The Van Alen Institute has convened its new International Council of architecture, planning, and design leaders in Venice, Italy during the Biennale this month. The inaugural group represents 13 firms from across more than 17 cities and ten countries. Five of these Council members have offices in NYC — Allied Works Architecture, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), Jan Gehl Architects, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, and Snohetta.
At first glance, there’s nothing particularly unique about the facade of this white brick townhouse, but take a second look and you’ll see that there’s more to the building than meets the eye. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that the protruding bay windows aren’t made from ordinary frames, but from sections of stainless steel truck bodies.
The recycled windows are a signature of LOT-EK, the studio that owners Lawrence and Alice Weiner hired to re-do their Greenwich Village townhouse. Founded in 1993 by Columbia University grads Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Liganano, the New York and Naples-based firm has become known for its sustainable approach to construction and architecture, namely the use of upcycled steel containers.
New York has a lot of old buildings. Perhaps surprisingly, many of those buildings are actually houses (yes, like real houses). These remnants of the early Dutch farming days can be spotted throughout the five boroughs, as can churches, apartments and “skyscrapers” from earlier times. We’ve rounded up some of the city’s oldest structures. Test your knowledge and see how many you’re familiar with ahead. And while you’re at it, make plans to visit one of these historic landmarks the next time you’re out and about.
The Philip Johnson-designed Sony Tower at 550 Madison Avenue, one of the most notable postmodern office towers in New York City, is set to be partially converted to high-end condos, as states planes filed by developer Chetrit Group. It’s not known which of the building’s 37 floors the residential units will occupy, but Chetrit, led by Joseph Chetrit, has said in the past that it will convert the upper floors and either keep the lower floors as offices or turn them into a luxury hotel.
Construction likely won’t begin for at least one to two years since Sony still leases office space. When the developer purchased the building from Sony in 2013 for $1.1 billion at auction, Sony committed to remaining in the offices for around three years until moving to a new space near Madison Square. Chetrit outbid 21 rivals and paid $685 million more for the building than Sony did in 2002.
And it’s official: After going into contract December of last year, Penthouse IV in the illustrious Puck Penthouses at 295 Lafayette has closed for $28 million, according to city records filed yesterday afternoon. The penthouse is the second largest in the penthouse-only building (there are six overall), with more than 5,900 square feet of space, 3BR/5.5BA, and a whopping 2,000 square feet of terraces overlooking a garden.
Four of the Puck’s five other penthouses have yet to be listed, but they are anticipated to sell for between $21 million and $60 million. The Puck is one of burgeoning real estate tycoon Jared Kushner‘s many luxury residential undertakings, and this particular project transforms the interior of a landmarked building into what the Puck official site has dubbed as “limited edition” properties.
Infamous Greenwich Village Townhouse with an Explosive Past (and Funny Facade) to be Reconstructed by New Owner, Mon, June 9, 2014
At a glance, the quirky notched and jutting façade of the townhouse at 18 West 11th Street in Greenwich Village seems to be the only remarkable thing about the building. But dig a little deeper and the address’s rich history tells the tale of a city brimming with wealth and culture – and once even something a bit sinister.
Justin Korsant of Long Light Capital recently purchased the home for $9.25 million and has plans to reconstruct it. But will the renovation of this building wipe out its incredible past?
Photo by John-Paul Palescandolo
In New York, many of the grand Beaux-Arts masterpieces — Grand Central Terminal, the Queensboro Bridge, the City Hall subway station, Columbia University, and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine — have one striking element in common: Guastavino tiles. Spanish architect and builder Rafael Guastavino and his son Rafael Jr. brought with them to New York at the end of the 19th century a Mediterranean design technique from the 14th century for thin-tile structural vaulting. The expertly engineered and architecturally beautiful vaults were lightweight, fireproof, load-bearing, cost-efficient, and able to span large interior areas.
Today there are over 250 Guastavino works in New York City alone, not to mention the 1,000 throughout the U.S. The Museum of the City of New York’s current exhibition, Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile, explores Guastavinos’s spaces in New York and showcases “never-before-seen objects, artifacts, photographs, and documents.” We couldn’t help doing a little Guastavino exploration ourselves, and have put together some of our favorite tiled sites that you can actually visit.
Frank Lloyd Wright has put his stamp on some of the world’s most famous and recognizable structures, including New York City’s own Guggenheim Museum.
But did you know the prolific architect was also the forefather of a revolutionary style of residential housing that informed the airy, open floor plans seen in many modern homes today? Wright’s Prairie style took hold in the Midwest during the early 20th-century and quickly spread across the country, profoundly influencing the built landscape we know today. If you’ve ever wanted to live in an iconic Wright home, this could be your chance: One of the few prefab Prairie homes designed by the architect has hit the market, and it’s just a quick half-hour drive from Manhattan.
Turning a grand three-loft townhouse into a functional two-family home was no easy task for the architects at Fractal Construction. Built in 1848 and owned by the Isaly family, the Gramercy building was steeped in history and the many problems that come with old age.
Not only did Fractal’s Ulises Liceaga have to re-design the former triplex into two dwellings, he also had to replace the basics, like the electrical and plumbing systems. Liceaga added an entire new floor to make sure each family had enough space and gave each apartment open floor plans that connected the living room, kitchen and dining room.
Will New York City be taking a cue from Paris Plages?
Living in the city doesn’t mean giving up the pleasures of nature — at least that’s how Blayne Ross sees it. The entrepreneur, along with his buddies Matt Berman and Andrew Kotchen of workshop/apd and Nathaniel Stanton of Craft Engineering, have conjured up a plan that will bring an artificial beach to a site on the Hudson River by 2016. The new “beach” would boast a food court, retail, and apparently a surf shop in case you forget your bathing suit (assuming you’re brave enough to take a dip in the Hudson).