Public Effect

Pop-Up Park, In Action!

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The Brooklyn Bridge Pop-Up Park, the very same park where we coined the term "Pop-Up Park", is suddenly open! Just in time for Olafur's Waterfall Day 2008.

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Like a pop-up store, the pop-up park builds brand awareness. Except in this case, it's more like public-space-useability awareness. And nothing says public space awesomeness than the bare bones of what's there now: Lawn, benches, some plants, and a great place to get summer eats. And, refreshingly, it's all low tech, yet modern. We mean this as a compliment: it's not some overwrought construction for PS1 Warmup (SHoP, nArchitects, and Work AC's entries being the exceptions, of course). It has the feeling of a summer deck the community put together, BYO Lawnchair.

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Pictures from special correspondent Susannah Drake, founder of dlandstudio, designers of this episode of Pop-Up Park.

Tropolism Exclusive: Pop-Up Park Updates

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The Brooklyn Bridge Pop-Up Park--our favorite platform for viewing, er, lower Manhattan and whatever else might be down there--is getting refined as it gets closer to getting built (click the above image for full-sized goodness). What you're seeing there is painted asphalt (minus the multi-colored action in the previous renderings), grassy mounds, and the tree/sandbox area on the right. It's essentially the same plan, minus the super colors. Beyond is the asphalt wasteland that where the warehouses used to be, blocking the public's access to the water.

The inside story is as interesting as the design: almost all of the materials are being donated. The paint, trees, plantings, planter boxes, hay bales, plexiglas (on the perimeter fence) and some labor is all being donated. So not only is this a pop-up park, but it's becoming more open-source too.

Tropolism Exclusive: The Waterfalls Get A Park

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Olafur Eliasson's waterfalls have created a rush of art tourism. The number of ways to see the waterfall, created specifically for the waterfalls, is growing fast. One approach is the generically luxury boat cruise for only $50,000. Another is potentially coming to Brooklyn: our friends and favorites at dlandstudio have designed a temporary observation deck at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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The 26,000sf site had a Strober Brothers Lumber warehouse on it until a week ago, and has recently been deeded by the Port Authority to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy asked dlandstudio to develop a temporary park for the waterfalls. On a Brooklyn budget! Dland's design includes wide swaths of color painted in stripes over the asphalt to create both a more comfortable walking surface for pedestrians and add color and texture. The design is like a pop-up shop for the future Brooklyn Bridge Park on the waterfront. The park includes grass mounds for lounging (the future park will be lots of mounds), a sand area retained by wood beams with umbrellas for shade, and our favorite, hay bales that get seeded and grow grass like a chia pet as the summer progresses. The pop-up park is going to invite people to use the former warehouse-blocked waterfront as a park, allowing people to discover vistas of New York that were previously blocked. Way better than a cruise.

Click Continue Reading for another exclusive image from dlandstudio.

The Glass From Terminal 8

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In February the 1960 stained glass window at JFK's terminal 8 was demolished. The window was over 300 feet long and 23 feet tall; it was designed by Robert Sowers for the 1960 American Airlines terminal. Our picture is of the terminal when it opened.

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What the articles at the time neglected to mention is that most of the window was salvaged by Olde Good Things in Manhattan. That link has lots of juicy demolition details. We happened to spot one of the pieces in their store window while passing by. Some of the window was destroyed before OGT jumped in and took the remaining window to their warehouse in Scranton, Pennsylvania. They numbered the sections and it is now possible to buy large sections of the window for reassembly elsewhere. So while the window did not find a permanent home, and it will undoubtedly be broken up, at least it's in good hands. And it's possible to put large swaths of it back together, if you have the spot for it.

New Orleans Rebuilding: Lots Of Local Modern

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Life Without Buildings does a rundown on this year's New Orleans AIA winners, four of which are modern architects doing significant projects in the region. After the blowup of the regional plan, and hte plethora of urban plans and space buildings from non-local whiz kids, we were afraid the reactionary pendulum would swing far, far away from modern design. But the local modern architects seem to have saved the day. Pictured is the temporary Rebuild Center at St. Joseph Church by Wayne Troyer Architects.

Notes On The Two Dozen List

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In 2005 I fleshed out an idea I first proposed in 2004: that a slew of midsized residential buildings would be built, all designed by celebrity architects. And so the Two Dozen List was born.

The mid 2000's in New York City have seen a unique confluence of money, skyrocketing real estate prices, hyper-demand, and cheap credit. The competition between developers, combined with a rise in interest in architectural design by the general public, has led to the hiring of our beloved celebutantes as brand novelties to distinguish one development from another. The moment is now passing: credit is tight, leading to projects down the pipeline being shut off. While the competition for buyers will certainly continue, it is likely that high-priced talent, or at least the famous names, will not be invited to create design masterpieces quite as often.

The similar size, shape, and sites give us a unique opportunity to compare these talents, and ask some great questions. How powerful were these architects in the development process? How well did they redefine what is possible in this context? How many boundaries did they push? How did they approach, and solve, the great problems of the New York Skyscraper: the slab and the curtain wall?

