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Friday, July 13, 2018

Today's archidose #1008

Here's a photo of the Amager Resource Center (2017) in Copenhagen, Denmark, by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group. The photo, by Jeff Reuben, is looking toward the waste-to-energy plant from Christiania. Although the plant is obviously functioning, the ski slope – Copenhill – that sits atop it won't be complete until later this year.

Amager Landscape

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Rosario Candela, Sutton Place, and 'Elegance in the Sky'

Elegance in the Sky
[All photos by John Hill, unless noted otherwise]

Although the 57th Street tour I've given in recent years focuses on the tall towers of "Billionaire's Row," my walk goes all the way from river to river, starting at a small plaza overlooking the East River and ending at 12th Avenue near the Hudson River. Extending the tour to 2.5 miles enabled it to embrace such projects as BIG's VIA 57 West overlooking the Hudson and to historically contextualize the supertall residential towers that have sprung up this century in the blocks of 57th Street between Park Avenue and Broadway. In the case of the latter, Sutton Place (named for the north-south avenue that intersects 57th Street just shy of the East River) is a quiet residential neighborhood with townhouses and apartment buildings from the early 1900s. A couple apartment buildings in Sutton Place were designed by Rosario Candela, a prolific residential architect at the time and the subject of Elegance in the Sky: The Architecture of Rosario Candela, a small exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York.

Elegance in the Sky

Candela's most important contribution to Sutton Place was 1 Sutton Place South, located on the southeast corner of 57th Street and Sutton Place. As depicted in the photos from the exhibition above, 1 Sutton Place South and its porte-cochere faced Sutton Place, while the rear of the apartment building and its private garden overlooked the East River. In the 1930s, the double-decker FDR Drive was built in the area of Sutton Place, leading to the construction of small parks at the end of 56th, 57th, and 58th Streets – a swap for the land the city was taking away. (The 58th Street park is the location of the famous shot of the Queensboro Bridge from Woody Allen's Manhattan.) This century, a chunk of the private garden at 1 Sutton Place South is being taken for a new park area that will link the parks at 56th and 57th Streets.


[Site plan from NYC Parks]

On the north side of 57th Street between Sutton Place and 1st Avenue is another Candela building, 447 East 57th Street. It also had a private garden, as the ad below illustrates, but it was located on an infill lot to the west of the building, next to a townhouse. This garden ensured light and air to the corner units on the west side of the building. The garden was accessible by the three-story unit at the base of the building. Most famously it was occupied by Tina Brown, the former editor of New Yorker and Vogue, who used it to entertain VIPs and sold it just last month for nearly $7 million.


[Advertisement for 447 East 57th Street in the New York Times, scanned from Sutton Place: Uncommon Community by the River by Christopher Gray]

Brown and other tenants of 447 East 57th Street tried – unsuccessfully, as the photo below attests – to stop the demolition of the neighboring townhouse and subsequent erection of a 15-story glassy building designed and developed by Flank. The sliver of space between 441 and 447 is apparent in the photo below, though we can only imagine the views back and forth between the residences in these contrasting through equally expensive buildings. Any bitterness between the residents of the Candela and Flank buildings surely subsided in recent years, though, as the Sutton Place community banded together to halt construction of an 800-foot-tall tower on the lot directly north of 441 East 57th Street. As of last month, Sutton 58 will move forward and, barring any successful appeals, will bring skinny supertalls to Sutton Place, more than four blocks east of Rafael Viñoly's 432 Park Avenue.



So even as the land around these two Rosario Candela buildings in Sutton Place is seeing both slight (park) and dramatic (supertall) changes, the appeal of his early 20th century apartment buildings is lasting. No surprise then that he is the subject of an exhibition, albeit a small one, at the Museum of the City of New York. Elegance in the Sky, on display until October 28, "revisits the setback terraces and neo-Georgian and Art Deco ornament of Candela-designed high-rise apartments." Fittingly, the exhibition is curated by MCNY's own Donald Albrecht and was designed by the traditionally minded Peter Pennoyer Architects.

