In this issue:
· Moynihan Gains Momentum — Phase I Begins
· BPC Parks Conservancy Conserves Energy at its New Maintenance Facility
· Autobahn Alley Deals Volkswagens
· Curtain Wall Animates Science, Health, and Technology
· New England Lighthouse is Restored
· Austin Arthouse Reopens
Moynihan Gains Momentum — Phase I Begins
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the opening of the original Penn Station, a ceremonial ground breaking ceremony took place on the steps of the Farley Post Office building, the future home of Moynihan Station. The first phase of the project, “Moynihan Moving Forward,” will include the expansion and enhancement of the 33rd Street Connector between Penn Station and the West End Concourse, which lies under the grand staircase of the Farley building. The project will also extend and widen the West End Concourse to serve nine of Pennsylvania Station’s 11 platforms, and add new vertical access points, passenger circulation space, and entrances into the West End Concourse through the 31st and 33rd Street corners of the Farley building. The first phase of construction is expected to be complete by 2016. In March 2010, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which has been working on the new station since the 1990s, was contracted by the Moynihan Station Development Corporation to start design work on the first phase.
BPC Parks Conservancy Conserves Energy at its New Maintenance Facility
The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy now boasts a new high performance, 40,500-square-foot maintenance facility, designed by Dattner Architects, that consolidates its extensive maintenance activities, houses the organization’s educational and art workshops, and provides office and meeting spaces for the organization’s 100+ employees. The four-story facility, set in the base of the Visionaire, designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, is the only project Battery Park City (BPC) has built for its own use. It serves as an example of sustainable design integration, using a combination of low-tech, passive strategies and high-tech equipment to reduce the energy costs by 35% and water consumption by 47%. In addition to exceeding BPC’s sustainable guidelines, the project has also achieved a LEED Platinum rating for Commercial Interiors. A double-glazed exterior wall acts as a ventilated “circulation spine,” providing insulation in the summer and heat in the winter. The atrium is capped with louvered skylights to bring in natural light. In addition, the facility includes geothermal heating and cooling, radiant heating panels, recycled denim insulation, and bamboo millwork.
Autobahn Alley Deals Volkswagens
The Spector Group has been named executive architect for the Volkswagen Group of America’s new, full-service dealership on 11th Avenue, aka Autobahn Alley. Located in a space formerly occupied by Potamkin General Motors, the design team, which includes Volkswagen’s design/brand architect Novi, MI-based Cityscape Architects, and Audi’s design/brand architect CR Studio, will transform the 260,000-square-foot facility to fit the national image of its dealerships. Volkswagen will occupy six floors, the roof, and a portion of the cellar. Plans call for blending the existing and a new façade with the interior design. Flexibility will be a key component of the design scheme. The project is now underway and is slated for completion in mid to late 2012.
Curtain Wall Animates Science, Health, and Technology
Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, celebrated its 40th anniversary with the official opening of the five-story, 194,000-square-foot School of Science, Health, and Technology building, designed by Ennead Architects. The school occupies the top four floors of the facility and contains 16 flexibly designed teaching and research labs, 13 general classrooms, five computer labs, a 350-seat dining hall, faculty dining room, and kitchen. The glazed curtain wall provides natural light to the lobby and main corridor while open stairs animate the façade. In addition, wide corridors with seating alcoves encourage student and faculty interaction and the interdisciplinary mingling. This is the first new building of the college’s master plan, completed by Ennead Architects (formerly Polshek Partnership) in 1995. Roberta Washington Architects is the associate architect for both the master plan and the new building.
New England Lighthouse is Restored
After being dark in recent years, Block Island’s North Light on a bluff in Rhode Island has been restored by Walter Sedovic Architects. Recognized as an active aid to navigation by the U.S. Coast Guard, it was constructed in 1867 from local granite and cast iron. Exposure to salt-laden winds led to the deterioration of the lighthouse’s iron lantern. Restoration efforts involved intensive evaluations, logistics, and cooperative efforts to undertake this project within the confines of an environmentally sensitive site — shifting dunes, nesting habitat for migratory endangered birds, proximity to the sea, and fresh water ponds. The project also includes solar and wind clean-energy production, material salvage and recycling (the original corroded elements of cast iron were melted down at a foundry to be recast in new molded components), the use of local labor, and community education programs about sustainability.
Austin Arthouse Reopens
Arthouse at the Jones Center, a contemporary art space in downtown Austin, TX, has reopened after an extensive $4.3 million renovation and expansion project designed by Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects (LTL). Formerly a 1920s movie palace and a department store in the 1950s, the building now intertwines historical features with contemporary additions. The original Queen Theater’s large stucco murals, for example, are now visible, along with the original wooden ceiling; steel trusses and a sculptural plaster awning reference the former department store. The usable space of the building has been expanded from 7,000 to 20,830 square feet, as the previously inaccessible second floor now contains a large column-free gallery. In addition, the building has been reconfigured to house an entry lounge, galleries, a dedicated video/film gallery, a 90-seat community/screening room, two studios, a public mezzanine lounge, and a rooftop event space. The exterior skin of the building is perforated with 177 custom laminated glass units, which are clustered to selectively allow light into the building. Illuminated by LED lights at night, the blocks animate the public face of the building.