Spontaneous Interventions: design actions for the common good is the theme of the U.S. Pavilion at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale (08.29.12 – 11.25.12). This year’s event is organized by the Institute for Urban Design (@IfUD) of New York City, and many of the team members and participants are based in NYC.

Full list of participants and projects: http://spontaneousinterventions.com/projects/

Team members: http://spontaneousinterventions.com/team/

ArchDaily’s roundup of projects with images: http://www.archdaily.com/249209/u-s-pavilion-at-the-venice-architecture-biennale-announces-designers-and-participants/

ArtInfo’s Q&A with Cathy Lang Ho, the commissioner of the pavilion and New York-based architecture writer and editor and board member of the Institute for Urban Design: http://artinfo.com/news/story/817142/is-counterculture-getting-mainstream-curating-the-venice-architecture-biennales-guerrilla-us-pavilion

2012 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, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA: kristen@ArchNewsNow.com.

Fall: Learning Curve [closed]

Winter: In Sickness and In Health / Health & Well-being [closed]

08.15.12 Call for Entries: IMT Excellence in Energy Code Compliance Award

08.20.12 Call for Entries: 2012 AIANYS Honor Awards

08.23.12 Call for Nominations: Director of Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation

08.24.12 Call for Entries: 2013 AIA Honor Awards

08.30.12 Call for Submissions: Forward, the Architecture and Design Journal of the National Associates Committee

08.31.12 Call for Entries: 2012 YAF/COD Ideas Competition—Young Architects Forum

08.31.12 Call for Nominations: 2013 TED Prize

09.07.12 Call for Speakers: LIGHTFAIR® International (LFI) in Philadelphia 04.21.13 – 04.25.13

09.10.12 Call for Entries: 2012 Cleveland Design Competition: Transforming The Bridge

09.14.12 Request for Proposals: adAPT NYC

09.14.12 Call for Submissions: IDP Design Competition: A Building for Affordable Housing (AIA San Fernando Valley)

09.15.12 Call for Applications: Fitch Foundation Mid-Career Grants

09.15.12 Call for Applications: Richard L. Blinder Award

09.21.12 Call for Applications: NYC Best for Business Infographic Competition 2012

09.24.12 Call for Applications: IDP Firm Awards

9.30.12 (Early Bird Registration) Call for Entries: The Battery Conservancy: Draw up a Chair Americas Design Competition – Portable Outdoor Seating for the Battery

09.30.12 Call for Entries: 2012 Zeftron Nylon Sustainable Practices Award

10.01.12 Call for Entries: Architecture at Zero: AIA San Francisco / PG&E / UC Merced

10.08.12 Call for Entries: 3rd Annual ENYA Merit Award

10.09.12 Request for Proposals: Tompkins County/Ithaca: Development of New “Climate Showcase” Neighborhood

10.14.12 Call for Entries: Enlightening Libraries: Student Design Competition—AIAS/Kawneer

10.19.12 Call for Entries: Gowanus by Design WATER_WORKS

10.31.12 Call for Entries: The Battery Conservancy: Draw up a Chair Americas Design Competition – Portable Outdoor Seating for the Battery

10.31.12 Call for Entries: Architectural Record One Millionth CEU Test-Taker Sweepstakes

10.31.12 Call for Entries: Generation Kingspan Student Architectural Design Competition

11.16.12 Request for Applications: 2013 Sustainable Design
Assessment Team Program (SDAT)

11.30.12 Call for Entries: Sherwin-Williams Emerald Paint Design Contest

08.13.12: Joshua David, co-founder of Friends of the High Line, presented the book High Line: The Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky as part of the Oculus Book Talk series. He co-authored the book with Robert Hammond.

(l-r) AIANY Board Director for Publications Guy Geier, FAIA; Joshua David; and AIANY 2012 President Joseph Aliotta, AIA, LEED AP

Daniel Fox

David signs books after the event.

Daniel Fox

08.14.12: “Maps to Apps – The Digital Cityscape,” at the Center for Architecture examined cultureNOW’s survey of Boston through the lens of its Museum Without Walls iPhone app.

