Urban Design

Brooklyn Heights, Green Design, Top Stories, Urban Design

Rendering via Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

You won’t need to see more than a few renderings and photos of new park space slated for Brooklyn Bridge Park to feel ready for summertime. First posted by Curbed from the park’s landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, renderings show the final design for one of the last undeveloped sections of the park between Montague and Joralemon streets. Known as the Pier 5 uplands, the hilly green space will be comprised of a stepped lawn, shaded grove, waterfront seating and new entrance off Joralemon Street. A sound-dampening berm will reduce noise from the nearby roadways. And it’s all on track to wrap construction right before summer.

More images and details this way

Architecture, History, maps, Urban Design

Though it might seem that each recent generation attempts to take credit for the rise of the futuristic “skyscraper,” buildings that rise ten floors or higher were born with the Gilded Age. “Ten & Taller: 1874-1900,” on view through April 2017 at the Skyscraper Museum in Battery Park City examines every single building 10 stories and taller that was erected in Manhattan between 1874 through 1900 (h/t Curbed). Beginning in the mid-1870s, the city’s first ten-story office buildings rose on masonry to 200 feet high with spires that stretched 60 more feet. By 1900 New York City could boast of 250 buildings at least as tall; the world’s tallest office building was the thirty-story 15 Park Row; framed with steel, it soared to 391 feet. As technology brought elevators and new methods of construction, the vertical expansion was becoming a forest of tall towers.

Follow the city’s march skyward

Art, Major Developments, Midtown West, Urban Design

vessel-thomas-heatherwick

Back in September, Related Companies chairman Stephen Ross finally unveiled the large-scale artwork that would anchor the central public space within Hudson Yards. As Ross revealed, Thomas Heatherwick was chosen to design the piece, and it would cost an incredible $150 million to build. Dubbed “The Vessel,” the climbable sculpture would rise 16-stories—150 feet tall, 50 feet wide at its base and 150 feet wide at the top—and consist of a web of 154 concrete and steel staircases with 2,500 steps, 80 landings and an elevator; the piece, in fact, so massive that it could comfortably accommodate 1,000 visitors at a time. The sculpture was to be constructed in Monfalcone, Italy before being shipped to its home on the Hudson River. And now CityRealty reports that parts of what Ross once called “New York’s Eiffel Tower” have officially arrived at the site and await assembly.

More photos this way

City Living, Urban Design

Just as New York’s population is a melting pot of ethnicities, the city’s tree population is just as diverse. A new interactive chart from Cloudred give us a look at how tree genus breaks down across the five boroughs. As seen above, if one zooms in on the largest chunks of graph across Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx, it becomes quickly apparent that maple, oak, pear, and planetree trees have their roots firmly planted in the ground—as do a bunch of “unknowns,” which account for about 14 percent of the city’s total tree population.

find out more here

Gowanus, Urban Design

Under the Tracks Playground, Kentile Floors sign, Gowanus Alliance, Loci Architecture, Gowanus by Design

Renderings via Loci Architecture

Two summers ago, the Gowanus Alliance teamed up with Gowanus by Design on their vision to transform the land underneath the elevated subway tracks on 10th Street between Second and Third Avenues into a public park that would serve as a home for the iconic but dismantled Kentile Floors sign. Now that the MTA has completed its repairs on the tracks above, Brooklyn Paper reports that the group has tapped Loci Architecture for preliminary renderings of what this space, dubbed Under the Tracks Playground, could look like.

Find out more this way

Featured Story

Features, Transportation, Urban Design

New York clocks in more steps on average than any other state in the country, and that number is most definitely skewed by New York City where more residents hit the pavement than the gas pedal. But in a town that’s seemingly dominated by pedestrians, car culture maintains the right of way. According to Vision Zero, NYC’s program to reduce traffic-related fatalities, being struck by a vehicle is the leading cause of injury-related death for children under 14, and the second leading cause for seniors.

Providing more public space for pedestrians has become an increasing concern for the city over the last decade, and as such, a multitude of plans have been put forward to create sanctuaries from traffic or to reconfigure streets to keep people safe. But beyond preventing traffic accidents, by planting more trees, expanding sidewalks and bike paths, and installing seating, these urban renewal projects have also been key in promoting walking, biking, health and ultimately a more desirable and habitable New York City.

see more here

Gowanus, New Developments, Urban Design

City eyes Gowanus Canal as the next ‘Little Venice’

By Michelle Cohen, Thu, December 29, 2016

gowanus canal at bond

Rezoning and the promise of public right-of-way on the west Brooklyn Superfund canal could bring an esplanade like Williamsburg’s, a recreation area and lots of new development. The light-industrial zone wedged between pricey Park Slope and Carroll Gardens hasn’t accurately been a polluted flyover zone for decades, but the fact that it now boasts a flagship Whole Foods with a rooftop farm hasn’t gone unnoticed. As 6sqft reported recently, the canal-side enclave, despite the sometimes-fragrant waterway in its midst, is on a par with its neighbors as one of the city’s most expensive neighborhoods. Now Crain’s tells of rezoning plans and lucrative developments that could open the door for a public esplanade and waterfront amenities like those along the Hudson and the East River.

