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24.03.2015 admin
It's a shame the stairs are next to the exterior windows - that is prime merchandising space. At the corner of Spring and West Streets in lower Manhattan, sandwiched between a ventilation tower for the Holland Tunnel and the Hudson River waterfront, there is a large, jaggy object that could be a monument. The firms that designed the Salt Shed and the garage were hired in 2005 by the DSNY, but the process was informed by the DDCa€™s design excellence agenda, and the project was built by the DDC. The current mayor, Bill de Blasio, and his administration are not known for their enthusiasm for urban design. Another example of equity in architecture is a remodel of a 1970s public library in East Flatbush by LevenBetts. Faith Rose, AIA, who worked at the DDC as a design liaison under Burney, and who was subsequently appointed as executive director of the PDC by de Blasio (a post from which she recently resigned in order to work in private practice with her husband, also an architect), is more generous. Karrie Jacobs is a contributing editor for ARCHITECT and a faculty member at School of Visual Artsa€™ graduate program in Design Research, Writing, and Criticism.
The developers of Third and Main in historic Springfield are asking for more time to repay an $850,000 loan the city gave for construction of the multi-story building, which houses the popular Uptown Kitchen & Bar. The loan was due to be paid in full by last month, but Third and Main LLC is asking for a multi-year extension so it can shore up the finances of the building, which opened in 2009.
The Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Trust Fund Board agreed Tuesday to back an 11-year extension for repayment of the loan. When Third and Main, which takes its name from the corner where it stands, opened six years ago, city officials hailed it as a sign of Springfield’s revival because it marked brand-new commercial construction on the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare. The building combines ground-floor retail with second-floor residential, and also has an outdoor dining area along Main Street. The trust fund relies on repayment of loans to replenish the fund’s ability to assist other applicants, so delays in recouping loans from recipients like Third and Main limit how much the trust fund has available for businesses that seek grants and loans. Third and Main accounts for about 60 jobs on site, which has exceeded the minimum 12 jobs required by the development agreement. The rest of the building space involves 36 extended-stay apartments geared toward patients from the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute, which is located about a mile away.
The proposed restructuring would allow Third and Main LLC to keep paying just the interest amount owed on the $850,000 for another two years. Cesery said allowing interest-only payments for two years would enable him to set aside money for replacing worn items in the fully furnished residences. Johns Place (otherwise known as 137 Fifth Avenue), is just about complete, and the sidewalk shed that's been obscuring the finished product has finally come down.
It looks like the sort of commemorative hunk of marble you might find along the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
In 2004, David Burney, FAIA, was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to be commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction (DDC). It is exactly what youa€™d expect from a collaboration between Dattner and WXY: The garage (which cost $194 million) is muscular but nuanced.
According to Friedlander, the crusading community members didna€™t want a shed that was in any way open. In this case, a€?equitya€? is represented by a transparent street wall that replaced an opaque one.
But Bill Cesery, who is the developer behind the project, told the board that he thinks it is turning the corner and reaching a break-even point.

The corporation then would pay principal and interest for another nine years, which would reduce the debt. Except that ita€™s not marble: the lovely mottled surface of the crystalline polygon is cast-in-place concrete. The DDC, charged with erecting all of the citya€™s public buildings (with the exception of schools) and also much of its infrastructure, was a workhorse agency not well known outside government.
It has a green roof that harvests rainwater, which is stored in a cistern and used for washing garbage trucks.
The DDC is still using Burneya€™s design guidelines to hire architects, but they have updated the program, which is now called Design and Construction Excellence 2.0. At the end of the 11th year, the company would either pay the remaining amount of the debt or the city could decide to further extend the payment schedule. I can't believe the developer wants another 11 years to pay it back, ridiculous and what about all those people staying in the 36 room extended stay facility, are they staying for free??
The long version starts in the 1990s with the Hudson River Park, a 4-mile-long waterfront recreation facility that forced the DSNY to abandon a couple of piers that the agency had long used for parking and storage. But Burney, a soft-spoken English transplant who had previously been the director of design for the New York City Housing Authority, made it his mission to upgrade the quality of libraries, firehouses, EMS centers, and streetscapes. It has color-coded floors (a different hue for each of the three sanitation districts housed within) visible through a glass curtainwall and movable louvers that help regulate sunlight, keeping the building warmer in winter and cooler in summer. We were ordered to build a sealed building.a€? He says that his office and both architecture firms were staying up nights trying to figure the thing out. An engineer named Feniosky PeA±a-Mora, who became the DDCa€™s commissioner in 2014, explains that the department revised the approach based on a€?lensesa€? delineated by the mayor in a document called OneNYC. To replace the piers, the city purchased a large parking lot on West Street from UPS and began planning a new garage for garbage trucks.
Burney was inspired by a General Services Administration initiative to improve the design of federal buildings, as well as by a manifesto called a€?Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture,a€? which was written by Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1962 (before he was a senator).
The facility is heated by steam piped in from a Con Edison plant, which also drives a turbine that supplies about half the electricity needed to light the building. Several times, the architects had to show their work to the Public Design Commission (PDC). Moreover, any time you deliver a thoughtfully made public building, park, plaza, or streetscape to an underserved neighborhood, youa€™re advancing the cause of equity.
If you visit the Spring Street Salt Shed and walk around the creased perimeter, youa€™ll encounter a giant garage door, about four or five stories tall.
The project was shaped by the usual stew of conflicting forces, including the concerns of those celebrity neighbors.
A little known body (originally the Municipal Art Commission), it was established by the city charter in 1898 and must sign off on all public buildings, structures, and spaces. In New York City, LEED Silver has been a minimum requirement for all publicly funded buildings since 2005.
It opens onto a huge, concrete-lined room containing a mountain of salt in cappuccino colors: light brown and white. But the city instead sold the first floor back to UPS as an industrial condominium, and the salt storage was relocated to a small, triangular site across the street occupied by an obsolete 1920s sanitation garage, one too small to house todaya€™s garbage trucks.There were a number of key players. The architects, says Bauer, did everything they could to make a building for giant trucks a€?more people scale,a€? including shaving 12 feet off the garagea€™s height.

