All posts by Dana Schulz

Dana is a writer and preservationist with a passion for all things New York.  After graduating from New York University with a BA in Urban Design & Architecture Studies, she worked at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, where she planned the organization's public programs and wrote for their blog Off the Grid. In her free time, she leads walking tours about the social and cultural history of city neighborhoods. Follow her on Twitter @danaschulzNYC.

Green Design, Policy

90% of NYC Buildings Fail to Meet Energy Codes

By Dana Schulz, Mon, August 18, 2014

NYC construction

In early 2014, the Department of Buildings (DOB) set up a permanent audit unit and started reviewing the architectural plans for thousands of new and renovated buildings. What they’ve found is alarming; nine out of every ten office and/or residential buildings failed to meet the New York City Energy Conservation Code (NYCECC).

The energy standards were implemented over 30 years ago, but are just now being enforced. And while environmentalists welcome the stricter monitoring, some building owners and construction companies are nervous about the potential increased costs of compliance, both in terms of money and time.

More on the city’s energy codes and how they’re being updated

Design, Landscape Architecture, Upstate

Susan Wisniewski Landscape, Greene County Residence, Greene County New York, upstate New York landscape design, trapezoidal pool

In typical rural esthetic, the grounds of the Greene County Residence are rolling and untamed. To work with this natural terrain, as well as juxtapose it, Susan Wisniewski Landscape created an angular outdoor pool setting that is both traditional and modern. The flat, rustic pavers surrounding the watering hole fit with the conventional barn, but the pool’s trapezoidal shape adds a geometric punch to the otherwise organic setting.

More about the outdoor design here

Green Design, Technology

Lightcatcher

In theory, it seems silly to pay for light bulbs and electricity when natural sunlight is free, and now this eco-fantasy is becoming a real possibility. Developed by EcoNation and installed on the roof, Lightcatcher is a sun-tracking solar dome that uses a mirror and technology-based system to generate green energy, bring light indoors, and mitigate temperature fluctuations.

The sensors and motorized mirror and lenses harvest sunlight, reducing energy costs and environmental impact eight times more than solar panels, according to EcoNation. The company also claims that Lightcatcher can provide sufficient light for up to ten hours per day, using only 1-3% of roof surface area.

More details on the new technology

Green Design

Stereotank, Taku Tanku, Takahiro Fukuda, pre-fab shelters, eco-friendly design, water tank design

Light enough to be towed by a car or bicycle, or even carried by hand, the Taku Tanku shelter will change the way you camp, travel, and prepare for possible disasters. Created by the architecture firm Stereotank, along with Japanese designer Takahiro Fukuda, the portable, floating structure is made from two 3,000-liter recycled water tanks connected by a wood-framed entrance. It has sleeping space for two or three people, but the designers also envision it as a sculpture that “celebrates the vital role of water in our lives.”

Learn more about this convenient, eco-friendly pod

Technology, Transportation

Technicon, IXION windowless jet

Admit it–you’ve perfected your selfie pose. And now that you’ve got the duck face and skinny arm down pat, why not explore the art of the skyline selfie? We’re not talking an upward-gazing shot of the Empire State Building or semi-panoramic view of Manhattan; we mean full-on aerial photos taken from 40,000 feet up in the air. That’s exactly what the IXION windowless jet from Technicon Design is doing.

The firm’s groundbreaking new design has removed windows from the cabin and, using near-future technology, displays the surrounding environment on interior cabin surfaces via external cameras. Not only does this provide incredible views, but greens the aircraft by reducing weight (thereby requiring less fuel and maintenance), simplifying construction, and opening doors for a variety of design possibilities. To boot, expansive solar panels would power the on-board, low-voltage systems, creating a one-of-a-kind visual for the jet’s exterior body.

More on the sky-high design here

Featured Story

Architecture, Features, real estate trends, Starchitecture

cesar pelli, Pelli Clarke Pelli

Growing up just west of the Andes Mountains in the small town of Tucumán in northwest Argentina, Cesar Pelli wasn’t exposed to the vibrant cityscapes that he today helps to shape. He got his start designing low-cost, affordable housing for the Argentine government, which helped him develop an appreciation for each project’s unique sense of place. Breaking from the traditional mold of many world-famous architects, he designed buildings as a response to their neighborhoods, not as a preconceived signature aesthetic.

Now, with a long list of acclaimed international projects to his name, Pelli is lauded for creating structures that honor a city’s history and enrich the local landscape. And here in New York City, home to some of his most celebrated works, the Pelli mark has making an indelible impression on the architecture and real estate fields.

We dive deeper into Cesar Pelli’s past, present, and future

Celebrities, Cool Listings, Interiors, Soho

27 Howard Street, Jonah Hill, Soho cast iron buildings

Looks like celebrities like flipping, too. Just two years after Jonah Hill bought his Soho loft at 27 Howard Street for $2.65 million, he’s put it back on the market for over a million dollars more. Now listed at $3,795,00, this full-floor, 2,000-square-foot pad was originally a two-bedroom when Hill moved in, but it’s currently configured as a massive one-bedroom space. And with an estimated net worth of $30 million, why not spread out and live the good life?

Check out the rest of this A-lister’s digs here

Interiors, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens

historic Brooklyn architecture, 66 Midwood Street, Peter Yost, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Romanesque Revival townhouse

When you’ve traveled the world making documentaries about topics ranging from the “greening” of Big Oil to life in North Korea, you’re probably a little hard to impress. So this circa 1898 Romanesque Revival townhouse really must have made an impression on filmmaker Peter Yost. He and his wife snatched up the circa 1898 house at 66 Midwood Street in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens for $2.3 million according to city records, coming in over the $1,975,000 listing price. The five-bedroom house has been renovated to both preserve its historic elements and provide updated, modern amenities.

Ogle all of the home’s period details

Green Design, Urban Design

Could You Live on a 9 x 18 NYC Public Parking Space?

By Dana Schulz, Thu, August 14, 2014

9 x 18, parking lot ideas, Institute for Public Architecture, NYC parking laws

Earlier this year, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) unveiled new ideas for public housing–in a parking lot on its Atlanta campus. SCADpads, as they’re called, reimagined the common public park space as a solution to the growing need for sustainable, efficient housing worldwide.

Now, a team of architect-fellows at the Institute for Public Architecture are building on the same idea, proposing ways to turn unused public parking spaces in New York City into housing, co-working spaces, bike-share stations, playgrounds, and farmers markets. The group is called 9 x 18, the size of a typical parking spot, and they have reevaluated the current zoning laws surrounding parking and affordable housing, using the Carver Houses in East Harlem neighborhood as a case study.

More about the new ideas

Ditmas Park, Interiors, Recent Sales

454 Rugby Road, Victorian Flatbush, Ditmas Park real estate, NYC Victorian houses

We tend to feature a lot of historic townhouses, and while we love these brownstone beauties, it’s always a treat when we come across the less-common Victorian home. Not surprisingly, this charming, free-standing house is located in Ditmas Park West, part of what is known as Victorian Flatbush. Built in 1905, the home at 454 Rugby Road recently sold for $1,975,000 million according to city records, almost $100,000 above the asking price and not far behind another recent Rugby Road sale that was one of the most expensive in the neighborhood to date.

See why this painted lady is a deserving member of Victorian Flatbush’s Million-Dollar Club

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