Last Friday, we made our second annual visit to Randall’s Island for a field trip to the Department of Parks & Recreation’s Five Borough Technical Services Complex and its incredible green roof. Chief of Technical Services Artie Rollins gave us a comprehensive overview of the roof’s 20+ green roof systems, including tray systems, bag systems, Xero Flor systems, homemade mixes of soil and perlite, elevated planters, overhead trellises and green walls. 5-Boro has also recently added a 4,000-square-foot vegetable garden to the roof. A little less green than last year, seeing as the summer has been so very hot and dry, but still so impressive, beautiful and inspiring—our flickr photos are testament. Artie also passed on a very informative handout detailing the various systems in place.
There was a ton of response for this field trip, and we were only able to accomodate a limited number of guests, mostly from our e-mail newsgroup. If you’d like to be among the first to learn about our events and field trips, you can sign up for our bi-weekly newsgroup here.
The Imagination Playground opened today in the South Street Seaport area of Lower Manhattan. It’s the first permanent site where children can interact with the loose parts—a collection of moveable, stackable, manipulable pieces that can also couple with sand and moving water—that have been designed and developed by architect David Rockwell, who also designed the playground. A mobile version has been touring New York City’s parks for the last year. The New York Times City Room Blog describes the new space:
Instead of monkey bars and jungle gyms, there are fountains with canals of cascading water that can be dammed in infinite ways, or transformed into a network of rivers. There is an engaging set of lifts and pulleys. Play is proctored and interaction fostered by a staff of city workers trained as ‘play associates.’
Loose parts and sandboxes, as non-revolutionary as they may seem, are atypical in New York City playgrounds. Their maintenance and replacement can be costly and frequent. Funding a play associate could be a good way to monitor use and to ensure the integrity of the playground; we’ll be following the operation of this playground with interest.
The project’s $4.3 millon construction cost and $3 million water main relocation was supported by federal monies raised by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Rockwell also raised funds for an endowment to pay for the site’s ongoing maintenance.
Urban Omnibus recaps (and streams) an Architectural League discussion between Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for The New Yorker, and former NYC Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Dan Doctoroff. The discussion covers a number of the controversial projects Doctoroff helped initiate before and during his tenure, including the City’s failed 2012 Olympics bid, the West Side Stadium project, the Atlantic Yards and congestion pricing. It also reviews his contributions to the City’s sustainability initiatives under PlaNYC 2030, the comprehensive urban program that seeks to provide long-term solutions to increased population while providing for municipal land-use needs. Doctoroff pointed to hybrid cabs, MillionTreesNYC and the Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan as tangible and valuable outcomes of that program thusfar.
It should be noted that the Freshkills Park site was part of the 2012 Olympics bid (as the venue for mountain biking events), which gave the project a valuable boost despite the bid’s own fate. The project now aims to exemplify practice as outlined by PlaNYC 2030; Doctoroff’s legacy is palpable at this site as well as many others in the City.
Urban Omnibus offers a review of two newly opened New York City skate parks, the 16,000 sq. ft. “street” course in Corona Park and the 15,000 sq. ft. “flow” course at Hudson River Park’s Pier 62. Designer and skater Buck Jackson gives both parks the thumbs-up as replacements for the recenly closed Brooklyn Banks and Unisphere Fountain skate areas, thought he notes some concerns about early surface wear, need for additional shading and the use of more environmentally responsible construction materials.
Both parks were designed by California Skateparks. The Corona course is hosted by the NYC Parks Department through its “Adopt-A-Park” program, and Pier 62 was developed by the Hudson River Park Trust.
The New York City Department of Transportation has announced the winner of its reNEWable Times Square design competition, aimed to temporarily “refresh and revive” the streetscape of newly pedestrianized Times Square while plans for permanent reconstruction proceed (construction is slated for 1012). Brooklyn artist Molly Dilworth‘s Cool Water, Hot Island was selected from 150 submitted designs for the pedestrian zones along Broadway from 47th to 42nd Streets. The piece is a large-scale painted installation abstractly interpreting—and mitigating!—Manhattan’s heat island effect. From NYCDOT’s release:
The proposed design’s color palette of striking blues and whites reflects more sunlight and absorb less heat – improving the look of these popular pedestrian plazas while making them more comfortable to sit in. The color and patterns evoke water, suggesting a river flowing through the center of Times Square, and they also provide a compelling visual counterpoint to the reds, oranges and yellows of the area’s signature marquees and billboards.
An illustrative lecture by William Reed AIA, an architect at the Integrative Design Collaborative as well as Regenesis, Inc. and Delving Deeper who is a nati0nally recognized expert on the practice of sustainable design, delivered in March as part of the Boston Society of Architects lecture series. Reed speaks about the need for “whole-systems design,” the design of built projects that aims for both integration and co-evolution of built structures and natural systems in given development site, community or region.
The Architectural League of New York has just mounted an exhibit called ‘The City We Imagined/The City We Made: New New York 2001-2010‘ about architecture, planning, and development in New York City since 2001.
This installment chronicles the transformation the physical city in light of the convergence of an array of powerful forces: the events of 9/11, the policies and priorities of the Bloomberg Administration, the volatility of global and local economies, advances in material and construction technologies, and a new interest among the public in contemporary architecture.
The exhibit consists of design proposals from the last ten years, a large collection of photos gathered from design professionals citywide, interviews and original video. New York Magazine offers a sort-of-review—more a reflection on stasis and change in the City’s landscape—in its most recent issue.
May 8-June 26, 2010
Location: 250 Hudson Street (Enter on Dominick Street)
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, Noon-7pm
Recent collaborations between architects, artists and landscape architects have begun to blur the boundaries between architecture, art and site. What does it mean to intervene in the environment with these projects? What differentiates or unifies spatial form, sculpture and landscape?
Panelists are Alice Aycock, Sculptor; Signe Nielsen, FASLA, Principal, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architecture; Dennis Oppenheim, Installation Artist; Christopher Sharples, AIA, Principal, SHoP Architects.
Monday, May 3rd, 2010 | 5:30-8pm
@ The Center for Architecture
536 Laguardia Place, New York, NY
Free for AIA members; $10 for non-members
Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterfront opens today at the MoMA. The exhibit features architectural proposals transforming New York City’s harbor and coastline in response to sea level rise. Last fall’s architects-in-residence program at P.S.1 brought together five interdisciplinary teams to produce plans, models, drawings and analytical models that now make up the show.
Urban Omnibus offers an in-depth preview and primer on project focal points: industrial development that creates new marine habitat on the Kill Van Kull; oyster reef restoration on the Gowanus Bay and Buttermilk Channel; a partially submerged residential development in the Narrows; park expansion onto piers at Liberty State Park; carefully stratefied tower construction at the southern tip of Manhattan.
The show runs through October 11th.
Now that the City of New York has decided to make the pedestrian plazas in Times Square permanent, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), in partnership with the Times Square Alliance, has issued a Request for Proposals for conceptual designs of short-term “refreshes” of the plazas. The alternate designs, once implemented, are expected to be operational for eight months, beginning in mid-July. Proposal submission deadline is April 16th.
The competition is taking place in tandem with a separate design process for a permanent reconstruction project, to begin in 2012 in partnership with the Department of Design and Construction and under the umbrella of the Mayor’s Greenlight for Midtown program.
(via Urban Omnibus)