Find out more about the Gowanus rezoning plans

Featured Story

City Living, Features, Policy, Urban Design

mao of nyc pops

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?

READ MORE AT CITYREALTY…

Landscape Architecture, Tribeca, Urban Design

pier-26-olin-studio-17

It was announced just over a year ago that starchitect Rafael Viñoly would donate his services to the Hudson River Park Trust to design an estuarium, a science education and research center, at the base of Tribeca‘s Pier 26. Now, Tribeca Citizen has brought us the first set of conceptual renderings of the $30 million Pier, which don’t include Viñoly’s building (other than as a placeholder), but show how landscape architects OLIN will transform the 800-foot pier between North Moore and Hubert Streets into a ecological park, complete with huge lounge net areas, sports fields, expansive lawns, a river esplanade, sandy dunes, wetlands to attract birds and wildlife, and elevated tree-lined pathways that are “inspired by being in the woods,” according to DNAinfo.

See all the renderings

Featured Story

Architecture, Features, Interviews, Urban Design

kenneth lewis of som

In 1986, Kenneth Lewis began his career architecture firm SOM as a mere junior designer. Now fast forward to present day and Lewis can be found at the front-lines of the globally recognized company serving as a partner. Over his 30-year tenure with SOM, Lewis has been in involved in the realization of game-changing developments like the Time Warner Center, 7 and One World Trade Center, 250 West 55th Street, and the Manhattan West Development. Promoting SOM’s work in sustainable design has also been a longtime passion for Lewis who serves, too, as the principal of the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology, or CASE, a research collaboration between SOM and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. CASE focuses on the development of sustainable new technologies in material science, building systems, and construction.

In many ways, Lewis’ work goes beyond simply building; it speaks to the way people live and work and the elements that foster health and happiness. Ahead, CityRealty speaks to the architect about his career, and how he and his team at SOM approach designing in a storied but dynamic metropolis that often poses unique challenges.

READ THE INTERVIEW WITH KENNETH LEWIS…

Policy, Urban Design

redcawards

NYC will get a big boost thanks to Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council competitions, a six-year-old initiative that provides “ground-up” funding driven by a community’s success in improving quality of life and growing the local economy. New York City was named a “top performer” by the administration and awarded $80.2 million. The hefty sum will be allocated towards 121 projects across all five boroughs, including $1 million to build a tech incubator facility in Brooklyn, $1 million for a shuttle-bus service for the Brooklyn Navy Yard, $2.1 million to support the Green Point Manufacturing and Design Center, and $1.24 million to complete the final section of the Brooklyn Bridge Park beneath the bridge. Money will also go towards brownfield clean-up, supporting workforce expansion in local organizations, job training, and improving parks in low-income neighborhoods.

find out more

City Living, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design

seward-park

Next year, urban planners across the country will have a handy new tool at their disposal to help better inform them on the placement of parks and other recreation in their respective cities. Together with ESRI, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) have been developing a new website called ParkServe that has culled park data from nearly 14,000 parks across the country. As Statescoop shares, in addition assisting in park planning through open-space advocacy and research, the new site will help citizens take advantage of, and have a say in the development of, local parks.

more on the new site

Art, Urban Design, West Village 

nyc-aids-memorial

When the AIDS epidemic struck in the 1980s, New York City was the first place in the country to report a case, and in the years following, the area around Greenwich Village had more cases and deaths than anywhere in the city. The now-shuttered St. Vincent’s Hospital at 11th Street and Seventh Avenue South became known as the “ground zero” of the epidemic; it was the nation’s second institution to treat HIV, and its staff of Catholic nuns refused to turn away any patient. To commemorate this effort and honor those who were lost, the city has today, on World AIDS Day, dedicated the new $6 million NYC AIDS Memorial, located in St. Vincent’s Triangle, across from the old hospital site (h/t Curbed). Designed by architecture firm Studio a + i, the 18-foot geometric steel canopy hovers above granite pavers by visual artist Jenny Holzer that feature selections from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.”

