Though spring may bring New York City’s biggest collection of international design events, some of the most interesting happenings for followers of architecture and design both old and new take place in the fall. Archtober, for example is a month-long love affair with the built environment, and Open House New York introduces visitors to some of the city’s most important and rarely-seen (at least by the public) places. Add to that a designer show house and some fabulous fashion retrospectives–and much more.
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Two years ago 6sqft reported on the rise of a singular single-family residence on a Williamsburg corner lot; the amazing townhouse was built from 21 steel shipping containers, tamed and transformed into a sleek and surprisingly livable home by the architecture and design firm LOT-EK for the Brooklyn couple behind neighborhood barbecue favorite Fette Sau. If you’ve always wanted to live in the 25-by-100-foot, 5,000-square-foot home at 2 Monitor Street, now’s your chance; the house just hit the market for $5.5 million.
Last week brought a sneak preview of the 16th annual Open House New York; the schedule for tours, events, and access to typically off-limits sites has been released. OHNY is happening on Friday, October 12, Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14. Highlights include recently-opened sites like 3 World Trade Center, Domino Park and Pier 17, construction previews of 150 Rivington and Hauser & Wirth Gallery West 22nd Street and specially curated series like Works by Women, MAS 125, Factory Fridays and Open Studios. There’s also an event guide, interactive map showing where (“open access” only) sites and events are located throughout the five boroughs and an itinerary planner.
If you love architecture and urban design from historic to contemporary, you’ll have already been looking forward to this year’s Open House New York! This much-anticipated and rare weekend of access to typically off-limits sites is now in its 16th year; this year’s OHNY will take place on Friday, October 12, Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14. Thanks to partnerships with over 400 arts and cultural organizations, city agencies, architecture firms and others, OHNY Weekend will open more than 250 buildings and projects across the five boroughs for tours and talks with architects, urban planners, historians, preservationists, and civic leaders. OHNY has just released a sneak preview of the program, which includes recently-opened sites like 3 World Trade Center, Domino Park and Pier 17, construction previews of 150 Rivington and Hauser & Wirth Gallery West 22nd Street and specially curated series like Works by Women, MAS 125, Factory Fridays and Open Studios.
Photo via Contanium listing on Airbnb
Just think if it as a Vipp Shelter for the rest of us. This woodsy take on the tiny dwelling, “Contanium,” available through Airbnb and situated in Saugerties, NY, is actually a shipping container, so you get to experience the trifecta of tiny house, off-the-grid living and inhabiting a shipping container, all at once. Offerings at this particular shipping container cabin sound almost like the amenities menu at a trendy Downtown condo: There’s a wood stove, sofa bed, kitchenette, writing desk, record player, patio, fire ring, yoga platform, hot tub and hammock. The off-the-grid part means the power is solar, there’s a composting toilet and gravity-feed water.
Shipping container construction, courtesy SG Blocks
A developer is getting creative in his latest affordable housing project in the Bronx. Gold Key Group, which typically develops market-rate housing, teamed up with SG Blocks, a shipping container company, to build 65 to 75 apartments above a retail store and a church. SG Blocks will use shipping containers due to the affordability and quick construction time–the method cuts the building timeline by 40 percent and is 10 to 20 percent less expensive than typical construction, according to Paul Galvin, CEO of SG Blocks. And as amNew York reports, Galvin “hopes this type of construction will become a solution to the housing crisis.”
360 Wythe Avenue, courtesy 320 and 360 Wythe/Flank
Last November, news broke that Manhattan-based firm Flank Architecture + Development would construct two mid-rise office and retail buildings made of timber in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the first to be built in New York in over a century. Located at 320 and 360 Wythe Avenues, they are currently rising three and five stories, constructed from raw Canadian wood, which will be engineered into nail-laminated timber panels. The timber structure will rise above the concrete foundation, then it’ll be covered by a brick facade.
Flank co-founder Mick Walsdorf has said the ambitious project “will expand the limits of traditional construction and usher in a new era of sustainability-minded building practices.” The firm has grown significantly since Walsdorf and Jon Kully were studying together at Columbia’s Graduate School for Architecture, envisioning the possibilities of a joint architecture and development firm. Since then Flank has tackled the development and design of residential and commercial projects across the city, from The Boerum condominium in Brooklyn to the condo conversion at 40 Walker Street in Tribeca.
With 6sqft, Mick discusses the history of the firm and the benefits of tackling both the architecture and development side of a project in New York City. He also gets into detail about why Flank decided to take on timber construction, and how construction is expected to unroll this year.
In architect Morris Adjmi’s new book, “A Grid and a Conversation,” he describes his ongoing conversation between context and design. On any project, Adjmi balances three factors: standing out while fitting in, respecting history while not being frozen in time, and creating “ambient” architecture while gaining popularity. 6sqft sat down with Adjmi to find out more about his work philosophy, art exhibits, love of Shaker design, and awesome opening night parties with custom-made drinks.
This 624-square-foot, one-bedroom condo at 134 North 10th Street in Williamsburg offers the best of both worlds in a small amount of space. A recent reno restored details of the historic townhouse building, like six-inch-wide plank pine flooring, built-in closets, and decorative fireplaces. But the renovation also created an efficient, flexible layout with custom build outs that include shelving, desks, sliding doors, and lofts. After last selling in 2010 for $441,090, this blend of old-meets-new is on the market asking $775,000.
After completing architecture school at Universita’ di Napoli, Italy, Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano fell in love with New York City, deciding in 1995 to establish an innovative firm in Manhattan called LOT-EK. Early experiments in the art world grew into a substantial architecture practice, but their philosophy has always been the same: Both Ada and Giuseppe are focused on a concept they call “up-cycling,” taking existing objects and elevating them through art, design, and architecture. The firm has done its most innovative work re-using shipping containers and received a wave of attention this year for a Brooklyn residential project that utilized 21 shipping containers in surprising, stunning ways.
The firm has just released its second monograph, LOT-EK: Objects and Operations, a photo-heavy showcase of dozens of projects the firm produced around the world over the past 15 years. “LOT-EK is a design practice that believes in being unoriginal, ugly, and cheap,” the book states. “Also in being revolutionary, gorgeous, and completely luxurious.” With 6sqft, co-founder Giuseppe Lignano talks about the early days of running a firm and waiting tables in 1990s New York, explains the firm’s philosophy behind sustainability and re-use, and discusses the inspiration behind their notable Williamsburg project.