Abby Suckle, FAIA, introduces the program.

Daniel Fox

07.23.12: Hennessy, in promoting its launch of a limited edition V.S. bottle designed by street artist Futura, partnered with Pratt Institute in a competition that challenged a select group of eight art and design students and recent graduates to produce work that illustrates the theme of the “Wild Rabbit,” or the inner drive that pushes people to the limits of their potential.

(l-r) Judges Billy Paretti (Hennessy), Harry Allen, and Jennifer Yu (Hennessy), with recent graduate Michael Cook and his winning work, competition mentor and judge Futura, and faculty advisor and judge Jeff Bellantoni.

Rene Pérez

Cook’s winning sculpture and video project.

Rene Pérez

08.08-08.11.12: The CACE (Council of Architectural Component Executives) Annual Meeting was convened in Seattle, WA. Workshops, discussions, and tours were designed to provide component executives and staff with knowledge and ideas to more effectively manage chapters and serve members. Read more about CACE 2012 in this issue of e-Oculus here.

Rico Quirindongo, AIA, President, AIA Seattle, and Amy Sabin, Assistant Director, AIA Portland, on the dock of the Wooden Boat Center, Lake Union.

Rick Bell, FAIA

Laura Marlow, Robert Ivy, FAIA, and Margaret Montgomery, AIA, of NBBJ, descending one of the open stairs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters.

Rick Bell, FAIA

(l-r) Rick Bell, FAIA, Mary Burke, FAIA, and Leonard Kady, AIA, Chair of the AIA Small Practitioners Knowledge Community, at Olympic Sculpture Park opening reception.

Rick Bell, FAIA

The AIA Seattle Resource Center for Architecture at 1911 First Avenue.

Rick Bell, FAIA

Seattle Art Museum installation of “Inopportune: Stage One,” 2004, by Cai Guo-Qiang.

Rick Bell, FAIA

The Seattle Central Library, designed by OMA/LMN.

Rick Bell, FAIA

08.14.12: Screening of Modern Tide at Cook + Fox

At a screening of “Modern Tide: Midcentury Architecture on Long Island,” directed by Jake Gorst, grandson of Andrew Geller, at the offices of Cook + Fox. The film made its New York premier at the Center for Architecture on 06.07.12. The film explores the work of the region’s best postwar architects and designers and can be viewed online at https://vimeo.com/37028699.

Rob Cleary/Cook + Fox

Jake Gorst and Richard Cook, FAIA, Cook + Fox partner, on the firm’s rooftop garden. The firm is in the early stages of moving and restoring the original Andrew Geller’s Pearlroth/Double Diamond House and designing a new, seperate one for the Pearlroth family.

Rob Cleary/Cook + Fox

(l to r) Cook + Fox architects Luca Baraldo, Heidi Theunissen, and Tomoko Akiba harvesting honey from the firm’s rooftop beehive for guests before of the screening.

Rob Cleary/Cook + Fox

A Chorus of Diverse Voices Representing a New Generation

Amanda Schachter, AIA, SLO Architecture, discusses her firm’s work.

Matt Schoor

Event: New Practices New York 2012 Winners Roundtable
Location: Center for Architecture, 07.16.12
Speakers: Emily Abruzzo, AIA, LEED AP, Abruzzo Bodziak Architects; Julian Rose, Assoc. AIA, formlessfinder; Christian Wassmann, International Assoc. AIA, Christian Wassmann; David Benjamin, Assoc. AIA, The Living; Amanda Schachter, AIA, SLO Architecture
Moderators: Dan Wood, AIA, Partner, WORKac and Adjunct Professor, Princeton University; Troy Therrien, Curator of Experiments in Motion, Columbia University and Partner, Th-ey
Organizer: AIANY New Practices Committee
Underwriters: Axor Hansgrohe; NRI
Patrons: Sure Iron Works; Thornton Tomasetti
Supporter: Samson Rope
Media Sponsor: The Architect’s Newspaper

Like all emerging firms, the 2012 winners of the New Practices New York competition have been tasked with speaking for a new generation of designers. To paraphrase Julian Rose, Assoc. AIA, of formlessfinder, however, this is the first group of “post-Oedipal” architects. They are not trying to physically construct a refutation to a prevailing ideology or aesthetic. Additionally, they are not necessarily united by common ambitions or interests. Instead, this bunch of designers represents the multiplicity of roles that the architect can play in contemporary society.

