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In this issue:

– Party Up to the Party Wall
– Times Square [Hearts] Victims of Superstorm Sandy
– Icing on the Anniversary Cake
– The People’s Palace and a Palace for Porcelain

Party Up to the Party Wall
Ithaca-based CODA is the winner of the 14th annual MoMA/PS1Young Architects Program (YAP). The winning project, a pavilion called “Party Wall”, will be temporarily installed within in the courtyard of MoMA/PS1 in Long Island City, Queens, for the museum’s 2013 Warm-Up summer music series. The installation has a porous façade of interlocking wooden elements donated by a manufacturer of eco-friendly skateboards affixed to a tall, self-supporting steel frame held in place by water-filled “pillows” made of polyester base fabric that will be lit at night to produce a luminous effect.. The structure acts as an aqueduct by carrying a stream of water along the top. The water is projected by a pressure-tank into a fountain that feeds a misting station and a series of pools. The lower portion of the façade includes 120 panels that can be detached and used as benches and communal tables during events such as lectures, classes, performances, and film screenings. A shallow stage of reclaimed wood weaves around the base to create a series of micro-stages for performances of varying types and scales. Pools of water under the structure serve as cooling stations that can also be covered to provide additional staging space or shaded area. This year’s five finalists included New York firms Leong Leong and Moorhead & Moorhead. Of note: last year’s winner “Wendy,” designed by HWKN, has temporarily set down in Abu Dhabi and is powered by solar energy.

Times Square [Hearts] Victims of Superstorm Sandy
Situ Studio has won the 2013 Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition. The firm’s design, called “Heartwalk,” draws inspiration from the tri-state area’s loss of life and damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, as well as the love that binds people together during trying times. Sized slightly over 28-feet-by-23-feet, the installation uses boards salvaged from Sandy’s aftermath from boardwalks in Rockaway Beach in Queens, Long Beach in Nassau County, and Sea Girt and Atlantic City on the Jersey Shore. Two ribbons of wooden planks fluidly lift from the ground to form a heart-shaped enclosure in the middle of Duffy Square. The slatted construction, illuminated from within, provides varied views of the interior as visitors move around its perimeter. For the first time, Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborated with the Design Trust for Public Space to invite emerging architecture and design firm to compete. The installation will be unveiled on 02.12.13, and remain on view until 03.08.13. Abrahams May Architects, Abruzzo Bodziak Architects (2012 AIANY New Practices winner), EASTON+COMBS (2010 AIANY New Practices winner), FORMLESSFINDER (2012 AIANY New Practices winner); HOLLER architecture (2012 AIANY New Practices winner); Manifold Architecture Studio (2010 AIANY New Practices winner), and RUX Design also submitted design proposals.

Icing on the Anniversary Cake
As Richard Meier & Partners Architects celebrates its 50th anniversary, it has won an international competition to design real estate company Engel & Völkers’ new headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, besting Foster + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects. The design of the mixed-use project features a seven-story building block with a taller vertical building volume in one corner; it also pairs a courtyard building with a “hybrid building” organizational system capable of accommodating many programmatic uses. The exterior reads as a continuous and evenly articulated shell with elaborations that trace the project’s internal differences. An undulating ceiling that caps the atrium divides the public spaces, which include a training academy, shop, café, and gallery; above are private residential and office spaces. The project is expected to be completed by 2015.

The People’s Palace and a Palace for Porcelain
Before the holidays, Foster + Partners unveiled the first schematic designs for the New York Public Library’s Central Library Plan, which merges innovation and tradition to create a circulating library within its 101-year-old landmark 42nd Street building. The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building was originally designed by Carrère & Hastings. Although not without its controversies (the late Ada Louise Huxtable’s final article was highly critical of the redesign), by removing seven floors of book stacks currently not open to the public, a four-story atrium with bookshelves, seating areas, and re-opened floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Bryant Park will be created. The new circulating library will incorporate the books, programs, and services now found at the heavily used, but seriously deteriorating Mid-Manhattan Library across Fifth Avenue and the Science, Industry and Business Library on 34th Street; some of the library’s research volumes housed on those shelves will be moved to modern, climate-controlled storage beneath Bryant Park, while otherss will be sent to off-site storage in New Jersey. The library expects construction to begin in 2013, and to be completed in 2018, pending various approvals.

Futher down Fifth Avenue, Foster + Partners is undertaking another renovation. The Commodore Criterion – known for the quintet of ceramic Christmas carolers in 18th-century costume on its roof – is being reconfigured as the flagship showroom of the Porcelanosa Group, a company that designs, manufactures, and distributes luxury tile and kitchen and bath products. The six-story, 21,528-square-foot designated landmark was designed by Buchman and Kahn in 1918. A grand opening is scheduled for spring 2014.

This Just In
Crain’s New York reports: “A raft of projects both public and private, along with a surge in international work have pushed the city’s top architecture firms to go beyond recession-ravaged staff rosters and gear up for new business. More than a dozen major architectural firms in the city expect to boost staff this year by between 10% and 20%, adding a total of hundreds of designers.”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art broke ground on the $ 65million David H. Koch Plaza designed by Philadelphia-based landscape architecture and planning firm OLIN. The project, including new fountains, trees, lighting, and seating, is expected to be completed by fall of 2014. Later this year, the museum expects a report by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners on how to make better use of its gallery, office, and storage space. The project replaces an earlier design by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates.

Green Light New York released “Let There Be Daylight,” a 40-page report that discusses the retrofitting of New York City office buildings with daylighting controls.

Plans to build a velodrome in Brooklyn Bridge Park were dashed after planners were unable to produce a design that would work within the budget allotted to construct and maintain it.