In this issue:
· Music and Art Breathe New Life into Firehouse
· Transparency Opens Up Conference Center
· The Smith Keeps Up With the Jones’s in Boerum Hill
· Hungary Returns to the Beaux Arts
· Greater Hanoi Develops a Master Plan

Music and Art Breathe New Life into Firehouse

BP Music Center.


The NY office of HOK unveiled the redesign of former Engine Company 204 Firehouse, turning the space into the BP Music Center. Shuttered in May 2003 due to budgetary reasons, the Cobble Hill firehouse will be the permanent home for the Brooklyn Philharmonic and Create!, a non-profit organization for children’s art education and training. HOK’s pro-bono gut renovation of the 4,250-square-foot, 19th century building will incorporate a multi-purpose space for performances, meetings, lectures, and other community uses on the ground floor, as well as offices of for the two organizations and a music rehearsal room on the second floor. The brick exterior will be restored to its natural color, and a modern, all-glass entrance, complete with marquee, are in the works.

Transparency Opens Up Conference Center

Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Michael D. Szerbaty + Associates

NY-based Michael D. Szerbaty + Associates has completed a newly renovated conference center for Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR). Located in midtown Manhattan, the center’s expanded public areas, conference rooms, and teaching facilities offer an upgraded learning environment and comfortable teaching and public spaces. A glass-walled resource center that contains carrels with computers and most of the center’s research books opens up what had been a closed off library. The dining area’s waist-high walls allow views to the perimeter windows, providing natural light and a visual connection with the city. By integrating these low walls and floor-to-ceiling glass, conference attendees also can have a quick take on who is there and find ample room for a quick conversations or meetings. The $1.3 million project is the latest in a series of teaching, conference, and research facilities that the firm has designed for ILR and Cornell University.

The Smith Keeps Up With the Jones’s in Boerum Hill

The Smith.

Meltzer/Mandl Architects

Meltzer/Mandl Architects has completed the design of The Smith, a new 13-story, mixed-use complex in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn. The 116,000-square-foot project will contain a 93-room hotel with 50 condominiums above. The condos are primarily two-bedroom homes, with the 12th floor consisting of duplexes with rooftop terraces. In addition, 1,100 square feet of medical offices and retail space will front Atlantic Avenue, and there will be below-grade parking for 64 vehicles. In keeping with the character of the brownstone and contemporary townhouse neighborhood, the building steps down to four stories along its State Street frontage.

Hungary Returns to the Beaux Arts

Exchange Palace.

Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners

Tippin Corporation, a Budapest-based real estate development firm, has commissioned Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners to create an adaptive re-use and restoration plan for the 500,000-square-foot Exchange Palace, a historic landmark in the center of the city. Designed by Ignacz Alpar and built in 1905 to house the Budapest Stock and Commodities Exchange, the Beaux Arts-style building is notable for its ornamental details in the Art Nouveau style of the Hungarian Secession. In 1956, it was converted into the Hungarian State Television station, and major interior modifications were made to accommodate television sound stages. The historic façades will be restored, as will the remaining, intact grand interior spaces — most notably the main entrance stair hall and the central domed rotunda. All new mechanical and vertical transportation systems will be installed to create a state-of-the-art, modernized facility. Located on Freedom Square, a variety of new uses are being considered for the building, including office and retail space, as well as space for cultural programs. The restoration of the ground floor storefronts will once again allow cafés with sidewalk seating to animate the streetscape.

Greater Hanoi Develops a Master Plan
Out of a field of 21 international competitors, Perkins Eastman was selected by the government of Vietnam to lead a team of two Korean firms — Posco E&C, and Jina Architects — that will develop a master plan for Greater Hanoi. Preserving the city’s historic core and its 1,000-year-old architectural legacy was among the main themes for the design, along with meeting the needs of a city that is expected to grow from the current six million inhabitants to more than 10 million by 2030, and channeling the population growth into several satellite cities linked by a new transit system. In addition, the team recommended a strategy for preserving more than 40% of the area for natural preserves, recreational space, and agricultural uses. In 2007, this same team completed a master plan for part of Hatoy Province, which was recently annexed into the expanded Capital District.