As moderator Dan Wood, AIA, noted, the one element the winning firms share is that their maturation has occurred in the midst of a global economic recession. As a result, their project types, client base, and professional goals naturally reflect the challenges of design in a volatile new climate. And their practical approaches are radically different, best encapsulated in their responses to the query: Are you comfortable with designing discrete structures, or do your ambitions stretch beyond the building?

David Benjamin, Assoc. AIA, of The Living, expressed a greater interest in tackling problems that exist on the periphery of the profession, such as global resource management and information systems. Christian Wassmann, Int’l. Assoc. AIA, has eroded the distinction between architecture and the arts through a series of installations, temporary pavilions, and artist collaborations. Rose indicated that formlessfinder was determined to rethink conventional architectural norms, structural systems, and materials.

In an unstable economy with fewer architectural patrons most offices are pondering the conventional client/designer relationship. Why wait for a patron to appear when there are so many design problems at hand that are client-independent? Or, why not design for clients without the resources to hire an architect?

Emily Abruzzo, AIA, LEED AP, pointed to an urban design case study by Abruzzo Bodziak Architects that demonstrated how New York City’s zoning code could respond better to phototropic conditions. Wassmann stated that the boundaries between designer, collaborator, and client have begun to blur in his practice. Amanda Schachter, AIA, showed how SLO Architecture has embraced a practical model with an emphasis on community-advocacy and local resource awareness. The designs that result from that approach have brought attention to the city’s waterways and aqueous transportation networks.

Regardless of their attitudes toward design and architectural practice, it is clear that the winners of the 2012 New Practices New York competition have lost none of the enthusiasm and curiosity typically associated with young offices. They are rising to the challenge of solving seemingly insurmountable global problems, both within and without the profession. As representatives of a new generation of designers, their voices sing in polyphony, but ultimately join to create a harmony of unadulterated optimism.

Marketing & PR: Start with the Pitch

Berit Hoff

Event: Speed Marketing: Ask the Experts
Location: Center for Architecture, 07.23.12
Topics and leaders: Positioning, Branding, and Differentiation: Debra Pickrel, Principal, Pickrel Communications; Business Development: Richard Staub, Principal, Richard Staub Marketing Services; Proposal and Interview Processes: Kirsten Sibilia, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, Chief Marketing Officer, Dattner Architects; Public Relations and Social Media: Tami Hausman, President, Hausman LLC; Strategic Outreach: Frances Gretes, Director of Business Development, Robert A.M. Stern Architects
At large: Ileana LaFontaine, Marketing & Design Consultant; Gretchen Bank, Assoc. AIA, Director of Business Development, Cosentini Associates & Co-chair, AIANY Marketing & PR Committee; John Fontillas, AIA, Partner, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture & Co-chair, AIANY Marketing & PR Committee
Organizer: AIANY Marketing & PR Committee

Marketing and public relations are essential to large and small practices. But not being an exact art or science, they are one of the least understood components of a successful firm. “Speed Marketing: Ask the Experts” drew participants ranging from architects – particularly those at start-ups – to marketing and PR practitioners who work in-house for AEC firms, and those who have firms as clients.

Attendees started at one of five tables led by a pro, each one representing the various elements of marketing and public relations, for a half-hour discussion. Participants then circulated to another topic table.

Since we can all glean something from the experts, listed below in the first section are what I consider to be the most important top tips from each topic leader. After that is a fuller set of tips from the participants.

