New York

Where To Put More New York


Robert Yaro, produces a lovely piece on what New York might do to add the million to million and a half new New Yorkers expected over the next twenty-five years. Because many parts of New York CIty are already at capacity, or over capacity, he looks for what other cities have done to grow in a way that creates a livable city. Intriguing are suggestions on what places like Chicago have done (although he should be shot for using "regional visioning process" in a sentence). It reads like an internal email at City Planning, but it probably qualifies as the most useful internal email for 2006.

From the Gotham Gazette.

Ground Zero Deal Proposed


We like to stay away from Ground Zero news, because it's just really depressing. 7WTC, we like. News, no. What a complicated city we live in. Who would have thought that a terrorist attack would result in a decade of bickering over who may redevelop what was left over? They finished the Pentagon already, yo.

However, this appears to be some form of breakthrough: the mayor, the governor, the other governor, and everyone else who can be involved has proposed a financial plan that would give Larry Silverstein, who has a bit part in the next Halle Barry movie, the right to build three buildings, while ceding the Freedom Tower and one other to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Read all about it in the New York Times.

High Line Groundbreaking


We attended the High Line groundbreaking today. Unfortunately for our readers, our invitation was only for the proletariat groundbreaking on the ground. The real groundbreaking, with Senators and our Mayor, you'll have to read about at Curbed.

After the jump, check out the junior high band, the tent with food, the muddy hay everywhere (totally not getting that part) and the green hard hats of people who were, you know, actually on the High Line. Special add-on bonus picture of the new Gehry building.

Tropolism Buildings: 7WTC


The main reason for my attendance at the awards ceremony for the MASterwork award for 55 Water Street was to, of course, see 7WTC. No, it wasn't to hear Larry Silverstein sell us on the latest Halle Barry movie. And so my little photo tour follows. The building contains lots of well-crafted details. Also, the building's empty floorplates are evocative of a future New York: floor-to-ceiling glass, wraparound skylines, and a sense of solitude. Being in such a large commercial structure, pristine yet devoid of any occupation, was quieting.

Click the continue reading link to see the photo tour.

Shakespeare Brings Out The Stars


Leave it to the ever-brilliant Choire Sicha to collapse Tropolism's categories in a single article. New York, Celebutantes, Public Effect, Theaters, and Writing Architecture. All we need is a location: Governor's Island. Mr. Sicha does a fascinating comparison of the roles celebrities (real celebrities, not architect celebrities) are playing in cutting-edge public space projects (High Line and Globe Theater on Governor's Island) in New York City. In an era when singularities like Robert Moses are long gone, and the Governor of the State or the Mayor of the City cannot get a single building built at Ground Zero, we appear to be left with one political/architectural force: movie stars!

55 Water Street: MASterwork


The park at 55 Water Street, designed by Rogers Marvel Architects and Ken Smith Workshop, will receive a MASterwork award from The Municipal Arts Society of New York Tuesday, April 4, at 7 WTC (also receiving an award). The event is limited to people who worked on the projects, so yours truly will be admitted as a designer. But yo, I'm totally there for reporting to Tropolism. If you'd like to see a particular picture of 7WTC, do drop us a line.

High Line Groundbreaking: RSVP


In case you missed the press release, the Friends of the High Line are having a reservations-only groundbreaking on Monday, April 10, 2006, from 12:00 noon - 1:30 PM. Light refreshments will be available at Little West 12th Street between 9th Avenue & Washington Street. And, my favorite caviat from the release "Rain or shine." These are my people.

RSVP to [email protected] or (212) 206-9922.

2 Columbus Circle Has A Tenant


You are not going to believe this, but 2 Columbus Circle, the much-argued-about renovation (or preservation! depending on who you ask) project designed by Allied Works, is happening because there is a tenant who bought the building and needs the space! We were stunned. But it appears in the New York Times yesterday (sorry, two drawing sets due this week) and includes a rendering of the lobby.

About that. After creating such a lovely exterior, we are wondering which intern or rendering staff person created the generic furniture, ceiling, and off-the-shelf glass doors for this project?

Special add-on bonus: Curbed links to the hilariously killed ShameCam. Robert AM Stern's new art deco building gets in the way. See? Contextualism always wins.



Our friends at LVHRD are hosting Architect Duel II. This time around it is Arquitectonica versus Grzywinski Pons Architects. While our experience shows us that sometimes inspired moments in architectural design come late in the design process, after months or years of thinking and sketching, we're delighted to see two architects design head-to-head in a public forum, opening up the process to the public and demystifying what it is that architects are actually trained to do. Let the games begin.

Madison Square Garden: Episode VI


Sorry, we skipped an episode of the Madison Square Garden Relocation series. We left you at Episode IV. For those of you that missed it, Episode V included a memorandum of understanding being signed by Cablevision (owner of MSG), and Vornado and Related, all but sealing the deal to move the Garden to be part of the former Post Office but soon-to-be 21st Century rail hub. The lights dimmed as everyone cackled.

This week's installment includes a heady dénoument: the memorandum was NONBINDING. And so there are now two to five celebrity architects involved, two real estate companies, one stadium-owning company, and probably about a dozen state and federal government agencys who will duke it out to see what gets built and who will design it.

Tipped off by the even more annoyed Curbed. One thing we aren't annoyed about: even though we still aren't convinced of the MSG as part of the rail station idea (does anyone else have a big HUH? around this), we would love to see them tear down the existing MSG. We've totally gotten thrilled about that part.

The Pleasures of West 28th Street, NO MORE


Sad news, one of our favorite places in Manhattan (and inspiration for Your Hidden City will soon be no more: The Flower District, AKA 28th Street between 7th and 6th Avenues, just got served eviction notices. En masse, apparently. MUG has the whole story.

