee, who curated a series of lectures on how the “The ABCD’s” of design are similar today though taught and practiced in distinct realms.

The last lecture in the series was delivered by Linda Wolk-Simon, who is a specialist in Italian Renaissance art at the Morgan Library and an authority on the artist Raphael. Prior to the founding of The Academy of the Arts of Design in 1563, artists were classified by the guild system as craftsmen and other manual laborers, such as cloth weavers and shoemakers, for example. When artists proved there was an idea that sparked their works, they were elevated in society. The use of paper and ink had a significant impact on the design profession, since drawings gave a window into the intellect and imagination of the working artist.

Drawing is a visual art that makes use of a number of instruments in a two-dimensional medium. Over the years the instruments have included graphite pencils, pen and ink, brushes, charcoals, stylus, and metals like silverpoint. And since disegno stresses not just the literal drawing, but the concept behind a work of art or architecture, should the instruments include CAD and other computer programs? Singer thinks that question could be the subject of an entirely new series of dialogues.

In this issue:
· Bakery Will Become Harlem’s Creative Center
· Metal Shutter Houses Are Now Open
· A Synagogue Styled for SoHo
· BMW Guggenheim LAB Makes First Stop on LES
· Students to Make a Splash at Highbridge Pool
· Barclay Center Interiors Released

Bakery Will Become Harlem’s Creative Center

CREATE @ Harlem Green.


The Taystee Cake Bakery complex along the 125th Street Corridor in Harlem is going to be revitalized, expanded, and turned into CREATE @ Harlem Green, designed by LEVENBETTS. Harlem Brewing Company will move its production facility to the mixed-us building, and will grow hops on an open roof. Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center plans to operate 53,000 square feet of space to be leased to small manufacturers and artisans. Upon completion, the $100 million development will include 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space, 90,000 square feet of office space, 40,000 square feet of retail, and 10,000 square feet for community facilities.

Metal Shutter Houses Are Now Open

Metal Shutter House.

Michael Moran

The Metal Shutter House, a luxury condo designed by Tokyo-based Shigeru Ban Architects and his NY-based partner Dean Maltz, has been completed. Located in Chelsea, the building takes its name from two distinct features — the shutters that cover two façades, and condos that feel like individual homes within one structure. The retractable skin of motorized perforated metal shutters echoes the after-hours shutters of galleries in the neighborhood. With direct access from the lobby through a single elevator, each apartment is a floor-through duplex providing light from both the north and south. The double-height exterior walls on the north apartments can be opened via floor-to-ceiling bi-fold doors creating continuity between the interior space and outdoor terraces. The 11-story building contains eight “houses” ranging from 1,950 to 4,644 square feet, and an art gallery.

A Synagogue Styled for SoHo

SoHo Synagogue.

Photo by John M. Hall

Designed by Studio Dror in collaboration with Jeffrey Rosenberg Architect, the recently-opened, 1,600-square-foot SoHo Synagogue puts a contemporary spin on synagogue typology. Recalling its former life as a fashion boutique, the striped storefront provides privacy and evokes the lines of a traditional prayer shawl. Congregants enter a long, narrow reception area that features a sculptural reception desk. This leads to the top of a steel-and-glass open stairwell that overlooks the sanctuary below. The artwork that lines the walls is hinged and, when taken down, can morph into chairs and coffee tables. Neutral-colored low couches replace traditional prayer benches, and in lieu of traditional stained glass windows, the space is illuminated by a series of single retro-style light bulbs. The building’s brick walls remain exposed and seven brick squares from the foundation were used to create a menorah. Fashion designer Yigal Azrouel selected and wrapped the fabric for the ark. The studio’s signature Peacock chairs flank both sides of the ark.

BMW Guggenheim LAB Makes First Stop on LES

BMW Guggenheim Lab.

Atelier Bow-Wow

Tokyo-based Atelier Bow-Wow has designed a mobile structure for the first two-year cycle of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile laboratory that is making its first stop on the Lower East Side at First Park. The theme is Confronting Comfort and explores how urban environments can be made more responsive to people’s needs. The structure’s lower half is a contemporary version of a Mediterranean loggia, an open space that can easily be configured to accommodate various programs. The upper portion houses a flexible rigging system and is wrapped in semi-transparent mesh. Through this external skin, visitors are able to catch glimpses of the extensive apparatus of “tools” that may be lowered or raised from the canopy according to the Lab’s programming needs, transforming the ground space into a formal lecture setting, a stage for a celebratory gathering, or a workshop with tables for hands-on experiments. A series of smaller wooden shelters provide space for restrooms and a café. This structure will be remain in New York until mid-October, then travels to Berlin and Mumbai.

