Redesigning New York’s Waterfronts

Hurricane Sandy's Damage in Dumbo Brooklyn

Hurricane Sandy’s Damage in Dumbo Brooklyn

Sandy, storm of the century, reeked havoc on 1/3 of  the US over the past few days and devastated many east coast cities, namely New York.

Many sections of the Manhattan waterfront were flooded.  The west side to Hudson Street, parts of the Lower East Side, Dumbo, Red Hook, Queens and Long Island City were submerged in water.  One wonders, could this have been prevented?

Over two years ago, MoMA and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center created The Rising Currents exhibit.  The exhibit showcased five projects that addressed the concern for climate change over the next five years and how it will drastically effect Manhattan’s waterfront.

The harbor was divided into five areas and given to five teams (composed of members of n Architects-in-residence program at P.S.1).  Their goal, according to the Rising Currents project, was to “re-envision the coastlines of New York, and New Jersey around the New York harbor and to imagine new ways to occupy the harbor with adaptive soft infrastructures that are sympathetic to the needs of a sound ecology”.

The Rising Currents exhibition ran from March 24, 2010 to October 11, 2010.  Its unfortunate that a natural disater like Sandy had to happen before New York opened it’s eyes to the inevitable destruction.

The harbor divided into 5 zones

The harbor divided into 5 zones

Potential plan for zone 0 to stop sewage overflow and block higher sea levels

Potential plan for zone 0 to stop sewage overflow and block higher sea levels

nArchitects, Zone 3: An archipelago of man-made islands lines the coast of Staten Island and Brooklyn. These islands not only filter the storm waves, but will be programmed with specific functions to accommodate the expected spike in the population.

One Square Meter = Home Sweet Home

Bigger is always better, right? Not in this case.  Berlin based architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel created a one square meter house.

The “One-Sqm-House”, as it is named has a lockable door, window, built in desk and when flipped on it’s side,  a built in bed.  The only thing this house is lacking is plumbing (which means no kitchen or bathroom).

Le-Mentzel wanted a house of his own in which he could control where he went, which way his window faced and door opened, and who his neighbors are.  He drew a lot of his inspiration on aircraft cabins and their spacial savvy-ness.

The house is said to weigh a mere 90 lbs. and can easily fit into most elevators and subway cars.

Interested in occupying your own sq. meter utopia?  The materials to build one cost roughly $300, or it can be rented for a little more than $1 a night.  Visit airbnb for info.

Pop Up Coffee

Design group Nendo conceived its first ever Pop Up Starbucks in Tokyo Japan which was open Sept 9- Sept 30.  For those unfamiliar with the term “Pop Up Shop”, it is simply when a company or brand takes over an existing space.  In this case Starbucks, the well famed coffee brand occupied an art gallery.

The two story space was called “Starbucks Espresso Journey” and was designed to resemble a library.  The clean neat design was lined with a gradient of brown tone books.  The second floor was a open area for customers to sit and enjoy their coffee.  The concept was to mesh the two pleasures of reading and drinking a cup of coffee.

Upon entry the customer is encouraged to explore the 9 different books, each color coded to represent a 9 different drinks sold.  Once the customer is educated and has selected the perfect book (coffee), it is then brought to the counter in exchange for the drink.  The reverse of the book covers also double as an insert foe a short or tall tumbler, should you want a souvenir of your experience.

 

images from Designbloom

 

Phenomenology: Steven Holl’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Phenomenology is a more genuine approach to architecture. It is an architecture that is experienced through our senses and becomes more immersive. Here in Steven Holl’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art he uses light as another building material that changes your experience between night and day. During the day he mixes different light sources captured from multiple directions and mixes them to generate the perfect lighting for the work on display. At night the museum radiates light from with-in and illuminates the landscape. The project was an addition to an existing building and is composed of five connected structures that move down the slope of the landscape on the right of side of the existing conditions. Holl does an excellent job of considering the artists work with both how he blends natural light and also how he collaborates with the sculpture piece in the front to allow for natural light to flow down into the parking garage underground. Holl has a good understanding of what architecture should be and how it should be built to fit the needs of the program and still focus on human interaction.

  

Innhouse Kunming, China

Nestled in the forest of Kunming, the eco friendly Innhouse, is a winner of the 2012 WAN Award.  The Innhouse is just one in a series of projects by The Oval Partnership.  Their aim is to create and set the standard for environmentally correct design.

The Innhouse is a “village” of 17 guesthouses arranged in an “L” shape surrounded by nature trails and retained trees.  The building units are composed of two wings and a semi open vertical circulation unit.  The guest suite has a  cantilevered balcony and open living space.  The sustainable design maximizes natural daylight and ventilation.  The site also utilizes solar thermal hot water, rainwater recycling and grey water reuse

Wohn- und Geschäftshaus Tiroler Goldschmid

This is Wohn- und Geschäftshaus Tiroler Goldschmid by Höller & Klotzner in Schenna, Italy. It is group of a residential and commercial buildings. The second photo shows the context of the site and how the two different types of architecture contrast each other in a rather pleasing way. The cube-like commercial building appears to be floating on top of the large heavy base due to the long windows underneath it. The base on which it rests acts as a platform for both buildings and boutique shops at street level. This is an interesting composition that has a lot of richness to be observed and studied.