Elegance in the Sky

I liked learning a little bit on the Sutton Place apartment buildings in the exhibition, though I was disappointed by one detail that seems to have gotten past Albrecht and Pennoyer. Most of the buildings detailed in the exhibition (a small fraction of his roughly 75 buildings) have floor plans accompanying the photographs of the building exteriors and interiors. But many of the apartments are duplexes, and with only one plan per building any dissection of the plans (fun for any architect) is incomplete; either living or bedroom levels are presented, never both. So, like the gap between 441 and 447 East 57th Street, we're left to imagine the other halves of the apartments in these small but significant voids in the exhibition.

Elegance in the Sky

Monday, July 09, 2018

Today's archidose #1007

Here are some photos of the SWEETS hotel Wiegbrug (2017) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, by Space&Matter. The larger SWEETS hotel project consists of the conversion of 28 obsolete bridge control buildings into hotel suites. (Photos: Ken Lee)

SWEETS hotel Wiegbrug, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
SWEETS hotel Wiegbrug, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
SWEETS hotel Wiegbrug, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
SWEETS hotel Wiegbrug, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
SWEETS hotel Wiegbrug, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Thursday, July 05, 2018

Hard Hat Tour: The Forum

Set to open in September, The Forum is third building to open on Columbia University's Manhattanville Campus. Designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the 56,000-sf building follows the Jerome L. Greene Science Center and the Lenfest Center for the Arts, both of which opened in 2017 and were also designed by RPBW. Last week, Columbia held a press tour of The Forum with architects from RPBW; below are my photos and a tour through the building.

The Forum
The Forum is located on the northeast corner of Broadway and 125th Street, on a triangular lot formed by the angle of 125th Street. At this location the concrete-and-glass Forum acts as a gateway to the Manhattanville Campus.


The Forum
The Forum sits south of the Greene and Lenfest buildings, on the left in the photo above, and just west of the 125th Street subway station, which runs as a viaduct due to the low topography along 125th Street.


The Forum
With the triangular site and position next to the subway, the large auditorium is located behind precast concrete walls on the east, while the meeting rooms, offices, and other spaces are found in the tapered glassy prow on the west.


The Forum
The narrow end, seen from inside the construction fence, is articulated as planes of concrete and glass with exposed structural steel outside the building.


The Forum
The rooms inside the prow are graced with a view of the Riverside Drive Viaduct.


The Forum
As in the other buildings on the Manhattanville Campus, both built and planned, the ground floor is open to the public, set back from the street, and glassy. This stems from a six- or seven-story service basement that will spread across the whole campus once it's completed, thereby removing loading docks and other service pieces from the ground floors of the buildings.


The Forum
The visual transparency of the ground floor is evident here, a future retail/cafe space facing the corner of 125th Street and Broadway.


The Forum
The tapered end of the ground floor, set to be the campus's information center, has more glass, including a canopy -- its framing is just visible to the left of the glass storefront.


The Forum
The main entrance is in the middle of the south-facing frontage on 125th Street. Once inside, visitors will see a security desk straight ahead. From here, the information center is to the left and retail is to the right, while security turnstiles provide restricted access to the elevators (one is just visible on the left) and the two upper floors.


The Forum
The west end of the second and third floor are full of office spaces behind glass walls.


The Forum
Offices such as this one look out to the Greene Science Center across 129th Street.


The Forum
Circulation to the auditorium receives natural light through narrow windows set into the precast concrete panels.


The Forum
The windows at the chamfered southeast corner frame narrow views of the 125th Street viaduct.


The Forum
Although these photos make it seem like The Forum is all whites and grays, there is some selective splashes of color throughout: flooring, casework, elevators, as well as the seats and surfaces in the auditorium. (Protective covers during construction left most of the color out of sight during our visit.) This large space is insulated from the sound of passing trains by masonry walls. Combined with the precast concrete on the exterior, the box within a box construction is sufficient for acoustics, per RPBW.


The Forum
The zone between the concrete east end and glassy west end is turned into a terrace on the third floor; it is positioned two floors above the main entrance on the south frontage of 125th Street.


The Forum
I don't foresee this being a quiet terrace for Columbia employees or conference attendees, though, given the large air handling units positioned directly above the terrace.


The Forum
Following the tour was a reception in Lenfest's top-floor Lantern, which provides a view of The Forum's glassy prow just past the corner of the Greene Science Center.


