Editors note: Halfway through summer, and this issue of eOCULUS disproves the adage that there's no news to report during summer months! Our thanks to members' reports and heads-up's. Kristen Richards - email@example.com and Sara Moss
GOING PUBLIC: The Inaugural Exhibit of the Center for Architecture
Call for Entries
exhibit at the Center for Architecture will showcase recent or proposed
work in the public realm of New York City. The show will be inclusive
to allow the widest possible participation, offering a comprehensive view
of the scope and quality of public work in the city today.
Friday, September 19, 2003, 5:00 PM
Center for Architecture
Art Commission Awards at New York Public Library
The "Southerly Lion" by sculptor Edward Clark Potter graces the cover of the program notes for the 21st Annual Art Commission Awards for Excellence in Design. The nine awards were conferred on Monday, July 14th, by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in the Celeste Bartos Forum of the main branch of the New York Public Library, renovated by Davis Brody Bond to its original Carrere & Hastings 1911 splendor. Art Commission President Jean Parker Phifer, AIA, introduced the program by noting "The Art Commission was founded in 1898 to insure that projects built in the public realm are of the highest aesthetic quality." The volunteer commissioners reviewed some 300 public works last year, and over 200 have come before the aesthetic board so far - only halfway through 2003.
Mayor Bloomberg noted that he presided over the Art Commission's annual awards last year (reported in e-Oculus 06/03/02), and had promised Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, who previously served as Executive Director of the Art Commission, that he would do so for eight years. Hizzoner stated, "Imaginative design of even the smallest projects adds human and economic value to our city's environment." He added, "If ever there was a time when it was important to concentrate on making things more beautiful, it is now, during an economic crisis." Reprising a theme from his remarks at the October 2002 Heritage Ball, the Mayor said, "Great design really does matter and is a legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren. New York is on the verge of a great new era in building keeping us the world's leading city. Great public design will play a key role in this process. New York deserves nothing less."
The designs winning accolades were:
and Renovation of the Brooklyn Children's Museum
and Renovation of the Bronx Museum of the Arts
of Sanitation Garage for Districts 4/4A/7
of the Farragut Monument
Lighting, P.S. 1
"Patience" and "Fortitude," we learn from the program notes, were monikers conferred on the famous lions by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia only in the 1930s. They had first been known as Leo Astor and Leo Lenox for John Jacob Astor and James Lenox, founders of the New York Public Library. They are reportedly the most photographed - and most-loved - statuary in Manhattan. Sculptor Neil Estrin's statue of Mayor LaGuardia facing 538 LaGuardia Place (a.k.a. Center for Architecture - as of October) is moving up on the list.
-- Rick Bell, FAIA, Executive Director, AIA New York Chapter
DOCOMOMO and Why Woolworth Doesn't Nickel and Dime Green
Well-known NYC projects ranging from Saarinen's TWA Terminal and I.M. Pei's National Airlines Terminal at Kennedy Airport are threatened by changes in technology and travel patterns not foreseen at the time of their design.
The July 10th salon sponsored by the Environmental Business Association of NYS, the US Green Building Council/New York Metro Chapter, and the AIA New York Chapter, put the spotlight on the future of these and other Modernist buildings from Brasilia to Chandigarh. The audience included almost 200 architects, preservationists, and environmentalists.
The guest speakers could not have been more appropriate to the subject. Theo Prudon, FAIA, is president of DOCOMOMO US and a member of the executive committee of DOCOMOMO International in Paris. The acronym DOCOMOMO stands for DOcumentation and COnservation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the MOdern MOvement. Initially founded in 1988 in The Netherlands, there are now DOCOMOMO chapters in over 40 countries. The organization is dedicated to the study of significant works of Modern Movement architecture, landscape design, and urban planning around the world, and champions the cause of endangered Modern movement buildings.
With major preservation projects under his belt, including architecturally significant buildings in New York and across the United States, Prudon spoke movingly about some of the preservation successes assisted by DOCOMOMO and conscientious clients worldwide. He expressed particular appreciation for the Brazilian motifs visible on the Albany mall, including - egad - even the 'Egg.'
