Participate in Archtober 2012 as the architect of a Building of the Day!

Archtober 2012 is coming! Archtober is soliciting nominations for projects to be included in the month-long festival of architecture in New York City. Each day in October 2012, we will feature a Building of the Day, which will be published in the Archtober blog, appear in the series calendar, and will have a day-of lunchtime tour.

Last year, Buildings of the Day were chosen from among the publicly accessible projects that received AIANY Design Awards in the previous year. This year, we’re inviting any architect to nominate their own built work for possible inclusion in the Building of the Day program.

Please submit one photo (with credit) and a brief description (225 words) of your built project. The building can be located in any of the five boroughs of New York City, and does not need to be a recently completed project. The building must be publicly accessible, and available for a lunchtime public tour in October 2012. The building must be submitted by the architect, who is responsible for clearing the copyrights of the images submitted. The deadline for the first round is March 29th, 2012.

Please email submissions to archtober@aiany.org, with the subject line “Building of the Day.”

Building of the Day #30: Brooklyn Bridge Park

Building of the Day #30: Brooklyn Bridge Park
1 Main Street
Brooklyn, NY


© Laura Ann Trimble/Center for Architecture

The snow from Saturday’s October storm did not keep us from enjoying a sunny tour of the Brooklyn Bridge Park for Sunday’s Building of the Day. The closing of “swing valley” was the only sign of the prior day’s storm (note the strange juxtaposition of autumn’s red leaves in the shot of the snowy playground).

We walked the one mile span of the park with Ellen Ryan, senior staff member of Brooklyn Bridge Park and Danielle Choi of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the landscape architecture firm that designed the park. It was not your average walk in the park – starting with Pier 6 and working our way toward Pier 1, we had a sneak preview of the piers that have yet to undergo redevelopment. Wet suits hanging to dry were the sign of the underwater work of highly trained divers who are reinforcing the 1100 piles dating from the 1950s that support a 5 acre pier the size of Bryant Park. Next fall it will open as sports fields. Long walks to reach a game will be offset by the fantastic views of lower Manhattan.


© Laura Ann Trimble/Center for Architecture

Walking from South to North, the selected vegetation for Pier 6 is “wild but calculated,” and by the northern end the park becomes less heavily planted and rugged. Recreation varies from playgrounds to volleyball courts and kayaking in the summer, to even a merry-go-round (enclosed in a glass pavilion designed by Jean Nouvel for year round use).


© Laura Ann Trimble/Center for Architecture
© Laura Ann Trimble/Center for Architecture

There is no doubt that every effort was made to produce as sustainable a park as possible. Luxurious yellow leaf pine from the former industrial site was transformed into elegant streamlined benches. The tall lighting fixtures, a reference to the former industry, are the first lights in a city park to utilize dimmers. Storm water collected on site is used for irrigation and accounts for 70% of the park’s water needs. A 15 mile greenway that cuts through the park supports sustainable transportation of bikes and pedestrians.


© Laura Ann Trimble/Center for Architecture

The waterfront-lined Brooklyn Bridge Park, even on a cold fall day, is a fantastic public amenity. There is much there to enjoy, and with the strategic vision of the 2005 masterplan in mind, still more coming.  Like our weekend visit to the High Line, Brooklyn Bridge Park showed signs of success as a wedding photo backdrop. And it’s worth noting that dogs that stay on the paths are welcome.
 

Laura Ann Trimble is the Partnership Programs Coordinator at the AIANY/Center for Architecture. A native of Indianapolis, she moved to New York upon graduation from Princeton with a degree in art history (AB 2007). Previously she worked for Richard Meier & Partners. As an artist she draws and paints architectural scenes of daily life. She is part of the team initiating Archtober: Architecture and Design Month NYC. ltrimble@aiany.org

© Edith Bellinghausen

Building of the Day #31: Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Lawn and Lincoln Ristorante, Lincoln Center

Building of the Day #31: Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Lawn and Lincoln Ristorante
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
New York, NY