The Forum
An outdoor terrace on one of Lenfest's lower floors looks on to the construction of the Business School, a pair of buildings designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro for the block north of 130th Street. In between the buildings will be a large square designed by James Corner Field Operations, and below it will sit a 17-berth loading dock that will serve the entire campus via its below-grade service levels. A sense of the campus's scale of construction is evident in the concrete "bathtub" that forms the massive yet invisible basement that enables the glassy buildings above it.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Today's archidose #1006

Here are some photos of the Lunder Center at Stone Hill (2008) at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, by Tadao Ando. (Photos: Hassan Bagheri)

Lunder Center at Stone Hill
Lunder Center at Stone Hill
Lunder Center at Stone Hill
Lunder Center at Stone Hill
Lunder Center at Stone Hill
Lunder Center at Stone Hill

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Monday, July 02, 2018

Piet Oudolf's 'Five Seasons'

Last month I caught Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf at IFC Center, when director Thomas Piper and his subject, planting designer Piet Oudolf, were in attendance. Just today I wrote about the film for World-Architects.



Head on over to World-Architects to read "Five Facts from Five Seasons."

Friday, June 29, 2018

AB and FOOD

Although I've lived in Astoria, Queens, for twelve years and worked in nearby Long Island City for a few years, I'd never been to Brooklyn Grange until earlier this month. Although the name points to that hipper borough to the south, the Grange's first rooftop farm is located in Queens, specifically on Northern Boulevard, a car-oriented thoroughfare that leads to and from the Queensboro Bridge. I work on Northern Boulevard and frequent the coffee shop in the base of the building where the Grange has its one-acre farm. Faced with a cold- or allergy-related sore throat that wouldn't go away, I headed to the Grange on one of its open Saturdays in June to buy some honey – what turned out to be the most delicious honey I've ever eaten.


[Photos from my visit to the Brooklyn Grange]

I'm bringing up Brooklyn Grange here, in the context of AB's Food issue, because it is a trailblazer of sorts, at least in regards to urban farming in New York City. Created eight years ago as "the largest soil rooftop farm in the world," the Grange bested itself a few years later when it built a 1.5-acre rooftop farm in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Although the farms are for most people out of sight, and therefore out of mind, they are part of the commendable trend of covering flat roofs in cities with green roofs. But of course they go one better and make the rooftops productive. Seen in terms of urban planning, urban farms point to the temporary use of large vacant lots, the potential reuse of big-box stores in suburbs, and the preservation of old industrial buildings in cities; all with the eye of having large enough footprints for cultivation (one acre is certainly a decent size, what I recall from writing about Chicago's Mobile City Farmstead years ago). In this sense, food and architecture are wed strongly together, though of course this is not the only way they relate to each other.



Architecture Boston's summer 2018 issue explores food in many ways – "from measured rituals to decorated spaces to ingenuity of form," as it attests. One section, "Assemble the Ingredients," tackles how "food is changing the way we plan and use urban spaces," be it with rooftop farms, urban beekeeping, "beer urbanism," or other means of local food consumption. The issue has articles on the design of the spaces where we eat (e.g. Four Seasons, RIP), but also one architect-turned-pastry chef that even I couldn't resist: Dinara Kasko. Not only do her creations look tectonic, they are designed using the same 3D software that architects and architecture students use. In the process she has fused the realms of architecture and food to create unexpected yet elegant desserts that I hope taste as good as they look.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Hiding and Seeking at MoMA PS1

Dream the Combine's 2018 YAP-winning Hide & Seek opened today at MoMA PS1. I work a few blocks away, so I went there at lunch to see what it's like and take some photos.

Here's a slideshow from my Flickr album:
Hide & Seek

And here's a video, necessary given the way the mirrored planes move and create some awesome effects:

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Today's archidose #1005

Here is a photo of Frank Gehry's LUMA Arles under construction in Arles, France. (Photo: Jacqueline Poggi)



See also Today's archidose #915 from August 2016.

An aerial rendering (screenshots via luma-arles.org) of what the completed project, which also consists of five industrial buildings being restored by Selldorf Architects, will look like:


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Monday, June 25, 2018

Hunters Point South Park Phase 2

I'm still catching up on things after the AIA Conference on Architecture last week and a walking tour over the weekend. The latter, of Brooklyn Bridge Park, led me to take the East River Ferry home. On the ride I noticed the second phase of Hunters Point South Park was open, so I hopped off the ferry and took a few photos of the park designed by ARUP, Thomas Balsley, and Weiss/Manfredi.

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