My suggestion is to start conceptually at the Positioning, Branding, and Differentiation table, followed in order by Public Relations and Social Media, Business Development, the Proposal and Interview Process, and then Strategic Outreach. There is obviously overlap, but all of the experts agreed that the foundation of a firm’s marketing and PR effort is a strong “elevator pitch” and a solid understanding of “who you are and why you are different from other firms,” and being able to fluidly verbalize it. In fact, each of the experts included this tip in one form or another.

• Branding, Positioning, and Differentiation: The two hallmarks of a great brand are what make you unique and relevant. Know how to explain your firm’s expertise, its culture, values, and team members. Know what you want to say about your firm’s work and how it relates to the clients you are targeting.
• Public Relations and Social Media: Tell good stories. There’s no better way to engage people. Consider that every project has multiple stories and many audiences. Get creative.
• Business Development: The core of this area is relationship-building. There are three parts to the process: the initial contact and introduction;, developing the relationship and the trust that comes with it; and the sell. Everyone gets the first part. It’s the other two that tend to be neglected.
• Proposal and Interview Processes: If your firm does not win the competition or commission, try to get a debriefing to learn what you can improve. And have an honest conversation in-house about what you could have done differently in the proposal/interview process, focusing on the value of what you learned.
• Strategic Outreach: Maximize the use of your presentations. Repackage and disseminate your talk as a podcasts, webinars, white papers, or brochures, and post it on your website and distribute through social media.

And now for the more fulsome tips from the night’s topic leaders:

Positioning, Branding, and Differentiation – Debra Pickrel
• Write and practice your brand elevator speech over and over. It answers the ubiquitous question, “So, tell me about yourself/your firm,” and aim for no longer than a minute. In your answer include who you/your firm are, what makes you unique, and why is this relevant. Make sure you mention three recent successes.
• Study what your competition is doing and saying to shape your brand language differently and with more impact. Use short, succinct, powerful words, and remember we live in a 140-character world now. Use high-powered visuals and videos that portray you in the best light.
• Confront potential roadblocks head-on. This might elucidate a clearer understanding of where you actually want to go, the resistance to stating a position due to ego or other factors, or funding needed to update a website or create a new site entirely.
• Fish where your fish are, so to speak, and don’t try to be all things to all people.

Public Relations and Social Media – Tami Hausman
• Develop a good strategy before you start any outreach program. You need to be clear about why you’re doing it and what you want to accomplish.
• News gets old fast, so be timely and take advantage of good news, whether it’s about a project or a person. Seize opportunities that come your way and make the most of them.
• Social media has expanded the opportunities to promote your work, people, and ideas. Don’t let the medium overcome the message. Make sure your content is appealing and timely.
• Focus on your client’s needs. Think about the publications they read and what they want to hear. That way, your outreach is targeted and accurate.

Business Development – Richard Staub
• Before reaching out, be very clear regarding what your firm is about, what differentiates it, and how it provides value. Have that internalized so that it comes to mind easily in a conversation.
• Establish yourself and your firm as a value provider as you develop the relationship. Demonstrate that you understand the other person’s concerns and priorities.
• Build your comfort level with the process by doing research on the people and institutions you’re reaching out to. If you are calling someone for the first time, use LinkedIn to see if you have a friend in common who will recommend you or can tell you something about the person to whom you wish to contact.

Proposal and Interview Process – Kirsten Sibilia, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP
• Understand the differences between writing a proposal for the public and private sectors.
• Draft the cover letter of a proposal first; describe in a few paragraphs the expertise that your firm provides that is specifically relevant to the project, and your excitement about the assignment. That becomes a touchstone as you develop a compelling narrative to support it throughout your proposal.
• A proposal is a reflection of the quality of design your firm can deliver, so it’s imperative that it is thoughtful, well-designed, and free of typos.
• If appropriate, invite the potential client to visit your office so they can experience your office culture.

Strategic Outreach – Frances Gretes
• Be the only architect on the program. Propose to speak where you are featured as the only expert.
• Research and target venues where your expected audience is most likely to include prospective clients. Look at attendee lists, past programs, and publicity about past programs. Also speak “outside of the box” at associations or to groups that cross into a different field but have related interests.
• Direct your topic to a particular need or interest of your target audience rather than on self-promotion.

