In this issue:
· The Y Gets East Village and Middle Eastern Flair
· Designed With Collaboration in Mind
· A Legend Gets a Make-Over for All Seasons
· New Hope for New Community Center
· New Pool References the Past
· West 8 Heads South
· Red Crosses to the Rescue
· Mixed-Use Master Plan for Rawabi, Palestine Begins

The Y Gets East Village and Middle Eastern Flair


14th Street Y.

ST Architects

ST Architects and Z-A Studio are in the process of renovating and creating a new identity for the 14th Street Y. The scheme conceptualizes the building as a series of parallel bands of multiple programs — lobby, fitness center, locker rooms, showers, and pool. As Y members move through the different bands, they experience what is happening elsewhere in the building. To capitalize on the multi-generational and multi-ethnic user base, the new design eschews institutional uniformity by giving each programmatic space is own distinct look through the use of different patterns, colors, and materials. For the entrance lobby, the design team selected what they call an “east meets west” palette, drawing on both the grunge of the East Village and the Y’s link to Israel and the Middle East. Colorful blue and yellow Moroccan cement floor tiles accompany bright yellow 100% recycled plastic lobby furniture, and a field of different-sized circular fluorescent lights animates the space. Construction is expected to finish by the end of August.

Designed With Collaboration in Mind

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) has selected FXFOWLE Architects for the build-out of its new 28,000-square-foot offices. Located at 475 Riverside Drive in Morningside Heights and known as the Interchurch Center, the design evokes the history and classic modern design of the Rockefeller Family, and is expected to achieve a LEED-CI rating. The interior is comprised of a natural palette with vintage, mid-century furniture, custom millwork, and recyclable materials. The office’s layout blurs the boundaries between public and private with a flexible, open-office plan to encourage better communication and collaboration among the RBF staff, trustees, and grantees. Document control efficiency and team collaboration were very important, and to meet this need, FXFOWLE created a grant hub that serves as a gathering space to review grants. Having the grants in one space at all times reduces the risk of lost documents while promoting collaboration in a communal setting. John Gallin & Son is the construction manager, and Levien & Company is the project manager.

A Legend Gets a Make-Over for All Seasons

The Four Seasons, a legendary restaurant designed by Philip Johnson in the Seagram Building, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Belmont Freeman Architects was engaged to design the restoration of the Modernist masterpiece. Phyllis Lambert, FRAIC, who represents the Bronfman family, partial owners of the restaurant, selected the firm on aesthetic matters. The carefully researched renovations will focus on the restoration of original finishes, fixtures, and furnishings, as well as upgrades to mechanical systems and lighting. The restaurant has been a designated NYC landmark since 1989, so there can be no overt changes. Construction is being executed in staged phases to allow the restaurant to stay in operation, with phase one being completed by the end of the month.

New Hope for New Community Center

Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber and New York Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President Seth W. Pinsky announced the grand opening of the first phase of the Mount Hope Community Center in the Bronx. The $16 million, four-story project, designed by Croxton Collaborative Architects, includes a learning center consisting of six classrooms and two computer labs that can serve more than 750 community members a day. The building features two green roofs and outdoor open space for active and passive recreational activities. It was designed to maximize natural light and incorporate low- and non-toxic, recycled materials where possible. Phase II of the project will be a multi-use gymnasium. The Mount Hope Community Center was the first project where NYCEDC was able to use financing from the New Markets Tax Credit — which provides federal income tax credits for taxpayers making qualified investments in community development entities — for a project receiving city capital funding.

New Pool References the Past


Higgins Aquatic Center at the Canterbury School.

