The AIA Guide to New York City: In Search of Green Places
The authors provide a preview of the new edition a decade in the making
Summary: To prepare for publishing the fifth edition of the AIA Guide to New York City in 2010, we’ve walked and driven countless streets in the five boroughs in search of interesting new buildings to include. There have been some big changes since the last edition nine years ago, not only the staggering number of new buildings, but also the fact that so many of them are proudly marketed as green.
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates’ Teardrop Park, Battery Park City, is described in the new edition as “a shady and mysterious glen, full of nooks and switchbacks.” Photo courtesy Fran Leadon, AIA.
When Croxton Collaborative Architects renovated the Audubon Society’s headquarters at the corner of Broadway and East 4th Street in 1992 using sustainable energy systems and recycled materials, it was a bit of a novelty. These days some stab at sustainability is virtually required. Sustainability is rapidly becoming synonymous with good design, and it even seems to be evolving into an aesthetic—call it Green Sleek.
Additions to the new edition will include green buildings that are tall (Cook+Fox’s Bank of America Tower, Foster + Partner’s Hearst Tower, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s 7 World Trade Center), luxurious (Polshek Partnership and Ismael Leyva Architects’ Riverhouse, Pelli Clarke Pelli’s futuristic-sounding Visionaire, Solaire, and Verdesian), and fun (BKSK’s Queens Botanical Garden Visitor & Administration Center, Antonio Di Oronzo of bluarch architecture + interiors’ Greenhouse nightclub on Varick Street in Manhattan).
Antonio Di Oronzo of bluarch architecture + interiors Greenhouse nightclub on Varick Street in Manhattan, NYC’s first sustainable nightclub, built almost entirely of recycled materials. Photo courtesy ado.
BKSK’s project, the city’s first LEED Platinum-certified building, features on-site storm water retention, recycled materials, and beautiful integration of exterior and interior space. Di Oronzo’s Greenhouse is the city’s first sustainable nightclub, built almost entirely of recycled materials. Di Oronzo turned the LEED-certified club into a riotous jungle: fake moss creeps up the walls of the main space, and the ceiling of the downstairs lounge is festooned with faux fall foliage.
Authors Leadon (left) and White on Bleecker Street, January 30, 2000. Photo courtesy Fran Leadon, AIA.
Pelli Clarke Pelli’s Solaire was proclaimed as the first green
residential tower in the city, featuring a rooftop garden by Balmori
Associates. Polshek and Leyva’s Riverhouse features an adjustable
double layer curtain wall that regulates heat gain. But as exciting
as double layer curtain walls are, our rambles through the city over
the last year have reminded us of a simple fact: nothing beats a
good tree. Since the last edition of the guide in 2000, the city
has been blessed with great new parks, including Hudson River Park,
designed in segments by Dattner Architects, MKW + Associates, Michael
Van Valkenburgh Associates, Sasaki Associates, Mathews Nielsen Landscape
Architects, and Abel Bainnson Butz; Van Valkenburgh’s Brooklyn
Bridge Park, which is in construction; Lee Weintraub Landscape Architecture’s
Erie Basin Park; and Thomas Balsley Associates’ Riverside Park
Author Leadon’s dog-eared copy of the fourth
edition of the AIA Guide to New York City, showing a few
changes to the SoHo section. Read more from the authors in eOculus about
the history of the guide and their strategy for completely updating
all 1,100 pages of the fourth edition. Photo courtesy Fran Leadon,
Van Valkenburgh’s tiny Teardrop Park in Battery Park City, sandwiched between Pelli’s Solaire and Verdesian, Robert A.M. Stern Architects’ Tribeca Green, and Gruzen Samton’s 22 River Terrace, is described in the new edition as “a shady and mysterious glen, full of nooks and switchbacks.” The park unites the four residential towers, providing much needed public space that knits the buildings together into a whole: a green place. More Olmsted than Moses, the park was designed in a style that might be called Neo-City Beautiful, a place for strolling, contemplation, and rest. LEED certification is noble and necessary, and the more green buildings New York has, the better. But we need more green places, not just green buildings, to become a truly sustainable city.
This article was originally published in OCULUS. Read more about the guide in eOculus.