Editor’s Note

Join us on Saturday, 11.15.14, for the opening of the Arch Schools 2014 exhibition and our annual “Deans’ Roundtable.” Deans from 13 area schools of architecture, including City College of New York, Columbia University, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Cornell University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, New York Institute of Technology, Parsons the New School for Design, Pratt Institute, Princeton University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University at Buffalo (SUNY), University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University, will discuss current directions in architectural education, with a special focus on the role of leadership.

If you can’t make it on Saturday, the Deans’ Roundtable will also be available via livestream.

Musings on AIA in Europe

Architects from many European countries came together in Paris during the last week of October to celebrate the 20th anniversary of AIA Continental Europe, and to take a look at the changes that have given new vitality and architectural identity to the City of Light. The conference featured discussions about recently-opened buildings such as the Fondation Louis Vuitton by Frank Gehry and STUDIOS Architecture, and at La Défense, the Carpe Diem Tower by Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA), and Tour First by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF).

For many present, the highlight of the Paris convocation was a visit to the much-publicized cultural “vessel” in the Bois de Boulogne created by Gehry and team for the cultural foundation created by Bernard Arnault and LVMH. An intersection of sail-like shed roofs and prismatic icebergs, the endearing “nauffrage” is animated by an exhilarating series of interconnected exterior stairs and terraces. The latter offer panoramic views of the perimeter park and the not-too-distant city, and complement a well-lit collection of artwork, including newly-commissioned work by Ellsworth Kelly.

But it was also good to break away in the City of Vélib to see the new, intensely active installation by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, called “Musing on the Glass Box,” at Jean Nouvel’s Fondation Cartier, also celebrating its 20th anniversary. The temporary show, done in collaboration with David Lang and Jody Elff, whimsically reflects on the original architecture, and remains open until 02.22.15. You can scoot under a low, luminous ceiling on a chaise longue roulante. Continue reading “Musings on AIA in Europe”

Planning the ‘Port: A Public Conversation on Development at the South Street Seaport

Hundreds of passionate community members gathered at the Spruce Street School on 11.10.14 for a public forum on the future of the South Street Seaport. Co-sponsored by Save Our Seaport, the City Club of New York, and the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, the event was an opportunity for the public to hear from the Seaport Working Group (SWG), a committee of elected officials, nonprofits, local residents, and representatives of the Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) tasked with creating a series of development guidelines and principles for the South Street Seaport Historic District. In addition, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and comment, view the short film South Street Seaport: Voices for a New Future, and hear a panel of distinguished experts and stakeholders discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with developing the Seaport.

The South Street Seaport Historic District has been an active marketplace and harbor since 1642. The Save Our Seaport Coalition formed out of fear that recent development proposals by HHC for Pier 17 threaten the civic and historic qualities of the area. After months of dialogue, public comment, and compromise, the SWG members largely feel that given the rapid and constant change in surrounding neighborhoods, the area is ripe for development. However, the development must be appropriate and contextual, and the planning process must include community participation. Continue reading “Planning the ‘Port: A Public Conversation on Development at the South Street Seaport”

Millennial Bring Back the Trolley?

Where could we use better public transportation? Swaths of the Bronx and Queens are underserved, particularly in Hunts Point, Soundview, Spuyten-Duyvil, and all of Southwest and Northern Queens. There’s also Red Hook, Greenpoint, and South Brooklyn neighborhoods like Mill Basin, Marine Park, Seagate, and Bergen Beach. Lines like the 5/6, A/C/E, D/B, F, and 2 (the worst line according to Straphangers) are at capacity or repeatedly delayed. Not to mention getting to the airport. As Alexander Garvin, president and CEO of Alex Garvin & Associates, professor at Yale School of Architecture, and former NYC Department of Design + Construction commissioner, said at “Light Rail for the Brooklyn & Queens Waterfront” at the Center for Architecture on 10.30.2014: “When you look at the transportation system, it’s one story; when you ride it, it’s another.”

The MTA is in the middle of major infrastructure projects: the extension of the 7 line to Hudson Yards, the Second Avenue Subway, and East Side Access. Where should we build next? And what if we look not only at demand, but also at potential demand. Where can we build that will promote development? Where can we build that has enough developable space that the potential tax revenue increases over the course of 25 years will cover the cost of a major transportation infrastructure project? Continue reading “Millennial Bring Back the Trolley?”