Oculus Book Review: John Hill’s Guide to Contemporary Architecture

Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture
By John Hill
W.W. Norton 2012

John Hill’s Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture is no ordinary guide. Self-described as an “architourist,” Hill combines the playfulness of Dora the Explorer with Sherlock Holmes’ eye for the undiscovered. At his recent book talk at the Center for Architecture, Hill talked a bit about the process [editor’s note: check out John Hill’s “Oculus Quick Take” here]. “I pitched the idea to W.W. Norton after reviewing a number of New York-centric guidebooks and noticing that there was an absence of an updated contemporary guide, something I had been documenting on my various web pages from both before and after moving to New York in 2006. I thought about my own navigation through the city and what I wanted to share with others.”

Hill’s journey was self-initiated and took a great deal of tenacity to complete as he moved through his library of visual riches. Raimund Abraham’s Austrian Cultural Forum, a dynamic sliver of a building in Midtown, graces the cover of the book. “I am a fan of infill projects,” Hill noted. Other playful surprises for the urban explorer include: the Terian Design Center by hanrahanMeyers Architects on the Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn campus; the Wonder Woman-plane-like link at the American Academy of Arts and Letters by James Vincent Czajka; and Vito Acconci’s “Wavewall” installation on the side of the West 8th Street Station in Coney Island. Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture is more than a guide. It is a creative time capsule that captures the re-envisioning of New York City, boroughs and all.

Oculus Quick Take: Miguel Baltierra Interviews Kenneth Frampton

As a part of the AIANY Oculus Book Talk Series, Kenneth Frampton, Ware Professor of Architecture, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, presented his latest book, Five North American Architects: An Anthology by Kenneth Frampton (Lars Muller Publishers, 2012) at the Center for Architecture [editor’s note: read the Oculus Book Review here]. The book is the result of a symposium held at Columbia University during the fall of 2010 to commemorate his 80th birthday. The subjects of the program included: Stanley Saitowitz, Brigitte Shim + Howard Sutcliffe, Rick Joy, John + Patricia Patkau, and Steven Holl, FAIA, the subjects of his book.

In June, Miguel Baltierra, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, interviewed Frampton. Here is an excerpt of his full interview:

Miguel Baltierra: On 11.10. 10, Columbia University hosted a symposium in celebration of your 80th birthday. All the architects featured in the book presented their work, and then participated in a one-hour discussion with you and the audience. What did you wish to accomplish and communicate to the profession about the five architecture firms you picked to represent North America?

Kenneth Frampton: I’m not sure I really had any a priori idea of communicating anything in particular, but I suppose these five could be seen to representing North American practitioners, who perhaps have values that might be associated with what I once tried to define, along with Alexander Tzonis and Liane Lefaivre, as “critical regionalism.” Although I barely mention that in the introductory text…it is fairly obvious that there is this connection. So that is perhaps one unconscious attempt to recognize that aspect in the North American continent.

I suppose though, it’s important to admit at the outset…that this selection – why these five and not others – is always difficult to explain…Part of my raison d’etre if selecting these five is connected to the way in which we normally define North America. I don’t think it is unfair to say for my colleagues here at Columbia or maybe for many architects here in New York City and not only in New York City, that the term “North America,” consciously or unconsciously, is generally construed as being the United States. I wish in this case by choosing two Canadian architects and three architects from the United States, to somehow polemically illustrate the fact that, strictly speaking, North America is Canada and the United States together and not simply the U.S.

I have been and I am still very much impressed by the quality of Canadian work. Not everything of course, but I think there are four or five truly significant architectural practices in Canada…So that explains the choice of John and Patricia Patkau of Vancouver and Bridgette Shim and Howard Sutcliff in Toronto.

