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 dichotomies: 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.
All posts by Michelle Colman
Before 152 Elizabeth Street, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando had never designed a building in New York City. The ultra-high-end, seven-unit, seven-story Nolita condominium is currently on the rise at the corner of Elizabeth and Kenmare Streets. Every detail of this Ando building reflects the famed architect’s philosophy that, “a living space should be a sanctuary. It has to be a place where you can reflect on your life.” Ando’s signature use of concrete and glass creates a strong yet minimalist beauty that finds balance at a location on the convergence of numerous neighborhoods. As architecture critic Carter Horsley puts it, “152 Elizabeth is not a dramatic masterpiece by one of the world’s greatest architects but a very refined and subtle ‘enclosure’ with wonderful detailing, a delightful surprise in this brand new, gee-whiz world of starchitects.”
The Brooklyn Home Company (THBCo) is a family-run cooperative of artists and builders that develop unique residential spaces in booming Brooklyn. Best described as white and wood but never cookie cutter, their work is always light and airy, and blend modern style with historic elements. It’s this signature style that’s made THBCo a favorite amongst both renovators and Pinterest enthusiasts alike.
But what inspires their designs and how do they decide where to develop projects? Ahead, 6sqft speaks to THBCo’s co-founder and Head of Operations, Bill Caleo, about the business. Find out how this family-run establishment firmly roots itself in working with local makers, how they’ve grown their business model to include sustainability, and why they always add a custom piece of art to all their homes.
New York City is known for its cutthroat housing market but less attention is given to the even more brutal world parking in NYC. As development increases, fewer parking spots exist. Not only do developments fill neighborhoods with more people and, therefore, more demand for parking, it often reduces parking by developing surface lots that had previously been used for parking. It’s the classic problem of increasing demand and decreasing supply. But while plenty of apps have been developed to bring relief through on-demand valet or the crowd-sourcing of vacant street parking, other companies see a more substantial solution that not only adds parking but adds value. Enter The Parking Club—and its six-figure parking spaces.
The Atlantic and the New York Times recently exposed the privately owned public spaces (known as “POPS”) in the Trump Tower as being far from “public.” As both journalists demonstrated, most of the Trump Tower public spaces were either cordoned off or non-existent, most notably, the case of the missing bench. A long bench was supposed to be available to the public in the main lobby but was removed as Donald Trump explained, “due to tremendous difficulties with respect to the bench—drug addicts, vagrants, et cetera have come to the atrium in large numbers. Additionally, all sorts of ‘horrors’ had been taking place that effectively ruined the beautiful ambience of the space which everyone loves so much.” In exchange for providing the POPS, the Trump Tower was able to add roughly 20 extra floors for the 66-story building by including a public atrium, restrooms, two upper-level public gardens and the now replaced bench. So what exactly are POPS, how are they monitored and is there a way to make them more successful?
Google Earth rendering created by CityRealty
It is not often that a single block stands out in a city like New York. But a huge transformation is occurring at the junction of 29th Street. West 29th Street, in between 10th and 11th avenues, is the transition point between three neighborhoods: West Chelsea, Hudson Yards and the Far West Side. The massive changes on West 29th Street are due to the West Chelsea zoning regulations developed in 2005. Foreseeing the seismic Hudson Yards development, Mayor Bloomberg changed the zoning status to allow for more flexible residential and commercial development to ease the transition from West Chelsea to Hudson Yards and the High Line (the zoning area is bounded by Tenth and Eleventh Avenues from West 30th Street south to West 16th Street). Ahead is a closer look at the more than handful of new developments transforming this block.
Some architects just consider the building they are working on. But Eran Chen, the founder and executive director of ODA, Office for Design and Architecture, takes a broader view. Not only does he focus on the specific architecture for each building project but he considers the spaces the building creates, the way the architecture can affect people on emotional levels, and the vitality of the city, all as equally important. Chen’s work evokes cities of the past when amenities were provided by the built environment, not the buildings themselves. He designs with an innovative and sleek modernity while seeking to recreate cities that function as a whole versus disassociated parts.
Ahead CityRealty interviews Eran Chan about how his philosophy fits into his New York City designs.
On this past January 1, the 421-a tax abatement program expired after 44 years in existence. Any new construction permitted before January will still benefit from the program, but many want to know what the expiration of this program mean for new construction? And how will the projects still under the 421-a umbrella use their reduced tax status to promote their buildings? While some experts feel that shutting down the abatement was an action long overdue, many others believe that the program’s end has prompted “a self-created recession.”
Every four years, in the lead up to the presidential election, a new group of voters declare they will leave the country if their candidate does not get elected. According to the Google Data Editor Simon Rogers, searches for “how can I move to Canada” spiked 350 percent following March’s Super Tuesday results.
But, in the run-up to the presidential election, is there any evidence that New Yorkers will either decamp from Trump properties—this is, after all, a city where dozens of high-rise properties bear his name—or leave the city altogether?
Ah, the Second Avenue Subway. It’s been the topic of discussion for over 96 years (yes, the line has been in the works since 1920) and it is finally nearing completion despite reports of delays due to last minute design changes and absentee workers. But the question is, will the Second Avenue subway revitalize the Upper East Side?
Wednesday Martin, the author of the eye-opening, amusing and often shocking anthropological memoir of life on the Upper East Side, “Primates of Park Avenue,” says, “What a lot of people who don’t live here don’t know, and what many of us who do live here know, is that there is not one Upper East Side. There are at least two. The Upper East Side west of Lexington has pretty much always been and remains expensive, fancy, and established. It is the eastern UES or FEUES (Far East Upper East Side; or Yorkville) that has undergone so many demographic shifts—from slum to chic to post college kids to young families. The Second Avenue subway will bring another shift.”