© Laura Ann Trimble/Center for Architecture

Archtober draws to a close today with our last Building of the Day, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Lawn and Lincoln Ristorante at Lincoln Center. Diller Scofidio + Renfro authored the project in collaboration with FXFOWLE. Our tour today was led by Zoe Small, AIA, LEED AP, of DS+R. An able tour guide, she knew precisely where each duct and sprinkler pipe was tucked in under that tilted, warped platter of slightly soggy grass. The lawn is both high and low. High in concept—a peeling back of the surface of the plinth on which all of the ensemble buildings of the cultural center rest—and low in use…that freak snowstorm has it off limits, yet again.


© Laura Ann Trimble/Center for Architecture

The restaurant interior felt forced. Travertine-colored leather chairs that sat like slabs of stone, travertine inspired carpet in places, Portuguese limestone in others, still more mahogany elsewhere. The large-scale print of the purplish hemicycle banquettes (also pretty stiff in the seat) was re-echoed in a patterned interlayer on glass cheek walls at the lower, formerly a bar, now private dining level. Much ado was made about the cantilevered toilets inset into the mirror wall “floating” off the back walls of the individual bathrooms. Why? I wondered.


© Laura Ann Trimble/Center for Architecture


© Laura Ann Trimble/Center for Architecture

But that didn’t stop Archtober 11 1/2" Fashion Doll, who made her public debut today. With all due respect to the creators of a similar “I can be” Architect doll, we thought that our gal needed to be a bit tougher to stand up to all of the challenges of such a demanding career.

See you next year!


© Edith Bellinghauser/Center for Architecture

Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, is the Managing Director of the Center for Architecture. She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989-2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell. After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson, held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater. She is spearheading Archtober: Architecture and Design Month NYC. Cynthia created the Archtober 11 1/2" Fashion Doll: she sports a custom hand made leather jacket with an Archtober Golden Rectangle, wool pants, and racy slingbacks. ckracauer@aiany.org

Building of the Day #29: NYC Information Center

Building of the Day #29: NYC Information Center
810 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY


© Ben Kracauer

Neither snow, nor rain... your intrepid Archtober team made it through the snowy October nor’easter to visit the Official NYC Information Center at the Times Square Alliance, designed by WXY architecture + urban design and Local Projects and run by NYC & Company. Alas, our architect tour guide didn't.


© Ben Kracauer


© Ben Kracauer

In the street level space sneeze guards in the shape of large, suspended three-dimensional lower-case "i”s keep unwanted reflections from obscuring the interactive map tables in the center of the room. Old fashioned brochure racks for paper flyers are on each side wall.

One stroke of your iPhone or iPad makes these cumbersome tables with their info pucks look so 2008! (A moment of silence, please, for Steve Jobs.) Still, the organization behind the effort is first rate, and we appreciate all of their help.


© Ben Kracauer

The NYC Information Center was one of the first stops we made when we were launching our idea of a month-long curated calendar and festival of architecture and design in New York City. Upstairs from the retail area are scores of NYC & Company marketing whizzes and PR geniuses who work hard every day to assist the 50 million tourists who visit each year, and who are so vital to our city's economy. We wanted to do our part, too, to let the world know that design is one of our great exports, and that we are home to 40,000 hard working folks in design and related industries...no other city comes close! So, it’s quite fitting to be rounding the end of our first festival with one of our first stops.

Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, is the Managing Director of the Center for Architecture. She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989-2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell. After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson, held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater. She is spearheading Archtober: Architecture and Design Month NYC. ckracauer@aiany.org

© Ben Kracauer

Building of the Day #28: The Standard

Building of the Day #28: The Standard
848 Washington Street
New York, NY


© Daniel B.F. Fox/Center for Architecture


© Daniel B.F. Fox/Center for Architecture

The new AIA Guide to New York describes The Standard as an “open cocktail cabinet in concrete.” Designed by Ennead Architects (formerly Polshek Partnership the 18-story, 337-room hotel stands tall over the High Line, and stands high in surrounding Chelsea. While it was under construction, I kept thinking that Le Corbusier (remember his Archtober 6th Birthday?) had come back from the dead to put a bend in and a gloss on his 1947 Unité d’Habitation.