Butler Rogers Baskett Architects

Butler Rogers Baskett Architects has designed the new Higgins Aquatic Center at the Canterbury School, a college prep boarding and day school in Milford, CT. Built in the English Collegiate Gothic style, the new facility resembles other buildings on campus, including an athletic center and old gym built in 1924 by Raphael Hume. The new building is faced with Roxbury granite, has slate roofs with copper gutters and leaders, and limestone trim similar to the older structures. The upper-level mezzanine overlooks the pool and connects to the main floor of the adjacent alumni gym. The eight-lane, 25-yard pool was designed to host swimming, diving, and water polo competitions.

West 8 Heads South

West 8 has been selected by the New World Symphony and the City of Miami Beach to design Lincoln Park, a new 2.5-acre urban park in the cultural and civic heart of downtown Miami Beach. West 8 replaces Frank Gehry, FAIA, who withdrew from the park project in April. The park is the final component of the Gehry-designed New World Symphony complex now under construction. The firm’s initial idea calls for an undulating green carpet with raised edges that enclose the space and harmonize with the Gehry building. Work will begin August 1 to meet the goal of opening by September 2011, with sections of the park, including a projection screen to view concerts, ready in time for the concert hall’s January 2011 opening. The New York office of the Rotterdam-based firm is heading the $10 million project.

Red Crosses to the Rescue



OBRA Architects

OBRA Architect’s RED+HOUSING, a full-scale emergency housing prototype, will travel to London as part of the 2009 AA|FAB Awards exhibition in September. The FAB Research Cluster at London’s Architectural Association “Designing Fabrication” as this year’s theme, and the winning projects were ones that contributed to an international discourse on the use of emerging design and fabrication technologies. OBRA’s project, which was first displayed in May as part of the National Art Museum of China’s exhibition “Crossing: Dialogues for Emergency Architecture,” designed to be deployed in areas of natural or man-made disasters.

The project addresses extreme conditions in an emergency situation, and proposes combining the advantages of fast-response solutions, such as the deployment of military tents, with those of slower and more considered responses, such as neighborhood reconstruction efforts. By enlisting the structural strength of post-tensions, the project makes economical use of materials. Bamboo plywood strips of the dome support the enclosure. All connections are a simple friction bond of male/female parts, which are then secured with a minimum of fasteners. Parts are collapsible so they can be easily packed and transported. If a single house is erected, the exterior of the cruciform creates spaces that mediate between interior and exterior, providing a context for people to spend time outside; and when deployed together in groups, in-between spaces can suggest an “urban” context. When seen from above, clusters look like a field of red crosses.

Mixed-Use Master Plan for Rawabi, Palestine Begins


Master plan for Rawabi, Palestine.


The Palestinian Authority has approved the country’s first master planned city, with ground breaking is scheduled for September. Located just over five miles from the capital of Ramallah, Rawabi (“the hills” in Arabic) has been designed by AECOM with Raphael Samach, AIA, the NY-based principal-in-charge of the team, as a prototype for a mixed-use development based on a live-work-grow mindset in Palestine. The new city is designed for 40,000 residents and will accommodate an additional 50,000 from surrounding towns. Infrastructure will have the capacity to generate future growth, as well. Rawabi will offer commercial, civic, and entertainment facilities, a state-of-the-art business and technology incubator complex, and more than 5,000 units of affordable housing. Given the scarcity of available building sites, Rawabi is being developed on a very steep site. Clad in local stone, the design incorporates elements of traditional Palestinian architecture.

The development will be compact and urban, concentrating larger structures at the top of the ridge with smaller buildings on the sides of the hill. For the first time on this scale, home ownership will be within the reach of teachers, health care and social service professionals, government employees, and those employed by Rawabi’s targeted IT and creative sector businesses. The project is being developed by Bayti Real Estate Investment Company, a joint venture between Ramallah-based Massar International and Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company (Doha). Bayti and the Palestinian Authority signed a Public-Private Partnership Agreement (PPPA) through which the Authority has committed to facilitate the creation of the critical off-site infrastructure needed for the new town, and to support the construction of public facilities. When the master plan has been fully implemented, Rawabi will cover an area of 6,300,000 square meters.