Roundup — adAPT NYC, a Brooklyn Plaza, the Radio City of Brooklyn, Sandy Updates, 1913 Prices, Learning from Modernism and Stoller Beyond Architecture

“My Micro NY,” the winning design in the adAPT NYC competition | Image via nArchitects

On Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg announced the winners of adAPT NYC, a pilot program to develop “a new housing model for the City’s growing small-household population.” My Micro NY — the winning proposal by nArchitects, Monadnock Development, and the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation — is composed of 55 micro-units of 250 to 370 square feet with nine- to ten-foot ceiling heights and Juliette balconies. Individual units will be built off-site at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and then assembled on a City-owned property in Kips Bay, making it Manhattan’s first multi-family modular construction project. 40% of the units are priced to be affordable, with the lowest rent set at $940 a month. The winning proposal, as well as the four other finalists, are featured in Making Room: New Models of Housing for New Yorkers, an exhibit on view at the Museum of the City of New York through September 15th.

Willoughby Plaza, Downtown Brooklyn | Image via DOT

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Plaza Program has been a center piece of the Bloomberg administration’s strategy to “transform underused streets into vibrant, social public spaces.” One of its first experiments, the temporary transformation of Willoughby Plaza in Downtown Brooklyn from roadway to pedestrian space, last week was made permanent. DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan highlighted the openings of establishments such as Shake Shack and Panera Bread when stating: “It’s not only a safety project, it’s not only a livability project, it’s an economic development project.”

Loew’s Theatre, Flatbush, Brooklyn | Image via Steve Minor

Last month, Gabriel Silberblatt looked at “the fate of the American movie palace” through the photography of Matt Lambros, with a particular focus on renovation plans for the Loew’s Kings Theatre on Flatbush Avenue. On Wednesday, after decades spent in neglect and several failed renovation attempts, the Kings Theatre redevelopment project broke ground. The restoration — intended to make the theater the “Radio City Music Hall of Brooklyn” — will cost $93.9 million and include a new 20,000-square-foot backstage area. The project is scheduled for completion by late 2014, after which the theater will host an estimated 250 events a year.

While the region waits for the Senate to approve the Sandy aid bill approved by the House last week, Governor Cuomo unveiled a $142.6 billion state budget proposal on Tuesday that includes approximately $30 billion for Sandy-related repairs and mitigation strategies. Under the proposal, $6 billion would be allocated to the MTA and Port Authority to invest in vent covers, tunnel bladders, and additional pumping capacity to minimize damage to transit infrastructure in future storms. According to Nancy Levinson, the necessary government role in disaster recovery and mitigation stands in stark contrast to the push for greater austerity and privatization of public works, which she says will weaken government’s ability to respond. ConEd, after having hundreds of thousands of customers without power for up to two weeks post-Sandy, is asking to raise utility rates to finance upgrades designed to protect against the next storm.

Questions about the future of the South Ferry station — which was devastated by the storm surge — continue, with many asking if the $600 million price to rebuild the station would be better spent elsewhere. The debate over whether to rebuild or retreat in coastal areas gained new ferver following Governor Cuomo’s encouragement of homeowners to take a governmental buyout of their properties, an unpopular position with residents that have begun the rebuilding process, though a welcome one for some residents pushing for Bloomberg to initiate the process.

The downtown real estate scene, despite recent positive leasing numbers, may have been substantially damaged by Sandy, according to a survey by accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron of more than 100 New York real estate players. 56% of respondents believe that the storm hurt commercial real estate property values in Lower Manhattan and 20% believe property values have been “permanently lowered.”

Main Hall, Grand Central Terminal | Image via Alex Proimos


New York’s grandest entry point celebrates its 100th birthday on February 1st with a day of events, performances, presentations — and 1913 prices (19¢ shrimp, 5¢ coffee, 10¢ shoe shines, $2 ties…)! The day marks the official opening of a year-long series of celebratory events that will include exhibitions, installations, publication releases (including a special edition Moleskine sketchbook featuring the winners of a recent drawing competition hosted by the League and the New York Transit Museum), the unveiling of a new Grand Central Terminal postage stamp, and more.

Starting this Tuesday, January 29th, check out Lessons from Modernism at The Cooper Union, an exhibit examining environmental strategies used in modern architecture from 1925-1970, an era before environmentalism was much of a design consideration. Organized by Cooper Union’s Institute for Sustainable Design and School of Architecture, the exhibit runs through March 16th, with a reception on January 29th at 6:30pm.

In 2011, Alan Rapp reviewed Unseeing Modernism, an exhibition that explored the architectural photography for which Ezra Stoller is best known. Now, on view through March 2nd, Yossi Milo Gallery is moving Beyond Architecture, with a new show exploring Stoller’s photographic documentation of industry, technology, transportation and working-class Americans.

With the 2012 Venice Architectural Biennale still in recent memory, the Department of State is now accepting submissions for 2014 through April 1st. Last year’s American pavilion, “Spontaneous Interventions,” received special mention from the jury.


The Roundup keeps you up to date with topics we’ve featured and other things we think are worth knowing about.

The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.