Instead of deeply recessed machines for living hiding in the shade of the brise soleil, The Standard brings all that indoor action right out to its face of glass. So much so that neighbors have spotted folks in the all-together cavorting within. The shiny black bathrooms servicing the Boom Boom Room have floor to ceiling glass and mirrors….Mercifully, we had recovered from the Heritage Ball last night.

I liked the outdoor space that is adjacent on a slightly elevated plane to the High Line. Framed by the concrete piloti that support the mass of the building above, the space is both connected and separate–and definitely part of the scene.

It’s just so hip on the High Line.

Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, is the Managing Director of the Center for Architecture. She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989-2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell. After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson, held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater. She is spearheading Archtober: Architecture and Design Month NYC. ckracauer@aiany.org

© Daniel B.F. Fox/Center for Architecture

Building of the Day #27: David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center

Building of the Day #27: David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center
61 West 62 Street
New York, NY


© Center for Architecture

In the spring of 2011, we featured all of the splendid new projects at Lincoln Center in the Center for Architecture’s Helfand Gallery to celebrate a special “Best in Show” award. It was an opportunity to recognize a grand re-vision for the epicenter of performance culture in New York City. One of the featured projects is today’s building of the day: the David Rubenstein Atrium designed by Tod Williams, FAIA, and Billie Tsien, AIA. With their characteristic attention to materiality, original textural sensibilities, and a blazing yellow ceiling, the Rubenstein Atrium connects Broadway and Columbus Avenue in its new life as a public visitor center, ticket sales, and tasty café.


© Center for Architecture

Free Wi-Fi in its 30-foot-high garden-walled café keeps a lot of other folks permanently ensconced. A long media wall projects images and information about Lincoln Center programs. The atrium also hosts a series of free concerts. The chairs are comfortable, and the food is good. This is a space in which to linger.

I didn’t want to leave, either.

Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, is the Managing Director of the Center for Architecture. She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989-2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell. After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson, held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater. She is spearheading Archtober: Architecture and Design Month NYC. ckracauer@aiany.org

© Edith Bellinghausen/Center for Architecture

Building of the Day #26: Sperone Westwater Gallery

Building of the Day #26: Sperone Westwater Gallery
257 Bowery
New York, NY


© Daniel B.F. Fox/Center for Architecture

 


© Daniel B.F. Fox/Center for Architecture

Is this building a machine? Is it a container? A red moving room tracks up and down like a strange piston, revealed by the sheer translucent window wall. NO FLOORS? A single slot of vertical space is seemingly suspended at the street, above a black recessed base. I was just out in Los Angeles for Pacific Standard Time—LACMA has one of those red rovers, too. Apparently it is an “amusement ride” in the Building Code.  Curiously, it is the opposite of the glass elevator, where you can see from whence you ascend. But ascend we do, into three stories of flawlessly lit galleries, with just enough refined detail to seem elegant, not Spartan. Offices of remote owners, registrars, and a library are in the higher set back floors.


© Daniel B.F. Fox/Center for Architecture


© Daniel B.F. Fox/Center for Architecture

The word that popped into my mind when discussing the Sperone Westwater gallery building by Foster + Partners and associated architects Adamson Associates, was “singular.” As I tried to tease out what I meant over a delicious lunch of gourmet burgers at DBGB Kitchen & Bar, I found myself describing a notion of “oneness”: my way of expressing a unity of function, form, and detail that are all mutually reinforcing. It’s a tall narrow building. The curtain wall module is tall and narrow. The seemingly translucent glass on the Bowery façade is created by vertical lines that further emphasize the vertical proportion. The corrugated black metal rear panels are also oriented so that the ribs are vertical.  There’s a single window slot straight up the center of the back. The entrance is in the middle, through a black painted metal street level that has vertical bars in the doors. The ascending red room is above, the actual pistons clad in specular stainless steel. I jokingly observed that unwelcome unwashed visitors could be crushed in the black and silver ante-chamber to the blazing white gallery beyond.


