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Last night the Design Trust for Public Space and project partner Added Value celebrated the launch of Five Borough Farm: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture in New York City. The book, which is accompanied by a website, surveys the more than 700 citywide farms and gardens that grow food; metrics are outlined toward gauging the success of urban agriculture; and the project is aimed at affecting policy, so that farms and gardens will be formally recognized and supported in the city. Much more will follow from the Design Trust and Added Value in the next year, but the book is a watershed in examining the benefits of urban agriculture. A review of the book on this blog is forthcoming.


About the Project:

Need for Five Borough Farm

Urban agriculture is booming in New York City, with more than 700 food-producing urban farms and gardens citywide. In all five boroughs, New Yorkers have turned vacant lots and rooftops, schoolyards and NYCHA gardens into places to grow food. But urban agriculture also encompasses a wide range of other activities: participants earn income at farmers markets, capture stormwater, compost food waste, gain leadership and job skills, learn about nutrition and the environment, and create safe, attractive public spaces. These activities contribute to many citywide health, social, economic, and ecological benefits, as well as to the goals of municipal agencies and elected officials.

Yet while many government agencies are engaged in urban agriculture, there is no citywide policy or plan to coordinate actions across agencies, and few systematic efforts to track the full range of urban agricultural activities that take place at the city’s farms and gardens.

Project Origins

In 2009, the Design Trust for Public Space issued an open call for projects to improve public space in New York City, receiving twenty submissions from organizations citywide. The nonprofit organization Added Value (with the assistance of the design firm thread collective) submitted a proposal to address urban agriculture. This proposal was one of two selected by an independent jury of architects, policy experts, open space advocates, and Design Trust board members for the Design Trust to take on as a project.

Project Goals

  1. Survey and document New York City’s existing urban agricultural activity using photographs, maps, and infographics.
  2. Establish a shared framework and tools to enable farmers and gardeners to track urban agricultural activity and evaluate their social, health, economic, and ecological benefits.
  3. Develop policy recommendations that will help make urban agriculture a more permanent part of the city’s landscape and governance.

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Earlier today I walked up Fifth Avenue and noticed that the Louis Vuitton at 57th Street, designed by Jun Aoki, looked a bit different.

Yayoi Kusama at Louis Vuitton

Crossing the street to take a closer look, I realized that the storefront is decked out for Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition at the Whitney Museum, which is sponsored by Louis Vuitton. Corporate ties to the world of art are hardly new, and brands like Louis Vuitton are particularly well connected to artists. I remember Takashi Murakami putting his cartoon characters on their handbags some years ago, so this one doesn’t come as a shock.

Yayoi Kusama at Louis Vuitton

But putting the artist in the storefront would be a shock. I must admit that I was fooled in my quick glance at this shop window. Was she taking the corporate tie-in to the next level? But photos of the 83-year-old artist around the Whitney opening and the unveiling of the polka-dot exterior show her in a wheelchair, so she is probably not up for standing in a window acting out the Abramovic Method. Nevertheless the facade and displays are quite fun and playful, bringing plenty of attention to Louis Vuitton and Kusama’s art.

Yayoi Kusama at Louis Vuitton

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A Weekly Dose of Architecture Updates:

This week’s dose features “Le Grand Stade” in Fontainebleau, France by Joly&Loiret:
this       week's  dose

The featured past dose is the UIC Student Recreational Facility in Chicago, Illinois by Moody•Nolan & PSA-Dewberry:
this       week's  dose

This week’s book review is Portfolio Design, Fourth Edition by Harold Linton (L):
this week's book review   this week's book review
(R): The featured past book review is Materiology: The Creative Industry’s Guide to Materials and Technologies  by Daniel Kula and Élodie Ternaux.

World-Architects.com U.S. Building of the Week:

Virgin Atlantic JFK Clubhouse in New York, NY by Slade Architecture:
this week's Building of the Week

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Recently I’ve been lucky enough to do a radio show and an interview around my Guide to Contemporary New York City Architecture. Earlier today I was on Heritage Radio Network’s Burning Down the House, and a week before my Oculus Book Talk I did a short interview. Thanks respectively to Curtis B. Wayne and Miguel Baltierra for the questions and coverage.

