LOW COST, HIGH SPEED SHELTERS
The Tokyo-based firm Shigeru Ban Architects (SBA), known for its ecologically sensitive, flexibly programmed structures, is seeking financial support for their effort to help victims displaced by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. SBA plan to deploy simple, cardboard and paper partition shelters, originally designed for use after the 2005 Fukuoka earthquake, which provide privacy and separation for families in highly dense refugee camps and can be produced at low cost and high speed. Find out how to donate, and see photographs of SBA’s designs, on the firm’s website. (To learn more about Shigeru Ban’s work, watch the video of his Architectural League lecture in 2008 here.)
PREFAB AT ATLANTIC YARDS
This week brought renewed controversy over the Atlantic Yards site, this time in prefab form. The New York Times reports that Forest City Ratner may erect a modular 34-story residential tower to meet low-income housing requirements at the site. Building modularly will save big on time and money, but at what cost? Activist group Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn is particularly concerned with the loss of promised union jobs. Ratner plans to open its own factory for the production of modular pieces for construction, a move that DDDB calls “the latest casualty among Forest City Ratner’s endless string of cynical, empty, broken promises.” Modular construction has also been criticized on quality – this will be the tallest modular structure ever built, and questions have been raised on compromised appearance. Check out more coverage on Atlantic Yards Report and Brownstoner, who includes a clip from the soon-to-be-released documentary The Battle of Brooklyn from directors Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky on the use (and abuse?) of eminent domain at Atlantic Yards.
NYU AMENDS PLAN FOR EXPANSION
NYU has re-released plans to expand its campus into Greenwich Village as two reconfigured super-blocks — part of which includes a 14-story dorm atop a public school (currently a grocery store). WNYC reports that the plan now requires the relocation of the grocery store, a popular dog-run and a sports facility. Although NYU promises to provide benefits to the community (such as an increase in neighborhood open and green space), the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation remains opposed to the changed plan. Decide for yourself: a standing display of the new plan will be on view Tuesdays through Sundays, starting next week, at NYU’s Open House space (528 LaGuardia Place).
MAS Context is a quarterly online journal created by architecture and urban design firm MAS Studio to address issues “that affect the urban context,” and does a great job of doing just that. The most recent issue focuses on networks, “whether physical or virtual, formal and informal, to understand their possibilities and power in our lives,” and includes essays on everything from physical infrastructure to media and information to genealogy and mediation. Check out the full issue here, and be sure to read the interview with Foodprint Project founders Nicola Twilley and Sarah Rich, familiar to Omnibus readers from Food and the Shape of Cities and Foodprint City, which furthers the discourse on how the relationship between food and the built environment interacts with and molds our experience of urban life.
Vision2020, NYC’s comprehensive waterfront plan, was released by the Department of City Planning in complete form on March 14th. The plan outlines a 10-year vision for the future of the City’s 520 miles of shoreline, promoted by the Bloomberg administration as the city’s “sixth borough.” The document covers expanding the waterfront for recreation, supporting the working waterfront and coordinating governance over waterways. Stay tuned for more coverage of the plan on Urban Omnibus, coming soon.
TO DO: EVENTS AND VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
Richard Sennett, urbanist, author and professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics (and the Omnibus’ very first “Walk and Talk”), will speak at 6pm on Monday, April 11th at the City College of New York on “The Edge: Borders and Boundaries in the City.” As a social analyst, Sennett has explored the relationship between cityscape and subjective experience — drawing on ethnography and interviews to contextualize his findings.
Explore the boundaries of plastic in architecture, engineering and materials science at the fourth of the glass, concrete, metal, plastic and light conference on architecture, engineering and materials. “Permanent Change: Plastics in Architecture and Engineering” will take place March 30 – April 1 at Columbia University.
“Water Water Every Where” is now on view at BRIC Arts | Media | Brooklyn, an exhibition featuring the work of seven artists, six based in New York, all exploring “water’s inextricable presence in our lives.” The show is curated by Elizabeth Ferrer, who aims to push back against what she sees as the typical New Yorker’s tendency “to look inward (and indeed, upwards) when imagining the contours of the city.” The show will be up through Saturday April 30th on 33 Clinton Street in Brooklyn.
For the urban agriculturists out there, check out Battery Conservancy’s call for volunteers to create an urban farm in Battery Park, every day next week, March 21-25, 9-5pm. Contact email@example.com for more information.
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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.