© Daniel B.F. Fox/Center for Architecture


© Cynthia Kracauer; Daniel B.F. Fox/Center for Architecture

And what a splendid gallery! Just as all the visual information on the façade is about the vertical attenuation of its members, the architectural moves in the gallery space serve to lengthen the apparent trajectory in the horizontal plane—and we get a notional cross axis—always pretty difficult to do in such a narrow slot. The graceful piano curves of the balcony above softly suggest the lightwells of the surrounding tenements, while at the same time allowing for a 27’ tall wall for larger works. A skylit slot at the back terminates the long box with a wash of natural light. I said wow.

Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, is the Managing Director of the Center for Architecture. She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989-2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell. After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson, held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater. She is spearheading Archtober: Architecture and Design Month NYC. ckracauer@aiany.org

Building of the Day #25: Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center

Building of the Day #25: Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
1941 Broadway (on 65th St between Broadway & Amsterdam)
New York, NY


© Cynthia Kracauer/Center for Architecture

Rather than add a few hundred more words to the tens of thousands already devoted to praise the Diller Scofidio + Renfro/FXFOWLE renovation of the Julliard School and Alice Tully Hall, I think today that I will remember the original architect, Pietro Belluschi (1899-1994). As a young faculty member at the University of Virginia, I got to know his work a bit. He designed the UVA School of Architecture. The building was muscular, had clear structure, and well expressed the late 1960s/early ‘70s last gasps of Brutalism.

Belluschi was born in Italy, where he earned a degree in civil engineering at the University of Rome. When an opportunity came to move to Portland, Oregon, in the 1920s, he took a position in the architectural office of A.E. Doyle, eventually rising to full partner after the founders passed away. Eventually he gave up his Portland practice to take on the deanship at MIT in 1951. The academic position enabled him to consult on many interesting projects, including with Walter Gropius on the Pan Am Building (now Met Life), and with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill on a number of projects.

He designed the Julliard School and Alice Tully Hall, a travertine clad essay in late Brutalism which opened in 1969. In 1972, he received the AIA Gold Medal—the highest individual award given by the AIA. You can still see his handiwork—mutated and dematerialized by the expansion of the Julliard School out to Broadway.


© Cynthia Kracauer/Center for Architecture


© Cynthia Kracauer/Center for Architecture

Benjamin Gilmartin, AIA, of Diller Scofidio + Refro, and acoustician Mark Holden of JaffeHolden conducted today’s tour of the Hall—so there was a lot of talk about the finer points of its acoustics. Holden noted that the original hall had what he called “B+” acoustics, but that because of the aging of the original wood interior—likened by Gilmartin to that of the General Assembly chamber at the United Nations—the sound had lost its “sheen and clarity.” A lot was made of the “intimacy” of the hall. It is covered with a “superskin,” it “blushes” as veneer composite panels are illuminated from behind.


© Cynthia Kracauer/Center for Architecture

I liked the portrait of Alice Tully, standing tall in gold-encrusted evening garb at the age of 80 with her trusty white moppet of a pooch resting at her feet sporting tiny blue satin bows on his ears. She elegantly greets the donors as they proceed to the upper level lobby with the outdoor balcony. It was in use as a conference room when we passed through. Surprisingly underwhelming finishes up there…just gray felt on the walls and grey carpet. I kind of missed those old chandeliers.

Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, is the Managing Director of the Center for Architecture. She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989-2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell. After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson, held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater. She is spearheading Archtober: Architecture and Design Month NYC. ckracauer@aiany.org

© Edith Bellinghausen/Center for Architecture

Building of the Day #24: MTA Flood Mitigation Streetscape Design

Building of the Day #24: MTA Flood Mitigation Streetscape Design
Queens, NY


© Laura Ann Trimble/Center for Architecture

Even though Hurricane Irene blew through on August 27th without flooding the subways, which were rendered prophylactically still and silent for a day, a pesky summer storm in 2007 dumped so much water onto the M and R lines that they were forced out of service. Governor Spitzer took immediate action to mitigate the problem, and boldly mobilized the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Department of Transportation to do something about it. Solving a range of engineering problems while at the same time providing a streetscape element with some wit and whimsy, Rogers Marvel Architects created banks of raised stainless steel grates that rise up into an undulating wave of slats and hammered speckled side walls.


© Laura Ann Trimble/Center for Architecture

There are three typical grates designed for specific water overflow depths. They can be combined in a left- or right-hand fashion to create the continuous surface over the structural grates below. In case you were wondering, they won’t stop a truck, but happily no Louboutin heels snapped off here!

The AIANY Design Awards jury liked it too, giving the project an Honor Award, citing: “This is a really utilitarian solution infused with public art and design innovation.”

Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, is the Managing Director of the Center for Architecture. She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989-2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell. After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson, held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater. She is spearheading Archtober: Architecture and Design Month NYC. ckracauer@aiany.org

Building of the Day #23: Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion

Building of the Day #23: Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion
1 New York Plaza
New York, NY


© Laura Ann Trimble/Center for Architecture

Another sunny autumn day marked a Sunday visit to the Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion. Whether approached from the subway, the Staten Island Ferry, or walking down from the New Amsterdam Market and South Street Seaport, the windmill shaped info center appears the same shape from every direction. A tour with Stephen Matkovitz, AIA, of Handel Architects, along with Nathaniel Staton (formerly with Buro Happold, now Craft Engineering Studio) and Gabe Gilliam (lighting designer), highlighted the unique differences of the sleek white roofed but largely glass fins radiating from a central core. The coffee shop cafe and info center greets tourists and at least 70,000 commuters a day, serving passersby with its four corners rooted in public space. The 450 square foot, 24/7 interactive space was commissioned by the King and Queen of the Netherlands as a Dutch gift to New York to mark the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s arrival to New Amsterdam. The Battery Park Conservancy became a private client for the public space, hiring Dutch firm UNStudio to design the kitchen/information kiosk on a tight timeline and budget. The design was finished by December of 2008; New York firm Handel architects came on to start the Public Design Commission process in January of 2009, and the exterior structure was “photo ready” by September 9th, 2009 to mark the occasion with the King and Queen.


© Laura Ann Trimble/Center for Architecture

The speed of the project was facilitated by the integrated design process, driven by a rhino model that was sent straight to potential fabricators, ranging from boat builders to makers of fiber glass and bent steel. In the end, a Dutch fabricator in Virginia and a team in the Netherlands manufactured the double cantilever roof structure, built with a steel frame inside a wooden crate type structure, layered with a sheet of rubber and finished with a synthetic stucco. The sleek white finish frames the building on all four corners, and nearly but does not quite touch the ground as it undulates around. The inside of the structure is for staff only, but three of the sides open the public for café or information purposes. The fourth side holds an interactive digital panel that will be up and running soon.


© Laura Ann Trimble/Center for Architecture

In collaboration with MTA, DOT, and the Parks Department, the site is surrounded with umbrella tables and chairs, snaking benches, engraved paving stones, and even a sculpted map of old Manhattan (windmill and all). In conjunction with the nearby public space of the Staten Island Ferry, the New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion has contributed to a thriving urban space. I grabbed a coffee before leaving, and can’t help but note that the design is coordinated down to the paper products – great napkin sketch.

Laura Ann Trimble is the Partnership Programs Coordinator at the AIANY/Center for Architecture. A native of Indianapolis, she moved to New York upon graduation from Princeton with a degree in art history (AB 2007). Previously she worked for Richard Meier & Partners. As an artist she draws and paints architectural scenes of daily life. She is part of the team initiating Archtober: Architecture and Design Month NYC. ltrimble@aiany.org

© Brian Elbogen

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