GREATEST BUILDING EVER
What is the greatest building in New York? New York Magazine asked that question to a panel of noted architectural thinkers, including the League’s very own executive director Rosalie Genevro and board members Robert A.M. Stern and Gregg Pasquarelli, for its recent feature The Greatest New York Ever. The “arguers” weigh in on what makes a good New York building and debate their picks for the city’s best. Grand Central Terminal won points for its accessibility, legibility and beauty, and Breuer’s brutalist Whitney, with two votes, is runner up. Their debate generates insight into the past ten years of development and design in New York, which Mark Lamster talks more about in this Design Observer post
THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH
A new documentary turns fresh eyes to the notorious demolition of Minoru Yamasaki’s Pruitt-Igoe housing project. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth examines the stories excluded when the housing project became a symbol for the death of modernism – namely those of its tenants – and looks to the urban context of 1960s St. Louis to provide a more complex understanding of the building’s ultimate demise. Through interviews and research the documentarians analyze the influence of urban renewal and suburbanization in the development of America’s post war urban landscape, in a film that, given the recent burst of the housing bubble, seems particularly timely. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth premieres at the Oxford Film Festival in Mississippi on February 11-13.
NEW PARK DESIGN GUIDELINES
Streetsblog reports on the new High Performance Landscape Guidelines just released by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation and the Design Trust for Public Space. “A comprehensive manual for the design and construction of sustainable parks and open space,” the guidelines offer best practices for stormwater management, reducing the urban heat island effect, encouraging physical activity and increasing bike and pedestrian accessibility. You can download a PDF of the complete manual on the Parks Department’s website.
TOMORROW: ROBERT MOSES IN SONG
Who knew urban planning could elicit so much musical inspiration? Last month, we published a review of In the Footprint, a theatrical production about Atlantic Yards. Tomorrow night, the story of polemical planner Robert Moses will have the stage. Robert Moses Astride New York is a musical-in-progress chronicling the master builder’s career as he transformed New York and battled New Yorkers. Composer Gary Fagin scores the protests of mothers vying to save a Central Park playground and draws dialogue from Robert Caro’s definitive Moses tome, The Power Broker, (Caro himself got a sneak peek at the production for this New York Times piece). Starring Rinde Eckert and accompanied by the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra, Robert Moses Astride New York premieres tomorrow, January 15th, in a free, one night only performance at the World Financial Center Winter Garden.
DIGGING UP BROOKLYN
Last week, we delved into the underworld of London’s sewers to show you fatbergs. This week’s excavated find is a little lighter on the ick-factor. Check out Pardon Me For Asking for a look at an excavated outhouse pit in the backyard of a Brooklyn Heights home built in 1845. Urban archeologists Scott Jordan and Jack Fortmeyer have unearthed discarded household objects from the 19th century in what is just the latest in their 35-year history of urban archaeological digs.
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The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.