Category Archives: Of Interest

Arts Clusters: DUMBO and El Barrio

The NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), in cooperation with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), announced that Hope Community, Inc., and the Dumbo Improvement District have been selected as lead organizations for Promoting Arts Clusters, a marketing campaign and tourism incentive program designed to attract visitors and increase the revenues of arts and cultural attractions throughout the city. NYCEDC will provide a grant of $25,000 to each organization. Hope Community, Inc. will partner with El Museo del Barrio and Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone on “El Barrio Today Arts Cluster,” and the Dumbo Improvement District will work with local groups to form “Discover DUMBO :: See the Other Side.” The two organizations were selected out of 14 proposals submitted from neighborhoods across all five boroughs.

Architecture Takes the Stage

The connections among architecture, art, dance, and theater have long been contemplated, but this summer offers you three different opportunities to experience them for yourself.

05.12.10 through 06.05.10
Written by Oren Safdie and presented by The Center for Architecture, this play puts contemporary architecture on trial. It tackles issues that New Yorkers have hotly debated recently following the controversy behind the redevelopment for the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, and explores whether architecture has become more of an art than a profession — and at what point do the ethics of one violate the other.
For more information:

Architecture of Dance
05.02.10 through 06.27.10
The New York City Ballet Company’s 2010 Spring Season features sets by Santiago Calatrava, FAIA; this is his first foray into theatrical design.
For more information:

05.16.10 through 06.05.10
The Resonance Ensemble’s 2010 season features two plays, THE GLASS HOUSE by June Finfer, and Henrik Ibsen’s THE MASTER BUILDER. The design and building of Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and Philip Johnson’s Glass House is the background for THE GLASS HOUSE, exploring the epic conflict between artist and patron. THE MASTER BUILDER tells the story of a revered but aging architect who is haunted by painful memories and fears of the future.
For more information:

Open Crit: Governors Island Master Plan


Governors Island.

West 8 / Rogers Marvel Architects / Diller Scofidio + Renfro / Mathews Nielsen / Urban Design +

The Park and Public Space Master Plan, developed by a design team led by the landscape architecture firm West 8 along with Rogers Marvel Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, and Urban Design +, reflects extensive input from New Yorkers over the past two years at meetings, workshops, and interactive exhibits, as well as an online display of design proposals and the Governors Island blog. A recently launched website presents the entire plan, including detailed renderings, and is open for more public feedback as the project moves into its next stages. The Park and Public Space Master Plan will also be exhibited in Building 110 on the island and in the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan beginning on 06.05.10, when the island opens to the public.

Help Shape NYC’s Waterfront

Our city has more than 500 miles of shoreline that provide endless opportunities for commercial, maritime, and residential building projects, public access, and, of course, natural preservation. To accomplish these tasks, the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) is embarking on Vision 2020: A New Comprehensive Waterfront Plan to “set forth long-range goals for a 21st-century waterfront and establish a sustainable blueprint for the future of New York Harbor, its tributaries, creeks, and bays,” according to Chair Amanda Burden, FAICP, Hon. AIANY.

The DCP wants your input in this year-long planning process. A kick-off public meeting is scheduled for 04.08.10, 6:00PM at Murry Bergtraum High School located at 411 Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan. You may also visit the DCP website to learn more, view the timeline, and share your ideas.

Get Out and Sketch

Now that spring has arrived, take your sketchbook outside. For inspiration, visit the Urban Sketchers website . A nonprofit organization “dedicated to raising the artistic, storytelling, and educational value of location drawing,” Urban Sketchers provides a forum for architects and artists to submit their on-location drawings to the blog or Flickr Group. Created by illustrator and journalist Gabriel Campanario, a staff artist and blogger at The Seattle Times, he aims to organize educational workshops and raise funds for artists’ grants and scholarships. How long has been since you’ve taken the time to sketch?

Van Alen Institute Launches Design Archive

The Van Alen Institute (VAI) has accumulated a significant archive of historical design material documenting the development and expansion of late 19th- and early 20th-century American architectural education. The archive includes 258 linear feet of institutional records, 39 linear feet of photographic materials, and 4,000+ original architectural drawings dating from 1893 to1994.

In 2007, with support from the New York State Council on the Arts, VAI began organizing, arranging, and digitizing materials from its architecture collection. Public access to digitized architecture competition drawings, programs, and jury reports will be available in March via CollectiveAccess, an open-source, web-based, collections management platform. Visit the VAI’s Facebook page for image previews.

Two New Shades of Green

Almost two years ago, Mayor Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn asked the Urban Green Council to create a task force to investigate bringing NYC codes to a higher and greener level. Comprised of more than 200 members including government officials, industry advisors, and sustainability experts, the Green Codes Task Force recently unveiled 111 proposals, many of them low-cost, including new rules for the insulation of all-glass high rises and storefront lighting regulations. To download the proposal in its entirety, click here.

Another new entity that seeks to shape NYC sustainability policies is Green Light New York. This non-profit is dedicated to providing the city’s design, construction, and real estate communities with training and resources on energy efficient lighting technologies. They are seeking input from those willing to take a 12-question survey.

Architecture for Humanity Sets Up Haiti Relief Effort

On 01.12.10 a powerful 7.0 quake hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This was followed by more than 30+ strong aftershocks. There has been widespread major damage and a loss of life estimated to be in the tens of thousands. There are projections of 2-3 million residents without shelter.

Architecture for Humanity will soon start exploring specific opportunities for rebuilding projects in cooperation with its partners on the ground. In the meantime, it has launched a fundraising appeal to support this long term reconstruction effort.

In its reconstruction plan, Architecture for Humanity has outlined several phases: Pre-Planning Assessments and Damage Analysis (underway, will run for a year); Establish Community Resource Center and Reconstruction Studio (Week 6 to Month 3); Sorting Out Land Tenure and Building Ownership (Month 6 to Year 5); Transitional Shelters, Health Clinics and Community Structures (Month 6 to Year 2); Schools, Hospitals and Civic Structures (Month 9 to Year 3); and Permanent Housing (Year 1 to Year 5). To get involved, click here.

Code Green

The first-ever integrated green code for traditional and high-performance commercial buildings, developed by the International Code Council’s International Green Construction Code (IGCC), is set for a public release in March. The IGCC is designed specifically to integrate and coordinate with the other international codes already being enforced by governmental code officials at all levels. The AIA and ASTM International are cooperating sponsors, and other organizations with representation on the IGCC drafting committee, known as the Sustainable Building Technology Committee (SBTC), include the U.S. Green Building Council, Green Globes Initiative, and more than a dozen others. For more information on activities about the IGCC click the link.

Get Off Your Couch: Affordable Workspace for Freelancers

Hive Rendering Final

Hive at 55.

Courtesy of Hive at 55

Many unemployed architects pick up freelance projects as they wait for signs of economic revival, while others take the opportunity to start their own small practices. However, working from one’s apartment poses many challenges and obstacles to productivity, and renting office space in NYC can be prohibitively expensive. But now there is an affordable alternative. The Alliance for Downtown New York, in conjunction with the NYC Economic Development Corporation, 55 Broad Street, and the Rudin family have launched Hive at 55 , a new co-working facility.

The 4,000-square-foot, fully outfitted space provides shared workspace and support for small businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. It is located at 55 Broad Street, also known as the New York Information and Technology Center. The facility includes workspace for more than 40 people at one time, in open seating and three private workrooms. Amenities include WiFi, fax, printer and copy machines, conference rooms, and bicycle storage. Conference rooms may be used for workshops, classes, seminars, and business meetings.