I will post my personal version of this list this week. Tropolism will begin to review the projects on my list that have not been reviewed to date. In addition, guest writers will post their own lists, here and elsewhere. Finally, we invite you to submit your own entries for a reader's choice list, which will of course be published here. Enjoy!

Shelby Farms Park Winners Announced

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Pruned points us to a sophisticated set of designs for Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, Tennessee. We tend to see these as iterations in designs that started with Fresh Kills Park, made a big splash at Orange County Great Park, and have now continued to the Midwest/South. American landscape design is finally asking the big questions about the function of large parks in cities and suburbs, and we're happy to see the ideas keep flowing.

Maps Of Manhattan: Culturenow.org

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Maps Of Manhattan combines two of our obsessions: the representational power of maps and the density that is our home base. The Skyscraper Museum's Manhattan Timeformations remains one of our favorite online versions of this genre (and we will dare to date ourselves by reminding you that this project existed on paper/mylar long before it was put it into a computer).

So you might imagine our delight when we came across the online home for culturenow.org's physical map of Manhattan, locating all the public artworks on this fair island. What started out as (I think) an LMDC funded map to attract tourists to Lower Manhattan has blown up into an encyclopedic go-to for public art. Of course, the only way to improve upon it is to make it a searchable database, which it what gives it a place here at Tropolism.

Koolhaas Has Officially Lost It

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Koolhaas and OMA have officially lost their marbles. One of them found its way into the new design for Dubai, as a Death Star like 44-story sphere floating on the water. This kind of lunacy we can respect. Mr. Ourousoff gives us the details.

PS1 Goes Agricultural, Finally

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Work Architecture won this year's PS1 Warmup Series installation with their cardboard-tube urban farm. While the New York Times gives us some back story (heavy on the Barry Bergdoll, obviously the driving force behind the change of direction), we think that Pruned says it best:

Where sightseers once splashed about in silly algorithmic frotteurism, they will be treated this summer to an $85,000 community garden, whose “rural delights” will probably not go to supplement the nutritional needs of the disenfranchised but rather will go to make bloody marys and beer for architecture students.

Seriously folks, "silly algorithmic frotteurism" pretty much says a lot about a lot these days. That, and Pruned's brilliant comparison to Wheatfield by Agnes Denes.

We see this one as the successor to PS1 Warmup Series' last successful installation, the one in 2004 by nArchitects. The intervening years can now be forgotten, just as we forgot Lindy Roy's whatever install.

Water Cube Beijing Opens!

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The state-sponsored craziness that we wrote about two years ago is now open! And it looks just like the rendering! The Beijing Water Cube, the National Swimming Center constructed for the Olympic Games, next to a nearly complete Herzog & DeMeuron Bird's Nest Stadium. We think it's stunningly beautiful. Except we're not sure what's crazier, the interior or the exterior.

Via Daily Dose, who has more pictures and links.

Arbre de Flonville

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From Lausanne: a steel and wood tree furniture/architecture piece designed by Samuel Wilkinson & Oloom. Interior design for outdoor rooms. Via architechnophilia.

City Colors

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One of the things we like to celebrate is color. Certain design professions have more sophisticated approaches and dialogues about color than architects: interior designers and graphic designers, to name two. The latter category, in the person of Todd Falkowsky, has created a series of color strips for each of Canada's provincial and territorial capitals. The result is interesting, particularly the observation about how intuition informs the process. What we'd like to see is a whole color pallette, not just a test strip of three, for each urban area. Huge samples that would represent each city.

Via Brand Avenue.

Urban Age

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We have long known about the conferences sponsored by Urban Age, but only recently did we discover their wonderful website. It's a handy repository of all the data generated do date from their conferences and research. Some of this work undoubtedly shows up in their new book (note to Phaidon: send us a review copy already), but it is irresistible to flip through it online.

Not only do they have pretty, if simple, comparisons of basic information of their key cities. They also have some extensive raw data from each city collected in both PDF and protected spreadsheet formats. Happy reading.

Gerhard Richter's Cologne Cathedral Window

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There have been many articles and images of Gehard Richter's design for the stained glass window in Cologne Cathedral since it was unveiled last August. Our favorite was pointed out by Greg Allen: it's by Ralf Stockmann.

Olafur's Waterfalls Revealed

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Pictures and coverage of Olafur's New York City Waterfalls were published by Bloomberg yesterday. Curbed tipped us off to this, and to a photo gallery of Olafur and the mayor doing official announcing stuff.

Our favorite part: that the waterfalls are not only powered by the river current, but they are supported by exposed scaffolding mimicking the kind used to build New York over the last century. Looks like we won't be traveling away from NYC this summer.

Eliasson Tops The Gates

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Up for tomorrow: Mayor Bloomberg will announce Olafur Eliasson's city-sponsored installation "New York City Waterfalls", consisting of four waterfalls near lower Manhattan, in the East River. Until we get renderings, we will picture "Reversed Waterfall" from 1998.

Special add-on Olafur bonus for this summer: "The Parliament of Reality" at Bard College, a circular lake opening in June.