Led by international, interdisciplinary teams of emerging talents in the areas of urbanism, architecture, art, design, science, technology, education, and sustainability, the Lab addresses issues of contemporary urban life through programs and public discourse. There will be three distinct mobile structures and thematic cycles and during the course of six years during which the Lab will travel to a total of nine major cities.

Students to Make a Splash at Highbridge Pool

Splash House.

Parsons The New School for Design

Next summer Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center in Highbridge Park, Washington Heights, will have a new pool pavilion. Parsons The New School for Design’s Design Workshop, a design-build studio led by graduate architecture students, is partnering with NYC Parks & Recreation to transform the park’s WPA-era bathhouse into Splash House, which will allow the center to remain open year-round and offer more recreational programs. Splash House reorganizes the current circulation and provides new changing and locker areas. Natural systems of light, ventilation, and water make a lightweight and efficient porous structure, while remaining sensitive to its historic context. The project includes sliding doors for flexible spaces, and a water curtain that functions as a play feature for children. In addition to design and construction, students also created a master plan for the center. The Design Workshop provides pro bono architectural and construction services to nonprofit organizations, and this project represents the first of a five-year initiative between Parks and Parsons to identify and implement improvements in public spaces throughout the city.

Barclay Center Interiors Released

Barclays Center Courtside Club (left) and Loft Suite.

SHoP Architects

Renderings of the interior spaces of the Barclays Center of Brooklyn, designed by SHoP Architects, were recently released. In addition to an 18,000-seat arena, the sports and entertainment center is packed with amenities. Inside the main entrance, multiple access points intersect at the arena atrium, including the Nets team store, a practice court viewing window, the box office, and the main concourse, which features the Legends Lounge, a two-sided bar with a platform offering direct views into the bowl. Beers of the World bar features a long bar with a continuous band of reclaimed wood; the Courtside Club offers premium seat holders views of the basketball players walking to and from the court. The arena contains 68 loft suites.


Twenty-four same sex couples got married over the weekend in Central Park in one of two pop-up chapels that were winners of a competition hosted by Architizer and, a wedding planning website. NYC-based winners Z-A Studio designed “Kiss,” an installation that resembles a helix, and the other, from ICRAVE, is composed of rainbow ribbons.

Flying Cactus, a piece created by the Animus Arts Collective for FIGMENT 2011, has been chosen by the NYC Department of Transportation for its Summer Streets program. Twelve Flaming Cactuses will sprout up in and around Astor Place this month.

The only open-air roller-skating venue, The High Line Rink, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and James Corner Field Operations in partnership HWKN, is open through September at 30th Street and 10th Avenue.

The Landmark Preservation Commission has approved Morris Adjmi Architects’ warehouse addition in the Meatpacking District. The revised plan calls for a four-story glass addition over an original two-story structure.

In this issue:
· Call to Action — Advocacy at AIANY
· NYC College of Technology to Start Mentoring Program
· e-Calendar

Call to Action — Advocacy at AIANY
On 07.29.11, AIANY Policy Director Jay Bond sent a letter to membership encouraging the architecture community to write to Governor Andrew Cuomo in support of Non-Design Professional Ownership, covered as part of New York State Senate Bill 2987. Click here to download a sample letter to send to the governor.

NYC College of Technology to Start Mentoring Program
The New York City College of Technology is starting a mentoring program and is seeking architectural interns currently enrolled in the Intern Development Program (IDP) looking to complete “professional community service” hours. Individuals will help with the initiative and mentor college students interested in architectural careers. Click here for more information on the application process to become a mentor.

eCalendar includes an interactive listing of architectural events around NYC. Click the link to go to eCalendar on the Web.

Center for Architecture Gallery Hours and Location
Monday-Friday: 9:00am-8:00pm, Saturday: 11:00am-5:00pm, Sunday: CLOSED
536 LaGuardia Place, Between Bleecker and West 3rd Streets in Greenwich Village, NYC, 212-683-0023


New Practices São Paulo

On view 07.14-09.10.2011

Mapping the Cityscape

On view 07.06-08.27.2011

Building Burble Bup

On view 07.18-09.16.2011

Families Envision NYC 2040

Students explore GLIMPSES.