Publicly Available

In an interesting collaboration between two committees at opposite ends of the spectrum, the AIANY Interiors and Planning & Urban Design Committees, came a panel on public art, which Hayes Slade, AIA, one of the organizers, claims “crystallizes the relationship of the public and architecture.” The following three presentations reaffirmed that; how they do varies greatly.

Fulton Center, the new transit station designed by Grimshaw, which opened to the public this week, led the presentations. Sandra Bloodworth leads the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Arts and Urban Design Program, which brings site-specific artworks to subway stations to give them a unique identity. She presented with Grimshaw’s Andrew Whalley, AIA, RIBA, and James Carpenter, president and founder of James Carpenter Design Associates, the core team that designed the centerpiece of the station, the oculus. With the intent to span the east side of the island to the west while connecting 11 train lines, Fulton Center, and the oculus particularly, anchor the station complex with a gathering space and orients one within the sprawl. “The art results from the collaboration,” Bloodworth said. Continue reading “Publicly Available”

Landing Space

The panel of practicing architects and landscape architects discussed the transition from former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s current administration and their projects for the city and its various agencies. dlandstudio’s Susannah Drake, FASLA, AIA, of dlandstudio, made the point that “work does not stop from one administration to another,” and gave an overview of city and state agency projects she has been designing, including for the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), and Department of Design + Construction (DDC), as well as Design Trust for Public Space.

Listing a number of projects, including a portion of the East River Esplanade, AECOM’s Gonzalo Cruz, ASLA, resounded that designers of public space have to engage the agencies and, more importantly, the public for whom they are designing. “Agencies want nothing more [than the RFP scope] and have nothing more to give,” he said, “but through design and efficiencies you can get away with a lot” – such as the street furniture and fencing his studio designed for Pearl Street Triangle in DUMBO. Continue reading “Landing Space”

Oculus Quick Take: Casablanca Chandigarh: A Report on Modernization

On 10.06.14, Miguel Angel Baltierra, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, interviewed Martistella Casciato and Tom Avermaete, co-authors of Casablanca Chandigarh: A Report on Modernization, published by the Canadian Centre for Architecture and Park Books, and reviewed by Annie Coggan in the 10.15.14 issue of e-Oculus. Listen to the interview here.

Center for Architecture Foundation Awarded $50,000 Grant from Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation

The Center for Architecture Foundation’s K-12 educational programs Learning By Design:NY and StudentDay@theCenter reach more than 4,000 students each year, and have a devoted following of schools and teachers who have made these programs an integral part of their curriculum. The Deutsch Bank Americas Foundation has recognized these unique programs by selecting CFAF to participate in its current Arts & Enterprise grant program, which will provide $50,000 to help CFAF integrate the K-12 Common Core Learning Standards into our educational programs, and expand these programs to more low-income, underserved schools. CFAF is one of about 20 cultural organizations in New York City that were selected for this program based on “a strong vision of supporting underserved communities and a history of educational commitment through both intensive and broad-reaching programs alike.” The grant program includes training for staff and educators on Common Core integration, and a series of working sessions for educational leaders from the cohort to develop a set of best practices for arts and cultural organizations that can be disseminated to the field. Continue reading “Center for Architecture Foundation Awarded $50,000 Grant from Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation”

Names in the News

First Lady Michelle Obama presented Publicolor with the 2014 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award…

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation has appointed Troy Conrad Therrien as Curator of Architecture and Digital Initiatives…

Geoffrey Doban, AIA, has joined Doban Architecture as Vice President…Barbara Oulds has been appointed Deputy Operations Manager for AFG Group’s New York City office…Montroy Andersen DeMarco (MADGI) has promoted Ajay Waghmare to Project Manager…Sergio Valero, AIA, LEED Green Associate, has joined Goldstein, Hill & West Architects (GHWA) as a Senior Architect in the firm’s zoning department…Joseph Di Giorgio has been promoted to Studio Manager at Ware Malcomb’s New York office…Steven Borelli, Adam Mercier, AIA, LEED AP, and Aileen Muñoz, LEED AP, have been promoted to Associates at di Domenico + Partners