6sqft’s series “Where I Work” takes us into the studios, offices, and off-beat workspaces of New Yorkers across the city. In this installment, we take a tour of the Bed-Stuy urban farm Square Roots. Want to see your business featured here? Get in touch!
In a Bed-Stuy parking lot, across from the Marcy Houses (you’ll know this as Jay-Z’s childhood home) and behind the hulking Pfizer Building, is an urban farming accelerator that’s collectively producing the equivalent of a 20-acre farm. An assuming eye may see merely a collection of 10 shipping containers, but inside each of these is a hydroponic, climate-controlled farm growing GMO-free, spray-free, greens–“real food,” as Square Roots calls it. The incubator opened just this past November, a response by co-founders Kimbal Musk (Yes, Elon‘s brother) and Tobias Peggs against the industrial food system as a way to bring local food to urban settings. Each vertical farm is run by its own entrepreneur who runs his or her own sustainable business, selling directly to consumers. 6sqft recently visited Square Roots, went inside entrepreneur Paul Philpott‘s farm, and chatted with Tobias about the evolution of the company, its larger goals, and how food culture is changing.
Take a tour of Square Roots and get the full story from Tobias
Developers are increasingly using art as a way to turn their buildings into more than just stacks of expensive apartments. Many see adding sculptures or installations as ways to activate a place, making it an integral part of the urban experience. But while most are eager to jump on the biggest names in the business, there are others that prefer to look locally for talent, using art as an opportunity to invest in the community in which they are building. One such company is Two Trees Management, which believes that “developers and property-owners must play a fundamental role in cultivating livable streetscapes.” To that end, Two Trees sponsors local creatives to work with them on their buildings, and for one of their most transformative Brooklyn projects, 300 Ashland, they commissioned local artist, designer and product inventor, Adam Frank (who lives less than two miles from the building) to install a stunning, large-scale, mirrored artwork, called LUCID.
Ahead, CityRealty speaks to Frank about his dreamy, out-of-the-box creation, and Lisa Kim, Two Tree’s Cultural Affairs Director, about the company’s community-driven approach to art and real estate.
READ MORE HERE…
Developer and architect Daniel Kohs isn’t one of New York’s heavyweight developers. He’s not one to pursue glossy, big-ticket skyscrapers containing thousands of square feet of ubiquitous space. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just that there’s a lot to be gained from “transformation.” Best yet, preserving the integrity and culture of existing structures, even if they’re humble in size and utility, can be just as profitable. The Danville House at 178 East 94th Street is a product of such transformation. The once-humble garage building has just finished its conversion into an eight-story mansion on a tree-lined side-street in the Upper East Side. Now on the market for $18 million, the single-family abode holds 9,500 square feet of living space finished in a magnificent prewar aesthetic.
Recently, CityRealty had a chance to sit down with Daniel Kohs to learn more about this one-of-a-kind home and the inspiration behind his tasteful addition to Carnegie Hill.
READ THE INTERVIEW WITH DANIEL ON CITYREALTY…
There are a number of towers on the rise poised to change the New York City skyline, but few are anticipated to have an impact as significant as One Vanderbilt. Developed by SL Green and designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), the glassy supertall will extend an incredible 1,401 feet into the clouds to become the city’s third tallest tower (following One World Trade Center and the in-progress Central Park Tower) while also bringing a staggering 1.7 million square feet of office space to Midtown Manhattan. But beyond its height and girth, this massive development is expected to elevate its surroundings a profound way. Indeed, the enshadowed “iconic but aging” district surrounding Grand Central, long-deprived of public space and life beyond weary commuters, will be turned into a verdant block dedicated to all New Yorkers.
6sqft’s interview with the architects this way
Jeff Simpson, the CEO of Greystone Development, is due to celebrate his ten year anniversary with the company this February. In his decade with the real estate firm, founded in 1992, he has overseen Greystone’s reemergence into the New York market by tapping into emerging neighborhoods around the city. Before he joined Greystone, Simpson worked with the Equity Office Properties team, helping reposition a number of their New York City office buildings, and oversaw over $100 million of redevelopment projects for Jones Lang LaSalle.
Simpson has more or less done it all when it comes to real estate, holding roles in investment, construction, engineering and management across all sectors of the market. At Greystone, he oversees the firm’s development team, managing new acquisitions as well as design, construction, sale and leasing. CityRealty spoke with Simpson on how the company has distinguished itself as a New York developer since it ramped up its investments in 2012, taking on projects in City Island, Brooklyn and Harlem. He also filled us in on new projects the company will debut next year—and the one development that’s most meaningful to him.
READ THE INTERVIEW AT CITYREALTY…
Skyscraper heights may be what make news headlines, but at the end of the day it’s the call of a stunning interior that gets a contract signed.
Developers of New York City’s most luxurious buildings understand this well, and it’s why the same bold-faced names in interior design are often associated with the most splendid of buildings. One firm that has firmly cemented its place on this esteemed shortlist is Pembrooke & Ives. Established in 1987 by Andrew Sheinman, Pembrooke & Ives has worked on everything from sprawling lodge interiors in Aspen to outfitting private jets for the world’s 1 percent. And here in NYC, the firm has been involved in designing the interiors for a number of much-talked about residential buildings, including The Chatsworth at 344 West 72nd Street, The Astor at 235 West 75th Street, 155 East 79th Street, and what some call the ultimate Manhattan address, 212 Fifth Avenue (In fact, Alec and Hilaria Baldwin recently toured a $16.6 million spread at the building). Ahead we catch up with founder Andrew Sheinman about the evolution of Pembrooke & Ives, what it’s like to work with game-changing developers like Thor and Madison Equities, what influences his firm’s work, and more.
READ THE INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW AT CITYREALTY…
After working for decades advocating for transit equity and environmental justice at various organizations, Ya-Ting Liu came on board as the Executive Director of Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector. It’s been almost a year since the non-profit advocacy group first released a proposal for a streetcar to run along the borough’s waterfront, and since that time the city has stepped in to back the estimated $2.5 billion project, even appointing a director and creating preliminary maps of the streetcar’s possible routes. As one of several transportation undertakings on the table, the BQX certainly has a big year ahead. 6sqft recently sat down with Ya-Ting To get the scoop on what’s to come, as well as some insider thoughts on the streetcar’s common misconceptions.
Read the full interview this way
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…
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.
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE…
This post has been sponsored by 100 Barclay. To learn more about available condos or to schedule a tour, visit the official 100 Barclay website.
Finished in 1927, 100 Barclay is one of New York City’s most pivotal structures. Designed by one of our country’s most esteemed architects, Ralph Walker, while he was an associate at McKenzie Voorhees & Gmelin, the tower began construction in 1923, during a time marked by a dramatic shift in architecture and the beginning of the Roaring Twenties. Originally known as the Barclay-Vesey Building, the 32-story building ascends to a height of nearly 500 feet, which made it one of the globe’s tallest towers upon completion. The voluminous building was also built as the largest telephone company building in the world, encompassing more than 1.2 million square feet of office and telecommunication space. Its Hugh Ferris-inspired massing, and nature-influenced ornamentation stands as a monument to man’s prowess and the machine age, and is widely recognized by architects and historians to be the first Art Deco skyscraper, a prototypical example of the style in its finest form.
hear from the architects who have worked on this project