Kristi Tremblay

Families gathered at the Center for Architecture on 07.09.11 to explore the Center’s summer exhibition, GLIMPSES: New York and Amsterdam in 2040. The exhibition, on display in both cities, presents architects’ and landscape architects’ visions for a sustainable urban future, developed by five Dutch and five New York design teams. Participating firms were asked to focus on five basic human needs — breathing, moving, eating, making, and dwelling — as they considered how to address issues related to global warming, including rising water levels, climate change, and population growth.

Using the Foundation’s Family Guide, children and their parents toured the exhibition and discussed the realistic and fanciful strategies shown for generating power, moving and making goods, housing people, and improving our urban environment. Kids especially enjoyed the projects that included futuristic ideas, such as robots manning recycling centers, as well as bucolic images of a greener view of the cities.

The workshop following the exhibition tour was an opportunity for participants to develop their own visions of what their city might look like in 30 years if they were able to redesign it to create a healthier urban environment. With mixed media such as watercolors, magazine cutouts, and drawing, families created large images modeled after those in the exhibition. They also created a simple cardboard frame and mounted their own “GLIMPSES” exhibition in the workshop space itself.

Although the kids’ exhibition was quickly dismounted, families are encouraged to come and do a self-guided tour using the Foundation’s printed Family Guide, which helps explain the exhibition to young visitors and gives them opportunities to respond to the work and create their own drawings and designs.

The Foundation offers Family Days once a month on Saturday at the Center for Architecture. The next program, Exploring Governors Island, will be held on Governors Island on 08.20.11. The Foundation also offers after-school, vacation, and summer programs for students in grades 3-12. For more information about Programs@theCenter, visit the website or contact Catherine Teegarden at

Architecture Sets the Stage for Historic Moment in NYC History

As gay marriage took center stage in local news last weekend, it was two pop-up chapels that set the tone at Columbus Circle, where 24 same-sex couples said their vows. Z-A Studio designed a tulip-shaped chapel of stacked recycled honeycomb cardboard, while ICRAVE created a curtain of rainbow-colored ribbons hanging from an armature to create a parabolic enclosure. These were winning designs of a competition hosted by Architizer and, and it was inspiring to see architecture as a backdrop to such a big moment in NYC history.

Both chapels were light and whimsical, adding to the feeling of happiness and love shared by each couple. ICRAVE’s colorful streamers seemed to channel an array of light, flamboyantly drawing focus on each pair from afar, and making for stunning photographs (Architizer has posted them here. Z-A Studio’s structure was more subdued, sheltering and embracing each couple, rather than projecting outward.

Although temporary, the sense of the power of these small interventions was palpable, shining light not only on each pair, but on design and how it can positively impact the environment and public space.

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) announced the recipients of the Society’s 2011 Honors, including Michael Van Valkenburgh, FASLA, ASLA Design Medal; George Curry, FASLA, Jot D. Carpenter Teaching Medal; and Tupper Thomas, LaGasse Medal…

Six of nine shortlisted firms for the St. Petersburg (FL) Pier Competition are based in NYC: BIG/Bjarke Ingels Group; Frederic Schwartz Architects; James Corner Field Operations; Weiss/Manfredi; and Adriaan Geuze/West 8 Urban Design; Jerry Van Eyck/!melk. Three finalists will be announced on 08.19.11, and the City Council will select a winner in early 2012…

The winning fashion design and architect teams of 2011 BOFFO Building Fashion competition are: Nicola Formichetti + Gage/Clemenceau Architects; Irene Neuwirth + TheVeryMany; Patrik Ervell + Graham Hudson; The Lake & Stars + SOFTlab; and Ohne Titel + EASTON+COMBS

Gowanus by Design honored the six winning designs of the inaugural competition Gowanus Lowline: Connections, including Gowanus Flowlands by Tyler Caine, Luke Carnahan, Ryan Doyle, and Brandon Specketer (First Place); [f]lowline by the Aptum/Landscape Intelligence team of Gale Fulton, Roger Hubeli, and Julie Larsen (Second Place); and Honorable Mentions went to Domestic Laundry: Flush Basin Curtain Mattress Pillow by the Agergroup team of Jessica Leete, Claire Ji Kim, Shan Shan Lu, Winnie Lai, and Albert Chung; Made in Brooklyn: Bridges For Local Artisans & Industry by Nathan Rich and Miriam Peterson; B.Y.O.B. (Build Your Own Bridge) by the Austin+Mergold team of Jason Austin, Alex Mergold, Jessica Brown, and Sally Reynolds; and Gowanus Canal Filter District by the burkholder|salmons team of Sean Burkholder and Dylan Salmons