What's truly sad is that the flower businesses haven't agreed on a new location. So the integrity of the group is imperiled, and we may not have a new flower district to look forward to.

[update bonus: sounds like there was a lot of conversation about the flower market businesses moving to Bronx Terminal Market. Can anyone confirm this? Send us a note, svp.]

Tropolism Buildings: Stephen Gaynor School and The Ballet Hispanico


Rogers Marvel Architects has been hard at work on their first building. Lucky for us, no one has seen it. Lucky for me, I used to work there (though never on this project), and Rob Rogers was generous enough to give me a sneak peek. Read the whole article, complete with luscious photos, after the jump...

Tropolism Books: LIC In Context


Title: LIC In Context: An Unorthodox Guide to Long Island City

Author: Paul Parkhill and Katherine Gray

Publication Date: 2005

Publisher: Furnace Press, Brooklyn, New York

ISBN: 0-9772742-0-9

Continuing with our month-long theme of Your Hidden City, we came across LIC In Context: An Unorthodox Guide to Long Island City. The book is a collaborative project of Place In History, an organization devoted to a deeper understanding of the city, so as to effect better urban design. The book is one of the infinite possible mappings of New York City, in this case with the sometimes-beloved but rarely cozy 'hood called Long Island City, in Queens.

LIC includes a short forward by Paul Parkhill explaining how the project is intent on "evoking what is compelling and unusual about the neighborhood." He explains that the book is not an encyclopedia about Long Island City; in fact, the impossibility of such a project is implied. Some of the buildings and places catalogued have been demolished or never built. Some, like the Terra Cotta Building, are facing radical and immanent changes. Also of interest is the collection of information from people's memories. Because industrial areas tend to be a little light on historiographers, this seems as suitable a method as poring over maps in the New York Public Library's Map Room for collecting vital information about what was there, and why what is there is there.

The introduction to the book is a four-page essay telling a brief history of Long Island City. The essay focuses almost entirely on the 19th century, with everything after 1930 being wrapped up in the last two paragraphs. The introduction betrays a bias: that the actual neighborhood documentation speaks for itself, and so recent history can be reduced to a few notations in the larger essay. The rest of the book is devoted to expanding these notations: 54 sites are brought to our inspection, with notes, photographs, illustrations, and sketchbook drawings. They are a wonderful walking tour of this sprawling neighborhood, without all the long distances or tiresome walking. They are also a valuable snapshot of LIC before its denoument as another center of residential and commercial density in New York.

Madison Square Garden: Episode IV


One of the admirable qualities of New Yorkers is that they aren't afraid to look outlandish, ambitious, aggressive, or foolish to get ahead. Unfortunately, this is sometimes played out at such a large scale, with such poor taste and timing, that only the leaders don't get the irony. A great example of this is the chilling and---how shall we put this?--totally unnacceptable conversation about moving Madison Square Garden to a portion of the McKim, Mead, and White building they didn't wipe out the first time around. We don't get how they will preserve the integrity of a post office building with a stadium. Don't. Lockhart over at Curbed (our favorite architecture blogger) calls this better than we will.

When we calm down, we will undoubtedly be tempted by the exciting idea that the existing crapfest MSG, a horrible urban object I must endure on a daily basis, will be demolished. And, the possibility that the players involved in the new Moynihan station will force the MSG folks to play nice. Real nice.

High Line Progress: Construction Begins


Contractors will be erecting protective scaffolding on Section 1 of the High Line, from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street this month. No date is given. This, from the Friends of The High Line press release, for the twenty seven people who didn't receive it:

Following these preparations, construction of Section 1 will include two separate scopes of work: site preparation (2006-2007), followed by construction of the access systems and public landscape (2007-2008). Site preparation will include removal and storage of railroad tracks; removal of gravel ballast; steel and concrete repair; abatement and painting of steel; repairs to the drainage system; and pigeon mitigation.

My assistant was reading between the lines and noted that FOHL reminds everyone to take their pictures by February 15th. He thinks that this means scaffolding goes up around then. Send pictures our way, and Tropolism will post them.

Architecture That Defies Death


Much like Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the artist-itect couple Arakawa and Madelaine Gins never seem to fade away. They just build bigger and more outrageous projects. This we can respect.

Brand Avenue points us to an interesting article in the Japan Times interviewing Arakawa about a crazy gerbil-city of apartments he designed in Tokyo. He and his partner's work is obsessed with architecture that "defies death", in the sense of defying expectations, therefore bringing back to life original, direct sensory perception. In this case, it means hanging all your clothes from hooks on the ceiling (accessible by non-moveable ladder), light switches at your ankles, and bright colors. It really opens the place up, don't you think?

Their website has more hidden gems, including the weird-yet-in-East-Hampton Bioscleave House, and the weird-yet-great-website park called Site of Reversible Destiny (pictured above). The latter seems like a more suitable ground for this kind of exploration. It's like a jungle gym for adults. The living spaces, while interesting exercises, seem to dominate the inhabitants with the artist's idea of what constitutes living. Tropolism means taking pleasure in Habit.

SANAA Scores


Mr. Ourousoff's review of the design for the New Museum of Contemporary Art, by SANAA, appears today in the New York Times. Unlike his previous love letters (to Zaha, for example), he is back to his articulate and fact-supporting self, without giving up his enthusiasm for the possibility the building presents.

When I was directing the competition for Eyebeam for my former office, we discussed at length how a building can be a laboratory for art, something that creates, educates, and exhibits artwork, reflecting the volatile world of contemporary art (and in Eyebeam's case, 'new media art'). Buildings like PS1 were a great inspiration: build a structure that is not sacred. I share Mr. Ourousoff's enthusiasm for this building, and the future it can live up to.