The past decade has seen an increasing effort to transform New York City’s under-utilized–and sometimes dismal–public spaces into pedestrian plazas and other vibrant and attractive public oases. From Columbus Circle and Times Square to Downtown Brooklyn’s Willoughby Street, new car-free spaces encourage passersby to linger and enjoy their surroundings.
Vornado Realty Trust (VNO), one of the city’s biggest landlords, has been working on a similar transformation of the urban sprawl that surrounds Penn Station and Madison Square Garden by implementing kiosks, seating and attractive architecture. Now, CityRealty.com has revealed new renderings from Kenneth Park Architects (KPA) showing their ideas and recommendations for repositioning retail space and optimizing pedestrian and vehicular circulation.
Take a look at the reimagined Penn Plaza
Back in April, we learned that Vornado Realty Trust was hoping to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into revitalizing the Penn Station area with new retail space, public plazas, and other infrastructure. Now, Crain’s reports that the developer has tapped Oslo-based starchitecture firm Snøhetta to handle the overhaul’s master plan, the same architects responsible for the 9/11 Memorial Museum Pavilion and the public plaza in Times Square.
Snøhetta will be responsible for creating a “framework” for both Vornado’s Penn Plaza buildings and the surrounding street-level spaces. And in a similar vein to the recently approved One Vanderbilt scheme at Grand Central, the master plan will include closing off part of West 33rd to vehicular traffic in the hopes of creating a permanent pedestrian plaza near Madison Square Garden.
More details and specifics on the street closures ahead
Earlier today, we learned that Vornado Realty Trust tapped Oslo-based starchitecture firm Snøhetta to create a master plan for the redesign of the Penn Station area. Even the developer referred to Manhattan’s most-hated and most-congested location as “the collision of humanity.” But Snøhetta worked their magic creating the Times Square pedestrian plaza, so we want to know if you think they have what it takes to transform Penn Station from a commuter’s nightmare to a welcoming city streetscape.
Images: Madison Square Garden via Madison Square Garden, Aug. 2012 via photopin (license); Penn Station area
You’ve probably seen the murals of Cuban-American artist José Parlá in the lobbies of One World Trade Center and the Barclays Center. With such high-profile clients, it’s no wonder he worked with starchitecture firm Snøhetta, who completed the 9/11 Memorial Museum Pavilion, to create his personal artist’s studio.
Collaborating together, Parlá and Snøhetta transformed a Gowanus warehouse into a double-height workspace that retains industrial characteristics of the building like beamed ceilings, exposed piping and electrical fixtures, and concrete floors. To tailor the studio to their client’s needs, the firm re-opened old skylights to let natural light in to the middle of the work space, and they painted all the walls neutral grey tones so Parlá’s bright paintings really stand out.
More on the project
Images: 9/11 Memorial Museum pavilion via Snøhetta (L); Mast Brothers chocolate factory via minor9th via photopin cc
Norman Foster’s design for the New York Public Library (NYPL) may have been scrapped, but the library isn’t giving up on the opportunity to turn its space into an innovative learning hub. As the NYPL gears up for a new $300 million renovation plan, they’re turning to a very unlikely locale for their inspiration: The South.
The NYPL is using two high-tech libraries in Tennessee and North Carolina as models for their new spaces at the Schwarzman building and the highly trafficked Mid-Manhattan branch across the street. The renovation will be geared towards the needs of teachers, students and entrepreneurs, and will be designed to support collaborative pursuits within the library walls.
More on the NYPL’s new plans here
It’s amazing when you think about it, the number of people personally touched by the tragedy of 9/11. It seems in the days after the attacks, especially as a New Yorker, you found you had a connection to someone who had perished, either directly or indirectly. It was almost uncanny.
And the phrase “Never Forget” became ubiquitous. As if you ever could.
To ensure we never do, and that those too young to remember will continue to honor the day that changed the world, the 9/11 Memorial Museum at Ground Zero was dedicated today, in advance of its May 21st opening to the general public. Attendees included President Obama and Governor Chris Christie.
Snøhetta’s Light Filled Pavilion greets museum visitors