In this issue:
• Park This Way!
• SOFA Recreates Itself with a Big Bang
• Turkish Typology
• The Greening of a Queens Plaza
• From Parking Lot to Parkland, with a Green Outlook
Park This Way!
Aislinn Weidele/Ennead Architects
The New York Botanical Garden recently held a ribbon-cutting for a new eight-story, 300,000-square-foot parking garage designed by Ennead Architects that can accommodate 825 vehicles. Located on a former industrial site near the local Metro-North station, the pre-cast concrete facility’s dominant features are “vertical gardens” on all four sides of the building. A series of forked elements, resembling a simple branch structure, forms an overall textural enclosure. Interstices between columns will be covered with a greenscreen® wire trellis, planted with a variety of flowering vines. Glass circulation towers at each corner of the building will glow at night, and, in collaboration with Light Projects, exterior accent lighting will illuminate the structural rhythm of the enclosure facing the railway. Parking consultant Desman Associates was also involved in the project.
SOFA Recreates Itself with a Big Bang
David Ling Architect
For the 15th consecutive year, David Ling Architect is designing interior spaces of the Park Avenue Armory for the upcoming International Sculpture & Functional Art Fair: SOFA: NEW YORK. Two booths with irregular cut-outs lead from the entrance through a long, illuminated tunnel to the approximate center of the 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall—still one of the largest column-free interior spaces in the city—to a piazza-like common space. Various booths emanate from this courtyard, making the positioning of the 55 exhibition stands of international art galleries seem less hierarchal. In the back of the hall, a large, illuminated, Coroplast house-like structure with cutout rectangular windows floats overhead. A constellation of light blocks appear to explode out of the structure and float from above in an irregular configuration.
Construction is set to begin on the FXFOWLE –designed Bilkent Erzurum Lower School, located in Erzurum, one of Turkey’s largest and most modern cities that continues to be the a trading center along the Silk Road. Composed primarily of Turkish travertine, basalt stone, zinc, and wood, the 70,000-square-foot building features 10 classrooms and music, science, art, and multipurpose rooms. Sited 6,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by 10,000-foot mountains on all sides, the school is conceived as two entwined ribbons of enclosed walks that connect the existing upper school campus to the site’s mountainous, arid topography. Two stories high, the topmost ribbon contains the upper elementary program and a central student cafeteria with sweeping southern and northern views. Bending to meet grade, the ribbon creates a central green for the campus on one side, and a wind-protected entrance and play area on the other. A lower ribbon follows the upper, and then peels in the opposite direction until it meets the lower grade of the site to create a separate entrance and play area for the lower elementary program. Additional campus amenities include an Olympic-size hockey rink, a track and field, a kitchen garden that will also be used for educational purposes, and a potential solar array and bioretention area. Construction is expected to be completed in 2014.
The Greening of a Queens Plaza
Linda Pollak/ Marpillero Pollak Architects
The initial phase of the Queens Plaza enhancement project in Long Island City has been completed and officially named Dutch Kills Green. Once the formal gateway to the borough, the area has suffered years of under-utilization until now, when it once again serves as an inviting space with new crosswalks, sidewalks, countdown pedestrian signals, improved lighting, native trees and plantings—including 489 new trees, landscaped medians, an off-street bikeway, and a separate pedestrian walkway. Sited at the plaza’s eastern end, a former commuter parking lot has been replaced by a new 1.5-acre open space that includes wetlands, non-invasive and drought-tolerant native plantings, artist-designed benches, and interlocking/permeable pavers to direct storm water to the plantings. A 1.3-mile master plan was designed by a team headed by Margie Ruddick/WRT, and composed of Linda Pollak/Marpillero Pollak Architects, architect and urban designer, Leni Schwendinger Light Projects, artist Michael Singer, and Langan Engineering. Construction began in 2009 and is ongoing. And the new name? Won in a public competition, it is derived from Dutch Kills, a navigable tributary of Newtown Creek, the name of a hamlet where Queens Plaza is located, and an important road hub during the Revolutionary War.
From Parking Lot to Parkland, with a Green Outlook
The Riverside Park Fund and the Riverside Clay Tennis Association (RCTA) have banded together to launch a $6 million capital campaign to transform a portion of the park, with a scheme designed by Cook+Fox Architects. Called the “Green Outlook,” the initiative has the potential to turn what was originally conceived by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1875 into a sustainable complex that addresses the environmental, practical, and cultural needs of both the RCTA and surrounding area while restoring the natural health of the site. The project aims to achieve net-zero impact, prioritizing environmental stewardship and aesthetic beauty, keeping the original transit-oriented park in mind. A planned wildflower meadow will incorporate a rain garden that functions as a storm water management tool, as well as a bed for soil fertilized by composting toilets housed in a small, mostly underground building with a maintenance facility on top; this replaces the area’s few portable potties. The obsolete parking lot, a remnant of the Robert Moses era, will be become a meadow scattered with branched sculptures that incorporate solar photovoltaic systems.
THIS JUST IN…
The Orange Country Legislature’s vote on the future of Paul Rudolph’s 1971 Orange County Government Center is now set for May 3. The grassroots Taxpayers of Orange County advocates for the preservation of the building, as do a number of preservation organizations. The World Monument’s Fund (WMF) has launched a petition to stop the demolition.
stillspotting nyc: queens – the latest edition of the Guggenheim’s series which invites architects and artists to respond to the cacophony of the city with different projects—is going on now through the beginning of May. Brooklyn-based SO-IL has arranged self-guided tours of Jackson Heights. Each stop is the home or business of an area resident. Participants can hear stories about that person’s background and transition settling into the neighborhood. Locations and times vary.
McKim, Mead & White’s 1921 Town Hall on West 43rd Street has been designated a National Historic Landmark, making it New York City’s only addition to this year’s list. The building has been a designated New York City landmark since 1987.
“Let there be light” showcases plans for the Delancey Underground’s proposed LowLine park at the Mark Miller Gallery through April 29. The show includes a life-sized rendering and 3-D model.