Burning Down the House:

Oculus Book Talk Interview:

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Here are a couple photos by Klaas Vermaas of an oldie but goodie: REMU Electricity Substation in Amersfoort, The Netherlands by UNStudio (1993). I featured the project on my weekly page way back in May, 2009.

amersfoort schakelstation remu 03 1993 v berkel_bos (smallepd)

amersfoort schakelstation remu 04 1993 v berkel_bos (smallepd)

To contribute your Flickr images for consideration, just:

:: Join and add photos to the archidose pool, and/or
:: Tag your photos archidose

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Summer in New York City may be when people skip town (at least on weekends), but flipping through the Brooklyn Rail I came across some shows that look interesting. If anything, these should provide good places in and around NYC to escape from the heat.

Model Theories at Ford Project, Jun 26 to Aug 10:
[Artwork by Haus-Rucker-Co]

Emily Kinni at 1:1, Jul 12 to Aug 4:
["Execution Chambers" by Emily Kinni]

Art in Buildings at 125 Maiden Lane, Jun 27 to Oct 20:
[Left: Flock House "Chromasphere" by Mary Mattingly (photo is previous installation at Battery Park City). Right: "Matrix V" by Erwin Redl, a permanent installation by appointment only.]

Vivien Bittencourt: In The Arms Of Time at Ille Arts (Amagansett, Long Island), Jul 14 to Aug 8:
["Selinunte" by Vivien Bittencourt]

Not in Brooklyn Rail but worth a look is a show on the tenth anniversary of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York.

Our Haus at Austrian Cultural Forum, May 17 to Aug 26:
[Exhibition poster design by Ahoystudios.com]

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Three years ago I posted about ODA-Architecture’s conversion of a Long Island City, Queens, service station into a bakery. Here’s the before and envisioned after:


Recently the New York Times ran a story about “a clean new life for grimy gas stations,” including the Breadbox Bakery by ODA, which is now complete. Oil changes have given way to baked goods, but the gas station next door is still in business. (Per the Times story, the owner eventually wants to develop a larger project on the site, which would be above the bakery and replace the gas station.) Here are a few photos by Frank Oudeman of the converted service station located on 11th Street, a couple blocks from MoMA PS1:




Yes, those are rolling pins on the outer, screen-like facade.

(Photos courtesy of ODA-Architecture)

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[The Allen Room at Time Warner Center | image source]

Today I learned that Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show, appropriately called Anderson, is taped in The Allen Room at Time Warner Center. This large space is part of Jazz at Lincoln Center, which was designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects and is located between the development’s two towers, above a large atrium that is the middle of a curving mall. A double cable-net wall designed by SOM with James Carpenter Design Associates opens up a stunning view of Columbus Circle and Central Park.

[The Anderson set at Time Warner Center | image source]

While I can’t say I’m excited that the space is being used for a daytime talk show, I’m glad to learn that “Unlike most TV studios, the room will continue to be used for other events and performances.” Therefore Mr. Cooper is sharing the space with the jazz musicians who the space is designed for; he gets it during the day, and they get it at night, or something like that. Below are a couple technical drawings (click image for larger view) that give a sense of not only the space’s shape but also how the tiers can be adjusted to allow for various seating configurations, and how the lighting and audio equipment fits into the space. In other words, the space is highly flexible down below, with lots of technical equipment up above to work with whatever the space is being used for. And perhaps most importantly, a retractable shade helps to cut down on the natural light entering the space, so that a television show can even tape when the sun is shining.

[The Allen Room plan and section | Click image for larger view | image source]

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A Weekly Dose of Architecture Updates:

This week’s dose features Arts and Creative Platform in Guimarães, Portugal by Pitágoras Arquitectos:
this       week's  dose

The featured past dose is the La Moneda Cultural Center in Santiago, Chile by Undurraga & Deves Arquitectos:
this       week's  dose

This week’s book review is The Sky’s the Limit: Applying Radical Architecture edited by Robert Klanten, Sven Ehmann, Sofia Borges (L):
this week's book review   this week's book review
(R): The featured past book review is Architecture of Change 2: Sustainability and Humanity in the Built Environment edited by Kristin Feireiss and Lukas Feireiss.

World-Architects.com U.S. Building of the Week:

Masonic Amphitheatre Project in Clifton Forge, Virginia by design/buildLAB:
this week's Building of the Week

Unrelated links are now found in the left sidebar and on My Diigo Bookmarks page.

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Here are day and night photos of The Shard in London, England by Renzo Piano Building Workshop (2012). Photographs are by ffotografica.

Shard from Park Plaza Hotel

Shard at Night

To contribute your Flickr images for consideration, just:

:: Join and add photos to the archidose pool, and/or
:: Tag your photos archidose

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