In terms of the other three practices…I had a regional notion in my head to choose one East Coast figure. That was Steven Holl, my colleague here at Columbia University. He is quite clearly an incredibly talented and distinguished architect and, for that matter, a loyal friend….I thought that Stanley Saitowitz could be said to represent the West Coast…and then the third, of the three American’s, was Rick Joy in Tucson, Arizona.

MB: What examples can you share of the exceptional values they demonstrate?

KF: Although the symposium took place almost two years ago, there is something very topical happening right now, almost by accident. These five architects will be featured in the coming Venice Biennale, curated by David Chipperfield, opening at the end of August. I think of it as a prologue to answering that question…I might say that it is almost by accident, but not entirely by accident.

The five have been invited to participate in this international exhibition and the main reason was the publication of the book…I sent a copy to David Chipperfield. And on the strength of that he decided to invite the five as exemplifying what he has generally called “common ground” as the theme of the forthcoming biennale. It alludes to this idea of common ground: what is it they have in common?

In my introductory text of the book, I felt the need to spell out what that was…landscape, material, structure, craft, space, and light…As an afterthought in the same text, I thought all of them share some propensity for typological invention. These terms were to be picked up by Steven Holl in subsequent discussions with me with particular regards to the forthcoming exhibition we are trying to curate together for the biennale.

In this issue:
• SoHo Cafe Sparkles
• A Place for Student Urban Farmers to Flourish
• On the Avenues…
• Upper Manhattan Gets a New Restaurant and Cafe with Riverviews
• The Third Section of the High Line is on a Fast Track

SoHo Cafe Sparkles

Diller Scofio + Renfro’s “Light Sock.”

Adrian Wilson

Tom Dixon’s “Ball” chandelier.

Adrian Wilson

Café Kristall, adjacent to the Swarovski Crystallized store in SoHo, recently reopened after a redesign by Christian Wassmann, International Assoc. AIA (a 2012 New Practices New York winner). Cherry wood arches define the different areas of the Austrian-cuisine restaurant. The arches, as well as other elements that involve touch such as handrails and door handles, are a reference to the hexagonal shape of mountain crystals. Austrian touches include Thonet chairs originally designed by Adolf Loos for the legendary Café Museum in Vienna. All of the chandeliers are selected from the contemporary collection of Swarovski Crystal Palace, including two sphere-shaped ones designed by Tom Dixon. In front of an intimate dining niche with a mirror installation designed and custom-made by the studio, hangs a fixture designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. [An earlier version of this article reversed the photo captions. The above reflects the correct order.]

A Place for Student Urban Farmers to Flourish

Courtesy Handel Architects

Here and below, the green deck system is added in sections and sits directly on the columns below the roof.

Courtesy Handel Architects

Courtesy Handel Architects

Located atop the Robert Simon School complex on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the 3,000-square-foot Fifth Street Farm Project, designed by Handel Architects, is about to take root. Due to the weight of the soil, the firm developed a design that perches a green deck directly onto the columns below the roof, similar to the way most rooftop mechanical equipment is handled. This required “stubbing-up” a select number of columns from below, as well as designing a pitch pocket waterproofing detail to wrap the base of these short columns, and building a steel framed deck to rest on the columns. The simple and standard deck construction that rests on these columns serves as a foundation for anything from planters to a greenhouse. The system can be easily replicated in other buildings where the roof slabs are not designed to carry the weight of a farmable green roof. The project also includes a kitchen with a solar oven, a greenhouse, free play lawn, large meeting space, compost area, and a weather station. In addition to providing the many benefits that green roofs offer – mitigating heat island effect, reducing storm water run-off and providing areas of refuge to increase natural bio-diversity – the retrofitting is also intended to allow teachers to weave cultivating plants into the curricula of different classes and areas of inquiry, ranging from science to art.

