Posts tagged ‘New York’

SFI12: Beneficiaries as participants.

Part 3 of 5

The second panel focused on Participation. Architecture for Humanity‘s program coordinator, T. Luke Young, kicked off by introducing AFH and the approach they take: “We don’t call ourselves designers; we like to be thought of as catalysts… in a global village.” AFH design fellow Diego Collazos continued by discussing the SEED award winning work he is doing at the Maria Auxiliadora School in Peru. A personal highlight of the project was how Collazos and his team asked students to stick green notes on the parts of the building that are good, and red notes on the parts of the building that are bad. This struck me as such a simple but effective technique for getting feedback, especially from children.

photo of the Maria Auxiliadora School

Tulane City Center‘s SEED award winning project, Grow Dat youth farm, was presented next by Emilie Taylor and Scott Bernhard. Their team empowered the youth to study “the logic of the site,” which informed many design choices, such as situating the building in the worst spot for growing vegetables. Separately, Bernhard also shared that Tulane’s admission rates increased 400% after integrating service-oriented curricula after Hurricane Katrina, such as the projects of City Center. There was a shared feeling of hope between the panelists and audience that other institutions would notice, and follow in Tulane’s footsteps.

photo via of planting at Grow Dat youth farm

The panel wrapped up with Anne Frederick, the founding director of New York’s Hester Street Collaborative. In addition to introducing the audience to HSC’s advocacy work for the Lower East Side’s waterfront (which included a mobile scale model that residents can interact with!), Frederick also shared questions that she’s developed with the Center for Urban Pedagogy to help social change designers frame their projects. Their number one question is a critical but too often overlooked one: Is there a need for the project? (In the case of the SEED award winning projects, I’d guess that the answer is a resounding “yes!”).

Hester Street Collaborative’s “Waterfront on Wheels

April 6’s daily design idea is that “instructive failure” is pervasive in design for social good, particularly when the participant pool is large; an observation articulated by the Tulane City Center team but shared by everyone at Structures.


April 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm Leave a comment

Underground green space?

Large areas of available space are certainly few and far between in New York City, particularly in Manhattan. So PopTech’s Dan Barasch and RAAD’s James Ramsey are proposing to create a public green space underneath the street, complete with natural light carried down through fiber optic cables. In theory, this light would maintain photosynthesizing abilities, so common plants would be able to grow in the underground space.

The proposed project would be an adaptive reuse of the abandoned Williamsburg Trolley Terminal underneath Delancey Street in the Lower East Side. The project is being called the Delancey Underground or, in contrast to Chelsea’s elevated park, the Low Line.

renderings of Ramsey and Barasch’s proposed Low Line

This idea is fairly mind-blowing to me, and I find myself to be simultaneously skeptical, intrigued, and very inspired. Luckily it seems like there’s an awful lot of supporters out there; the Low Line’s Kickstarter campaign earned a third of its target amount in three days (and has 437 backers at the time of writing). I’m sure that the really well done video has helped, too.

Want to learn more? In addition to visiting the project’s website and Kickstarter page, you can check out the unbelievable amount of press coverage including Inhabitat, Architizer, Treehugger, the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, and Co.Design among others.

Feb 24’s daily design idea is: Co.Design notes that this is “the kind of space that childhood daydreams are made of.” Can a realized version of the Low Line live up to the daydream? And even if so, should some creative proposals be intentionally unrealized to preserve the awe that they inspire?

February 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm 1 comment

Swooning, the east coast edition.

The last time you caught me swooning (a word I refuse to take lightly), it was over the residential design for 12+Adler in Portland, by Skylab Architecture.

Today I bring you two more swoon-worthy designs, from the city of New York. Interestingly, they’re also both residential again (I wonder what that says about me?).

First up: the two-story, light-filled library and reading room from an oh-so-shwanky Tribeca loft that I have actually visited in person. And yes, the space really is as wonderful as it looks in this photo (though perhaps a touch more cluttered).

photo via Dying of Cute

Second up: the location used in the movie Last Night as the main characters’ home. I particularly can’t stop thinking about the almost-everything-fits-under-the-counter kitchen (and its freestanding sinks).

images from Last Night, with production design by Tim Grimes

February 15’s daily design idea is what do the spaces that linger in your memory say about you?

February 15, 2012 at 9:12 pm Leave a comment

Replay: Sleep No More

Last night I saw “Sleep No More” by the amazing London-based group Punchdrunk. I don’t want to give too much away, because the show is so much about the mystery of the place (and because the version of the show that you will see is undeniably going to be different than the version that I saw)… but as someone who so strongly believes in documenting and measuring even the most subjective experiences, I felt the need to share a few facts with you:

The set took five months to build. It was a professional crew. They worked 6 day weeks, on average. They had to get a building permit from NYC’s Department of Buildings to do what they did.

Each night, it takes three hours to pre-set the show. Even with five stories of set to dress, that’s impressive.

The show starts at 7pm each night. The crew hits “play” on all the pre-programmed spectacular effects at 6:53pm. For any theater junkies that are reading this: they do have stage managers, but those people do not call traditional cues. The team’s first “stage manager” had an events production background and didn’t know the meaning of that title.

The maximum amount of time that a theater-goer can spend at this show is 3 hours, but there is about 15 hours worth of prepared content in that three hour time span.

big thanks to Meagan Miller-McKeever for introducing me to the creative geniuses behind Punchdrunk!

March 17’s daily design idea – while not a proven fact – is definitively my opinion, expectation, and hope: productions like this are the future of theater.

March 17, 2011 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

Empire State Building, Chelsea

More gorgeous work from Brooklyn Theory:

Empire State Building, Chelsea

March 12’s daily design idea is reflection can bring beautiful new perspectives.

March 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm Leave a comment

Getting friendly (via GOOD).

Two recent articles in GOOD offer up ideas for getting friendly with strangers. In the first, Allison Arieff asks if the NYC subways are ready for Conversation Cars, while the second, “How To: Picnic with Strangers,” features the mostly Melbourne-based site Eat With Me.

While not as randomized as, say, Chat Roulette, opening up these kinds of avenues for interaction with strangers is definitely a bit beyond your everyday control freak. That said, they also provide an excellent opportunity for some intellectual stimulation, some advice, or just a good laugh.

March 1’s daily design idea is how (un)controlled do you like your interactions to be?

March 1, 2011 at 10:22 pm Leave a comment

The illustrations on the wall.

Here are some great words from artist Timothy Goodman (via designworklife) about his illustration work for the ACE Hotel in New York City:

I hand drew 99 pic­ture frames to cre­ate a dense wall of “dis­cov­ery” about NYC that could be passed to the com­mon tourist stay­ing in the room. Each frame con­tains a dif­fer­ent fact / love / tid­bit / thing of inter­est / or shout-out to a place I dig in the city. At roughly 120 square feet, the art was drawn impre­cisely to cap­ture the spon­tane­ity and grit of the city. I used paint mark­ers and opaque black paint to help this tech­nique excel. Consequently, it became a labor of love, an act of obses­sive­ness that was pleas­antly grueling.

After discovering Cleavland-born Goodman‘s work for the ACE, I couldn’t help but think back to a scenic design by Rita DeAngelo (a former classmate of mine) for the show Grease. The yearbook-like portraits she painted actually looked like the actors in the show, many of which were friends with Rita – also making this project a grueling labor of love.

December 13’s daily design idea is a personal connection is a great motivator for going above and beyond.

December 13, 2010 at 8:13 pm Leave a comment

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