The second speaker, Ernest A. Conrad, PE, president of Landmark Facilities Group, has focused on environmental issues for more than 20 years. His engineering firm has specialized in climate controls for museums, special collections, and historic facilities, as well as the design of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems for commercial, industrial, and retail applications. Clients include the National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, and National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Conrad's topic was the Woolworth Building (Cass Gilbert, 1910-13) and its recent renovation. First, he set out some of the key principles of sustainable design, including reducing energy demand, using materials that can be recycled, and working with a building's location. He noted that over 60 percent of the material in landfills comes from building demolition debris. In talking about the history and high performance features of the Woolworth Building, he shared anecdotal information about the building's construction and renovation. These included little-known facts such as the building's initial reliance on "reliable" gas-lit emergency lighting since the nascent electrical illumination technology was too new and uncertain. More recently, Conrad was involved in the renovation of building systems that provides such novel features as fiber optic cable vertical distribution in the "recycled" original Woolworth Building mail chutes.
- Rick Bell, FAIA, Executive Director, AIA New York Chapter
Almost Pumpkin Time: "Green Cinderella" Grant Applications Due July 30
KeySpan Corporation recently launched a design competition to kick off its new "Green Cinderella Program." To raise awareness and spark interest in environmentally sound building development, the New York-based energy company will award grants up to $75,000 to projects that meet certain eligibility standards.
The deadline for submitting an application is July 30th, with winners to be announced in September. The judging process will consider unique building designs, innovative use of renewable/sustainable technologies and materials, and projects that recycle current building footprints or brownfield sites (i.e. "Smart Growth").
- Projects must
be located in KeySpan's New York or Long Island service area.
For further information and grant application forms, contact Bob Keller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things Are Looking Up for the High Line
On July 9, about 1,000 supporters previewed the exhibit "Designing the High Line" at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal. The benefit party, co-chaired by Pulitzer Prize-wining author and historian Robert Caro and actor Edward Norton, garnered $300,000. But the real prize was announced that evening by City Council Speaker Gifford Miller: a $15.75 million funding commitment for planning and construction costs related to the preservation and re-use of the High Line.
Rising 30 feet above the street, the 1.5-mile-long freight railroad viaduct lies derelict, as a group of private property owners has lobbied for its demolition. But as New York focuses on the redevelopment of the far West Side, the High Line has become a field of dreams for urban planners and designers.
Perhaps no one loves the High Line more than the Friends of the High Line (FHL) and co-founders, Robert Hammond and Joshua David, who saw its potential as a grand elevated public space like the Promenade Plantee in Paris. After three years of planning, advocacy, and legal work, FHL convinced the Bloomberg Administration that the High Line could be a compelling public space that would help stimulate economic growth. In December 2002, the City took the first step in converting the High Line to a walkway through federal rails-to-trails legislation.
To generate ideas for the future of the High Line as a public space, FHL organized an open, international ideas competition - and received 720 proposals from 36 countries. A distinguished jury selected four top prizewinners, 11 honorable mentions, and one JCDecaux North America High Line Access Award. A separate jury chose the winner of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Award.
"Designing the High Line" features the winners and honorable mentions, and about another 130 entries that range from highly practical to total fantasy. "It is important to understand that this was an ideas competition," said Robert Hammond, who also served on the jury. "The winning proposals did not have to be realistic." Vishaan Chakrabarti, director of the Manhattan Office of Department of City Planning and member of the competition jury, said that the High Line could be an "incredible place for people to work, live, and play."
Amanda Burden, Chair of the New York City Planning Commission, likened the High Line to "being on a magic carpet," but since it is closed to the public, the next best thing is to wander through the exhibit designed by Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano of LOT/EK Architecture, Gary Handel, AIA, of Gary Edward Handel + Associates, and Paula Scher of Pentagram - and so fortuitously exhibited in another structure vigorously saved by New Yorkers, Grand Central Terminal. There is also a 12-minute video produced and directed by John Zeiman and narrated by Edward Norton.