On the Avenues…

Courtesy Perkins Eastman and Bonetti/Kozerski

Courtesy Perkins Eastman and Bonetti/Kozerski

Courtesy Perkins Eastman and Bonetti/Kozerski

Perkins Eastman and the interior design firm Bonetti/Kozerski have collaborated with the in-house team at Avenues: The World School to create the school’s flagship 205,000-square-foot New York City campus opening this fall. Located in West Chelsea, the reinforced concrete building, designed by Cass Gilbert in 1928, has been transformed into a 10-story vertical campus organized with maximum space efficiencies and collaborative learning as programmatic priorities. The first floor includes a parents’ center, coffee shop, and the school’s major music support facilities. The second floor is dedicated to the Early Learning Center classrooms, while the third floor contains two dining halls and a studio workspace for the Upper School. This floor, directly adjacent to the High Line, features a high ceiling and light-filled space. The fourth, fifth, and sixth floors are the Lower School, the seventh and eighth floors are for the Middle School; and a portion of eighth floor plus the ninth and tenth floors are the Upper School. The ninth and tenth floors also house a 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art athletic and fitness space that includes locker rooms, weight and aerobic training spaces, and a full-sized gymnasium – plus access to a half-acre rooftop with play areas. STV is providing engineering and construction management services.

Upper Manhattan Gets a New Restaurant and Cafe with River Views

Courtesy Andrew Franz Architect

Courtesy Andrew Franz Architect

La Marina, a new café and restaurant designed by Andrew Franz Architect, recently opened. Covering 75,000 square feet of Hudson River waterfront just south of the Cloisters, the design is inspired by working maritime buildings. The project, a cluster of open, casual structures adjacent to a sandy beachfront, employs simple forms and materials such as roofs clad in corrugated COR-TEN steel, planted walls, reclaimed wood siding for the enclosed buildings and fencing, and native grasses. By separating the buildings, which include a full-service restaurant and several bars, and a casual waterfront lounge, patrons have more views of the river and beyond. Set to open next year is a marina and launch area with a 22-slip dock.

The Third Section of the High Line is on a Fast Track

11th Avenue Bridge: the primary pathway slowly ramps up, creating an elevated catwalk that will raise visitors approximately two feet above the level of the High Line. Display gardens on either side of the catwalk separate the primary pathway from the linear bench seating running along the railing on either side of the bridge. A new stair will bridge over the railing, providing visitors with sweeping east-west views as they enter and exit the High Line.

Image by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Courtesy of the City of New York and Friends of the High Line

Beam Exploration Area: the railway’s concrete deck will be removed, revealing the framework of the High Line’s original beams and girders, covered with a thick rubber safety coating, and transformed into a unique feature for kids to explore the High Line in a new way.

Image by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Courtesy of the City of New York and Friends of the High Line.

Rail Track Walk: the rail yards section contains planting beds featuring Piet Oudolf’s naturalistic landscapes that border a pathway embedded with the High Line’s original tracks.

Image by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Courtesy of the City of New York and Friends of the High Line.

The City of New York has acquired the title to the third and final section of the High Line from CSX Transportation – bounded by West 30th and West 34th Streets to the south and north, and 10th and 12th Avenues to the east and west. The design process for the third section began in December when neighbors and supporters at a community input meeting shared ideas with the design team: James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Piet Oudolf.

This Just In…

The Drama League announced it will open The Drama League Theater Center, located on the lobby level of the historic former AT &T Building in Tribeca. Designed by FXFOWLE, the project, scheduled to open later this year, incudes a new laboratory/development space, an administrative suite including computer workstations and conference space for artist use, flexible multipurpose space for educational programming and special events, a box office, design capability for sound/projection/video, and a variety of new programs.

The Design Trust for Public Space has released “Five Borough Farm: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture in New York.” It is a comprehensive survey of the city’s urban agriculture movement and provides a roadmap for public- and private-sector partners to leverage existing programs and expand urban agriculture citywide.

The Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) announced the selection of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects/Davis Brody Bond joint venture to design the new U.S. Embassy Compound in Mexico City. The project is the first solicited under OBO’s Design Excellence program. The team was selected from a shortlist of six firms that included: AECOM, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Morphosis Architects, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and The Miller Hull Partnership.

cultureNOW (winner of the 2012 AIA Collaborative Achievement Award) has produced BostonNow for its Museum Without Walls App. It contains 600 sites of recent and historic buildings and public art collections in the area, over 100 podcasts recorded by Boston architects, artists, historians, and civic and cultural leaders, plus self-guided tours. An exhibit, “BostonNOW: Maps to Apps” opens August 9 at the BSA Space.

