In February, the futuristic Pier 55 floating park planned for the Meatpacking District moved forward with a lease deal between the Hudson River Park Trust and a nonprofit group controlled by Barry Diller, the billionaire media mogul who pledged $130 million back in November to fund the $151.8 million park. Diller is allocating the funds through the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation (his wife is fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg), but under the agreement he can pull his support if he feels renovations at neighboring piers aren’t up to par. And according to DNAinfo, the city’s backup plan in this event is quite underwhelming, completely scratching the floating island and creating a $30 million park similar to others along Hudson River Park.
Simply called the Lake House, this unique, hidden getaway by NYC-based Gluck+ is completely immersed in the surrounding Adirondack Mountains. Designed for leaving the stress of urban life behind, it consists of a collection of buildings, each with its own purpose and style. Right at the top of the hill there is the Gatehouse Garage with its wooden skin, there are two smaller prefab Guesthouses within the woods, a big modern Family House and a wooden Boathouse on the lake’s shore. But the most striking building of all is quite difficult to spot; the Recreation Building is concealed under its grassy green roof, sheltering an indoor swimming pool and art gallery.
Fulton Center, one of the many female-led projects at the exhibit
To mark Women’s History Month, a new exhibit at the Center for Architecture will showcase the work of more than 100 female architects, landscape architects, and engineers across the five boroughs. Built by Women New York City (BxW NYC) is a project of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, which started accepting nominations for outstanding female-led design last fall and received 350 submissions.
Among the 98 sites celebrated at the show are the Pepsi Cola Corporate Headquarters on Park Avenue, designed in the 1960s by Natalie de Blois of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; the new Fulton Center, the work of more than two dozen women; and the High Line, another collaborative effort of many females.
Park renderings via Hayes Davidson
In 2011, Rudin Management inked a controversial deal to convert part of St. Vincent’s Hospital into luxury condos, now known as The Greenwich Lane. Part of the deal was that the developer would build a public park on an adjacent piece of triangular land that would include the city’s first major AIDS memorial, a feature that garnered tons of press thanks to a much-talked-about design competition.
Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that Rudin has broken ground on the new 16,000-square-foot West Village green space, located on Seventh Avenue between Greenwich Avenue and West 12th Street. And along with this news comes renderings from M. Paul Friedberg & Partners, the architecture firm that designed the Greenwich Lane and is also designing the park, which show winding walkways, curving benches, plenty of trees, play areas, a lawn, and water jets.
Last we heard about Pier55–the 2.4-acre futuristic floating park and performance space proposed by billionaire media mogul Barry Diller that would jut 186 feet into the Hudson at 13th Street–Community Board 2 had mixed feelings about the project. They liked Thomas Heatherwick’s design, but cited concern over the lack of transparency from Diller and the Hudson River Park Trust.
Despite these feelings, though, we’ve learned today from the Times that the Trust approved a lease agreement with Pier 55 Inc., a nonprofit group controlled by Diller, to help develop the $130 million public space. Diller has already pledged $113 million toward the project through the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation (his wife is fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg). So, what’s next?
Back in June, the Hudson Square Connection (a neighborhood BID) announced their plans to turn Soho Square, the half-acre open space at the intersection of Spring Street and Sixth Avenue in Hudson Square, into a public park. Since then, the Business Improvement District, in partnership with the city and neighborhood stakeholders, has been seeking input from the community to inform the $6 million renovation. Just last night, the design by Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects was presented to the Community Board 2 Parks Committee, and it features sustainable, green infrastructure, storm water management, and more.
Image courtesy of SCAPE / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE PLLC
We know what you’re thinking: what is oyster-tecture, anyway? Just ask Kate Orff, landscape architect and the founding principal of SCAPE Studio. SCAPE is a landscape architecture and urban design office based in Manhattan and specializing in urban ecology, site design, and strategic planning. Kate is also an associate professor of architecture and urban design at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where she founded the Urban Landscape Lab, which is dedicated to affecting positive social and ecological change in the joint built-natural environment.
But the Living Breakwaters project may be the SCAPE team’s most impactful yet. The “Oyster-tecture” concept was developed as part of the MoMA Rising Currents Exhibition in 2010, with the idea of an oyster hatchery/eco-park in the Gowanus interior that would eventually generate a wave-attenuating reef in the Gowanus Bay. Describing the project as, “a process for generating new cultural and environmental narratives,” Kate envisioned a new “reef culture” functioning both as ecological sanctuary and public recreation space.
Riverbank State Park. Image via Dattner Architects
In a city that moves so fast that the Sunday edition of the New York Times comes out on Saturday, it is not surprising that New Yorkers might overlook some interesting factoids. For instance, New York City is home seven state parks! So, instead of enjoying a day inside other state parks filled with the ubiquitous lush greenery and a plethora of activities that might surely mean a couple of hours of driving—cityside state parks are but a subway ride away or possibly a short walk to the likes of the East River State Park on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, the Clay Pit Ponds State Park in Staten Island and the Roberto Clemente State Park in the Bronx.
One of the most popular, with its grassy stretches of pastoral idyll against a spectacular backdrop, is the 28-acre Riverbank State Park near 143rd Street (seen in the two images above). A multi-level facility set 69 feet above the Hudson River on Riverside Drive, it opened in 1993. What’s more, this park is the only one of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Inspired by Japan’s urban rooftop designs, it was created on top of a now-odorless sewage treatment facility on the Hudson.
While beloved by tourists, Times Square is easily the most hated destination for those who actually live in New York City. And it’s no wonder: Shoulder to shoulder traffic, blinding lights, costumed (and un-costumed) characters, honking cars, and not a tree in sight—Times Square is pretty much your worst nightmare come to life. But could this congested consumerist hellscape one day become a place “Real New Yorkers” want to visit?
Last year, the Institute for Rational Urban Mobility and vision42 held a competition asking designers and architects to rethink 42nd Street—from the East River to the Hudson River—as a “pedestrian-friendly, auto-free, sustainable boulevard.” 200 submissions were received, and the institute has just announced the four finalists.
It’s been relatively quiet over the past six weeks or so as far as news about the proposed offshore park and performance space in the Hudson River known as Pier55. But this week, Community Board 2’s Parks and Waterfront Committee reviewed the project, and though they liked Thomas Heatherwick’s design overall, they cited their main concern as transparency.
The board’s issue stems from the fact that billionaire media mogul Barry Diller, who committed $130 million to the 2.7-acre park, and the Hudson River Park Trust had been working secretively for two years on the plans. According to Curbed, committee member Arthur Schwartz said, “Probably the main public critique of this project has been the way that so much of the design was developed in infinite detail before it even became a matter of public knowledge.”