In a random sample of attendees, it seemed like the favorites included one of the winning designs by Nathalie Rinne of Vienna, Austria: a lap pool coursing atop the mile-and-a-half viaduct from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street. Would it be heated for winter dips? Perhaps, said the designer, or possibly it could be turned into a trail for ice-skating. Also high on the list was "The Big Apple Roller Coaster," which received an honorable mention. The designers of New York-based Front Studio, Ostap Rudakevych, Tomoko Matsushita, and Yen Ha, created a giant roller coaster that would weave over and under the High Line nature preserve and even through a building that would advertise "See New York City Like You've Never Seen It Before" - which is quite an understatement! For those like myself who have had the rare privilege to walk the High Line and marvel at the wild flowers and grasses blanketing the tracks, there is something very appealing about allowing the existing vegetation to evolve naturally into a meadow.
The exhibit is on view through July 26 and is free and open to the public. A complete listing of the competition winners and all the entry designs can be viewed online at Designing the High Line.
-- Linda G. Miller is a freelance writer, who most recently served as director of communications at the Municipal Art Society.
Aspen in New York
Although at times one needed to wade through some murky waters for clarity, the first of three Satellite Conferences for the International Design Conference in Aspen's "Design Takes on Risk" did not disappoint. The New York City conference, hosted and chaired by Cameron Sinclair, (founder of Architecture for Humanity), and held over two consecutive days at the Scandinavia House on Park Avenue, explored both global and local issues regarding community rebuilding.
DAY ONE: Design for Change
DAY TWO: Local Voices / Global Issues
With the focus squarely on local issues and the challenges facing designers in New York City, the first night's round table discussions featured a diverse group of eight panelists. The program began with the question: "What is good design, and how is it feasible to create good design for communities in need?" An engaging debate ensued.
Moderator Gregg Pasquarelli (from ShoP Architects) was led to ask, "How does one quantify the unquantifiable?" Most of the panel responded that good design begins at the root, at the level of programming and planning. This was cited as the most crucial step in revitalizing neighborhoods and bridging the divide between polished areas of New York City and the environmentally burdened areas that support them. The creation of places worthy of the dignity of those who live there would allow the disenfranchised to create their own sense of place and ownership within their communities.
While this holistic approach to design was supported by noteworthy projects completed by the Detroit Collaborative Design Center and The Point, some critics on the panel were not convinced. Noting the rift existing in these communities, Vishaan Chakrabarti observed that, even when attempting to instigate change that would improve disadvantaged neighborhoods, there exist many obstacles within diverse factions of a community seemingly united under the umbrella of poverty.
With reference to projects outside of the United States, both instigating and moderating at times, Paola Antonelli coaxed a discussion between dreamer Lebbeus Woods and activist Michael Sorkin. Having both worked within the realms of inhabitable places that struggle to survive - Sorkin, most recently in conflict-torn Palestine and Jerusalem and Lebbeus, in Sarajevo - both architects found politics and architecture colliding and eliding quite often.
time in Palestine, witnessing the struggle to survive, he noted that the
seeds of urbanism are alive in the most inhabitable places. With reference
to a series of checkpoints near the Palestine border, Sorkin mused that
the most unlikely forms of urban commerce have emerged - these checkpoints
being riddled with rest stops serving the basic needs of those traveling
between them. Woods, meditating on the nature of conflict between humans
whether from afar (in his most recent contribution to Sorkin's new book,
The Next Jerusalem: Sharing The Divided City), or up close, concluded
that the visual is the one true common language that all nations have.
Removed from the weight of cultural conflicts, visual language can be
used as an initiator of peace.
These satellite conferences were also held in The Netherlands and Jerusalem in June and early July. The 53rd International Design Conference in Aspen takes place August 20-23, 2003. Risk is the subject.