Six finalist teams were chosen as part of a competition to transform Aberdeen, Scotland’s Union Terrace Gardens, including Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Keppie Design and Olin Studio; and Snøhetta with Gareth Hoskins Architects and AECOM

Ennead Architects was honored with the ACE Award, sponsored by the ACE Mentor Program of Greater New York, in recognition for excellence in the design and construction of buildings for K-12 and higher education in the greater New York area…

The winner of the AIA Barbie Dream House competition is the design submitted by NYC-based Ting Li, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, and Maja Paklar, Assoc. AIA. They received the most public votes, out of the 8,470 votes submitted. Click here to see the winning design…

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the designation of 14 new national historic landmarks, including Woodlawn Cemetery

The non-profit organization United States Institute of Building Documentation (USIBD) was recently formed, and John Russo, AIA, is serving as president…

Founders of the firm Della Valle Bernheimer have ended their formal association; Andrew Bernheimer, AIA, has formed Bernheimer Architecture and Jared Della Valle, AIA, LEED AP, will focus on Alloy LLC, a real estate development and consulting firm…

John R. Sorrenti, FAIA, was installed on the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ (NCARB) Board of Directors at its 92nd Annual Meeting and Conference… Adam D. Tihany has been named art director for The Culinary Institute of America (CIA)…

The Design Trust for Public Space announced three new Project Fellows for Making Midtown, Andrew Bernheimer, AIA, Colin Cathcart, and Robert Lane

NYC Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri and team of 20 inspectors, attorneys, plan examiners, administrative assistants from the department, spent one day with Habitat for Humanity future homeowners helping them build affordable housing for working families in Brooklyn…

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:

08.12.11 Call for Entries – DEADLINE EXTENDED: New York New Work 2011 Subway Exhibition

08.12.11 Call for Entries: CANstruction New York City

08.19.11 Call for Entries/Request for Proposals: AIA New Orleans DesCours 2011

08.19.11 Call for Entries: Architectural Record Design Vanguard 2011

08.26.11 Call for Entries: 2012 AIA Honor Awards

09.13.11 Call for Submissions: New York Archive of Sacred Spaces in Profane Buildings

11.10.11 Call for Entries/Request for Proposals: Solar Decathlon 2013 Collegiate Teams

11.15.11 Call for Entries: eVolo 2012 Skyscraper Competition

08.01.11: The Center for Architecture announced that it is expanding to the adjacent storefront space at 532 LaGuardia Place.

AIANY/Center for Architecture leadership meets in front of 532 LaGuardia Place.

Courtesy the Center for Architecture

07.22.11: The opening of the “Building Burble Bup” exhibition at the Center for Architecture, on view through 09.16.11, was hosted by the AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA). The exhibition celebrates the design competition, which was co-hosted by ENYA with FIGMENT and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY); the five finalist teams; as well as the efforts of the design team, Bittertang, and the 120+ volunteers who helped build Burble Bup on Governors Island.

(L-R): Michael Loverich, Bittertang; Rocket Osborne, Burble Bup Project Manager; Antonio Torres, Bittertang; Venesa Alicea, AIA, LEED AP, Co-chair, ENYA; Jessica Sheridan, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, ENYA; David Koren, FIGMENT Executive Producer.

Julie Engh

07.26.11: A prototype was unveiled of the urbanSHED competition winning design, Urban Umbrella. It will soon be installed in Lower Manhattan.

(L-R) Andrés Cortés of Agencie Group; Young-Hwan Choi, Urban Umbrella Designer; and NYC Department of Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri.

Rick Bell

Detail of Urban Umbrella prototype.

Rick Bell

07.16.11: The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance’s City of Water Day filtered through the city raising awareness of issues that affect the waterfront with family events.

(L-R): Ketaki Bhate, AIANY Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA), ENYA Co-chair Venesa Alicea, AIA, LEED AP, and AIANY Director of Membership Suzanne Mecs, Hon. AIA NYS, hosted a table for AIANY at Governors Island.

Rick Bell