On view through October 21 at Socrates Sculpture Park is “Curtain,” the winner of Folly, a competition organized in collaboration with The Architectural League of New York that drew 115 submissions. Conceived by architects Jerome Haferd and K. Brandt Knapp, the winning project combines architectural structural framing with mutable plastic chain link partitions and enclosures. The competition was organized in collaboration with The Architectural League of New York.

The Yale School of Architecture Gallery presents “With Palladio Virtuel,” a new analysis of Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. The exhibit is conceived and designed by Peter Eisenman, Charles Gwathmey Professor in Practice, and Yale School of Architecture critic Matthew Roman. It represents the culmination of Eisenman’s 10 years of study of Palladio’s villas. The exhibition is on view August 20 – October 27, 2012.

In this issue:
• From the Desk of the President: Advocacy Update
• e-Calendar

From the Desk of the President: Advocacy Update

Each month I update you on our advocacy work on your behalf and focus on a key issue on which we have made progress. I would like to take this opportunity to provide an update on the chapter’s broader policy advocacy efforts. Following are highlights from the first half of this year:

• Housing Development Project Reporting Bill: The New York City Council passed Int. 730-A on July 26 to require the disclosure of information regarding construction projects funded through the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Originally, the bill would have required architects to report on the wages received and paid to their employees for projects with HPD. After providing testimony for the hearing and advocating with elected officials and proponents, architectural services were removed from these onerous reporting requirements.

• HPD/HDC Architect’s Statement: The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) requires certain certifications regarding a building project’s compliance. These proposed certifications would have made a project virtually impossible for architects to certify compliance. AIANY advocated for and achieved several changes in the final form that significantly improve it in terms of fairness for our members.

• Green Roof Tax Abatement: David Bragdon, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, invited us to be a part of stakeholder meetings that will occur in the fall on the expiring green roof tax abatements.

• Streamlining the Regulatory Review Process: In support of the efforts to streamline the regulatory review process and support the Department of Buildings’ (DOB) efforts to make the NYC Development HUB a success, AIANY has discussed potential media opportunities focused on the HUB with the DOB press office around future funding for the HUB.

• Via Verde: AIANY Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, stood alongside Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at the Ribbon Cutting for Via Verde, the new affordable housing project that promotes environmental responsibility and healthy living in which AIANY had significant input.

• Letters to Senators: We wrote to Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand to express opposition to efforts that weaken or eliminate sustainable design policies for federal buildings. We support design that reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and the energy and water appropriations bill recently approved by the House would stifle these efforts.

• Environmental Protection: In June, Executive Director Rick Bell, FAIA, presented testimony to the New York City Council Committee on Environmental Protection in support of Int. 694, legislation which seeks to facilitate the development of geothermal as a viable alternative energy source for the city. His testimony described the benefits of using geothermal technology, as the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia Place has utilized geothermal ground source wells for the past ten years.

• NYU Core Project: AIANY provided testimony at the NYC Planning Commission and New York City Council Land Use Sub-Committee hearings on the New York University Core Project application. The goal for New York University’s expansion is to secure a better future for the next generation of NYU students, faculty and researchers, while carefully incorporating the new buildings into the existing urban fabric.

• Co-Signed Letter with the Mayor: We cosigned a letter with Mayor Bloomberg to Secretary of the Department of Energy Steven Chu on American National Standards Institute Standards (ANSI) for Energy Specialists. The letter urged the Department to ensure high quality, energy efficient certifications in the buildings of America’s growing workforce.

If you have questions or comments on our policy efforts or to find out how you can be involved, please be in touch with Jay Bond, Policy Director, jbond@aiany.org, at the AIA New York Chapter.


Joseph J. Aliotta, AIA, LEED AP
AIA New York Chapter

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