-- Effie Bouras, Assoc. AIA
Integrating Tools for Learning
On May 28, the AIA New York Chapter Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) presented "Integrating Tools for Learning" featuring Learning by Design and the Salvadori Center. More than 50 architects, interior designers, and educators attended the program, sponsored by Michael Avery and Jennifer Wall of Armstrong Flooring. The CAE programs examine learning environments as physical places, and the building and construction of schools in New York City. The purpose of this program was to expand designers' concepts of learning environments.
The evening's presenters were: Hannah Smith, Program Director, Learning by Design; Professor Alan Feigenberg, School of Architecture, Urban Design, and Landscape Architecture of the City College of the City University of New York (SAUDLA), and the Assistant Director of the Salvadori Center; and Peter C. Lippman, Assoc. AIA, an instructor at SAUDLA with a Master's in Psychology from the GSUC researching the acquisition of knowledge in learning environments.
Lippman began the program by introducing the idea that learning environments may be defined as socio-physical settings that support development. In addition, Lippman pointed out that as learning environments evolve into a knowledge-based economy: (1) Learning is not passive, but rather occurs through activity within social and physical settings; (2) Learning is not directed, but rather occurs through facilitation as students identify the affordances and constraints of their environments; and (3) Students should really be assessed in relationship to their types of intellgences. Smith and Feigenberg reinforced these concepts as they discussed how each of their programs facilitates students' development.
Both Learning by Design and the Salvadori Center are educational programs that have formed partnerships with various New York City public schools. Architecture is used as a mediator in these programs to encourage learning through hands-on activities that allow students to extend their everyday understanding of scientific concepts in math, science, history, and English.
The audience was given a hands-on experience in the second part of the CAE program. Working collaboratively in groups of five, teams were given a half-hour to design a classroom environment for either K-8, 9-12, special education, undergraduate, graduate, or continuing education settings.
The teams presented their designs during the final part of the program, revealing similarities and differences across the classroom settings. They examined how these places must be flexible yet integrated, so that individual, one-to-one, and group activities can occur. They also explored how lighting, furnishings, and technology can affect learning.
The event was intended to encourage the particpants to re-examine their understanding of school design, and to stimulate the audience to consider the possibilities of what different learning environments might be.
- Peter C.
Lippman, Assoc. AIA, is the Chairman for the AIA NY Chapter Committee
on Architecture for Education, and is associated with Perkins Eastman
Architects in New York City.
Building Museum Appoints Chase W. Rynd as President
Announces Dinkeloo Recipient
Architect - High Performance Schools
and Logo for New York Association of Consulting Engineers
In the Works
Director - Design Trust for Public Space
Lucy G. Moses
Preservation Award Goes to Perkins Eastman
July 31: Expression of Interest (EOI): Campus 2010 + Building for the Future: Three projects for the University of Sydney
August 1: Sustainable Design Leadership Awards For The Interior Built Environment. Sponsors: AIA/Interiors Committee; International Interior Design Association (IIDA); CoreNet Global; Tandus
August 4: BSA Honor Awards for Design Excellence
September 15-19: Going Public Submissions due
October 3: Best practices papers - articles, research or white papers by design professionals - are being sought by the AIA Facility Management Committee. Selected papers will be featured at www.aia.org/fm. For more information, email FMBestPractice@aia.org.
National Honor Awards Call for Recommendations
The 2003 AIA New York Chapter Honors Committee is looking for recommendations for the following National Honor Awards. If you know an AIA member that would make a good candidate please let us know by sending:
Recommendations will be accepted until Monday, August 4th
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AIA Contract Documents (paper)
The AIA New York Chapter is a full-service distributor of AIA Contract Documents, which are the most widely used standard form contracts in the building industry. These comprehensive contracts have been prepared by the AIA with the input of contractors, attorneys, architects, and engineers. Typically, industry professionals and home/property owners use these documents to support agreements relating to design and construction services. Anyone may purchase and use the AIA Contract Documents. AIA Members receive a 10% discount.
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Documents (electronic format 3.0 plus)
07/17/03, 6:00 PM
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All AIA New
York Chapter committee meetings occur at 200 Lexington Avenue, Suite 600,
unless otherwise noted. CES learning units are determined by educational
content and length of meeting.