And in 2010, the city published a landmark handbook of strategies (authored by the DDC and other agencies) for healthier buildings and urban environments. Speaking of the de Blasio administrationa€™s approach toward design, Polshek says, a€?Ita€™s all a matter of equality or inequality.
It could be a work of minimalist sculpture, something by environmental artist like Andy Goldsworthy.
There were, of course, the architects: Dattner has a reputation for designing solid, high-quality public buildings in New York City, commissions that dona€™t afford the firm much opportunity to dazzle. The drive for equity, however, is de Blasioa€™s political signature, and it doesna€™t suggest an obvious architectural response. On the inside, it seems, the de Blasio administration needs to keep reassuring itself that its design excellence program responds to the larger agenda, the mayora€™s quest for a€?a strong and just city.a€? Ita€™s not that therea€™s anything wrong with his goals, but rather that the method of achieving them threatens to suck some of the life out of public architecture. The building, inside and out, is so off-kilter and so wonderful that ita€™s hard to believe it exists.
WXY is a much smaller firm, with a staff of about two dozen, a deft touch, and many eye-catching projects to its credit, such as the swirly new Rockaways boardwalk in Queens that replaced the one washed away by Hurricane Sandy. Because the architectural fee was a given, there could be no low or high bids, and architects were judged on their portfolios and their technical skills. The garage was a€?a very neutral building,a€? he thought, shaped by neighborhood complaints. When I ask PeA±a-Mora how equity plays out in built form, he points to renderings of a Bronx police precinct designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). How did this roughly $18 million piece of publicly funded infrastructure, one built for so quotidian a purpose, wind up being so gorgeous?The short answer is this: New Yorka€™s Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has an in-house architect named Mike Friedlander. Smaller firms could apply for $4 million contracts and larger firms for contracts worth $10 million. The firm was awarded a contract in 2013, under the previous administration, but the design is one of the first to be issued by the new DDC leadership.At the time the project was getting started, the city was embroiled in the controversy over Eric Garner, who died when an arresting officer held him in a choke hold. In more than 30 years of working for the department, hea€™s developed a strategy for circumventing the objections that neighbors (who, in this case, included celebrities like John Slattery and the late James Gandolfini) generally have to the construction of one of his facilities.
For Weisz, it was an opportunity to land a project that was bigger and more complex than anything her firm had ever tackled on its own: a€?We thought this was our chance to actually do a large-scale civic, industrial building,a€? she says.
By 2005, the agency began hiring architects under Burneya€™s initiative, which he called Design and Construction Excellence.
During a PDC meeting, Polshek Googled a€?salta€? and, after looking at highly magnified photos, suggested that the building be more sculptural, that it should resemble a salt crystal. Yes, talented architects are still being hired to design public buildings, and while their portfolios are not evaluated solely on commitment to the lenses, every proposal is expected to incorporate them. We created a wonderful integration of public space.a€? The precinct has a street-level room for community use at the front of the building, and the exterior wall of that room is conspicuously perforated, a very literal connection between inside and outside.
Architects, of course, know how to talk a good game, but it would take an exceptional rhetorician under the current regime to defend something as unexpectedly spectacular as the Salt Shed.See more photos in Architect's project gallery.

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