See images of the new memorial and today’s dedication

adaptive reuse, Green Design, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, Williamsburg

Maker Park, Bushwick Inlet Park, Williamsburg Waterfront, Bayside Oil Depot

Plans for Bushwick Inlet Park, a 28-acre open space along an unused industrial stretch of the Williamsburg waterfront, first came about in 2005, when the Bloomberg administration rezoned the area to allow for new residential development in exchange for the open space. Fast forward to last week, and the city finally acquired the last piece of land for the project, the controversial Citistorage site. Now that the park is on its way to becoming a reality, a trio of grassroots creatives hopes to bring their alternative vision for the former Bayside Oil Depot site to the forefront. Maker Park is the proposal to adaptively reuse this seven-acre parcel’s architectural infrastructure–namely the ten 50-foot decommissioned fuel containers–and create a “park as creative as the neighborhood around it.” The Architect’s Newspaper recently revealed the first set of renderings, which showcase performance venues, art galleries, hanging gardens, reflecting pools, and an adventure playground.

More views and design details

Construction Update, Landscape Architecture, Meatpacking District, Urban Design

pier55-columns-6sqft-1

Current view of Pier55 site, via 6sqft

Now that the Barry Diller-funded Pier 55 offshore park can proceed freely, the Wall Street Journal took a look at how construction is progressing on the $200 million project. Currently, the 535 concrete columns, each three feet wide and ranging from 70 to 200 feet long, that will support the 2.75-acre park have been erected, poking out of the Hudson River amidst the historic wooden piles that once supported Pier 54, where the Titanic was supposed to dock (these will remain to sustain marine life development). On top of them will be pots, “hollow pentagonal forms” that weigh as much as 60 tons and will be “linked with concrete to create a rectangular platform of about 104,000 square feet.”

More new details this way

Architecture, Staten Island, Urban Design

In early October, the New York Wheel welcomed its four massive legs at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park—the first physical components of the project to find their way to NYC. Now another milestone has been met, as Friday marked the first delivery of parts to the official Staten Island construction site. According a press release, two of the wheel’s four pedestals have been unloaded, and another two will arrive later this week.

check out the photos

Architecture, Central Park South, Midtown, Urban Design

432 park, 432 park avenue, rafael vinoly, 432 park lighting design

Just in case you had trouble spotting the Western Hemisphere’s tallest residential tower, beginning Monday, 432 Park Avenue will debut a brand new lighting feature that will turn the 1,396-foot supertall into a glowing beacon. As LLNYC reports, 32 LEDs will fill the tower’s five open-air “drum floors” where the building’s mechanicals are situated. 432 Park‘s starchitect, Rafael Viñoly, worked with HDLC Architectural Lighting Design to develop the scheme.

more details here

Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design

Statue of Liberty Museum, FXFOWLE, Liberty Island, NYC museum design

It’s full steam ahead for the FXFOWLE-designed Statue of Liberty Museum. Per the Journal, The National Park service approved plans on Wednesday to erect the free-standing structure on Liberty Island. The development team broke ground on the project in early October and at the same time releasing renderings of what would eventually rise on the site. As 6sqft previously reported, the $70 million museum is being helped along by Diane von Furstenberg, who has been named the honorary “godmother” of the project. Von Furstenberg is currently spearheading fundraising efforts for the museum and hopes to secure $100 million from donors for the development. Von Furstenberg, along with her husband Barry Diller, are also in the midst of pushing another civic project forward, Pier55 Park.

find out more here

Major Developments, Midtown West, Transportation, Urban Design

When developers at Brooklyn Capital Partners and designers at AE Superlab revealed their proposal to erect the world’s tallest free-fall ride atop Penn Station, it seemed like perhaps a commentary on Governor Cuomo’s big-ticket overhaul of the station. But in fact, the team hoped their 1,200-foot Halo, as it’s being called, would rise along with the renovations, serving as “an interactive beacon for the city.” As 6sqft reported, “the ride’s 11 cars… could be modified to move as quickly as 100 miles per hour giving it a top-to-base free fall of about six seconds.” A freshly uncovered video shows this in action, and a new project website provides more details on the logistical components, 20-month construction time period, and $130 million in annual projected revenue.

Plenty more details this way

Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Transportation, Urban Design

crains-ideas-summit2016

With New York City’s population on its way to nine million, the city’s infrastructure may be impressive, but it has its limits–including red tape and resource shortages–that will make it difficult to withstand the projected surge. Reminding us of the transformative innovations of Robert Moses–he of the big ideas and ego to match–Crains invited 12 firms who make their living wrangling infrastructure to hit us with some big ideas. Ahead of the upcoming summit, “Getting Ready for 9 Million New Yorkers,” they’ve shared these visions for future (bigger, better) New York from top architects, designers and real estate experts. Ideas include some that have already proven themselves (repurposing existing track beds) and some already in the works (Bushwick’s Rheingold brewery project) to others that Robert Moses might not love (shrinking the city’s highways).

Take a look at these futuristic ideas for moving the city forward.

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