The latest news on New York architecture.

  • Hard Work Pays Off: Remembering Hurricane Sandy, Three Years Later

    Hard Work Pays Off: Remembering Hurricane Sandy, Three Years Later

    Today marks three years since hurricane Sandy devastated the Northeast. In those three years, the community has banded together to rebuild. This courageous effort and relentless force is what has restored the shore.
    During Sandy, a ‘Major Retailer’ store that had been built atop concrete piers along the shoreline of Gravesend Bay in Brooklyn was severely damaged by the surge of water that flooded the city. The storm was devastating. The concrete slab floors of the store rippled with the waves and were shattered and displaced, with water geysering up through the slab into the store! The damage rendered the retail building un-usable.

    Following the storm, the ‘Major Retailer’s management contacted Scott Henson Architect’s trusted team to spearhead the effort of installing a temporary tent in the store’s parking lot. This tent would serve as a sales floor until the brick and mortar store could be repaired. The re-establishment of a sales floor was critical at this time because this ‘Major Retailer’ served as a primary source of goods that were vital to the neighborhood. The goal? To be open and functional by 11/23 (‘Black Friday’).

    While Lower Manhattan through Midtown remained without electricity and the SHA office closed, Scott Henson walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to meet with the Brooklyn Borough Commissioner, Ira Gluckman, to discuss the necessity of the tent and map out a course of action through the city agency approval process. He was on a mission to get the tent approved in time for the Black Friday deadline.

    During the following two weeks, SHA worked with the project team, including the Owner’s tent manufacturer from Europe and in-house consultant team, SHA’s structural engineering consultant, Gilsanz Murray Steficek, and expeditor Marty Marcus from Property Intervention Consultants to ensure the tent was filed, approved and installed by the Thanksgiving deadline. Scott Henson met personally with the Borough Commissioner on multiple occasions and filed with the NYC Dept. of Buildings, Dept. of Transportation, and the Fire Dept. of New York.

    The SHA team worked in coordination with the project team to adapt the tent manufacturer’s European standards to NYC standards, determine proper structural anchoring, interior sales layouts, mechanical heating/cooling layouts, fire protections/evacuation layouts and delivery/stock logistics.

    All the hard work and long days paid off. The tent was approved, installed and stocked by the Monday prior to Thanksgiving, providing time for logistics to be ironed-out by Black Friday. Dedication to the cause always wins.

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  • Latest updates on the fate of Saarinen's TWA Flight Terminal

    Latest updates on the fate of Saarinen's TWA Flight Terminal

    Governor Cuomo recently revealed the future of JFK Airport's iconic TWA Flight Center designed by Eero Saarinen. This terminal has sat vacant for 14 years. Although it's been known that the terminal would house a hotel, who would make develop this idea was a mystery until last week. MCR Development has a plant to turn the historic structure into The TWA Flight Center Hotel, a facility with 505 hotel rooms, 40,000 square feet of meeting space, six to eight dining establishments, and a 10,000-square-foot observation deck.

    In a statement, CEO Tyler Morse says the development "will celebrate and preserve" the building, "returning the landmark to its original glory and reopening it to the public. [...] Whether staying the night or simply exploring, international visitors and New Yorkers alike will be able to experience the magic of the Jet Age in this extraordinary mid-century icon."

     

     
    A rendering shows a low rise building peeking out from behind Saarinen's swooping beauty, and a press release says that the new building will "set back from the terminal, designed to defer to the landmark," which will become the hotel's lobby. The new building and any changes to the Flight Center, which is an interior and exterior landmark, will have to be approved by go before the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
     
    [UPDATE: While the LPC will have a say in the process, the project is actually not under the commission's jurisdiction since it is owned by the Port Authority, which is not bound by LPC decisions.]
     
    The developer also has a "plan to include innovative museum focusing on New York as the birthplace of the Jet Age, the storied history of TWA Airlines, and the Midcentury Modern design movement." The redevelopment is a public-private partnership between MCR Development, JetBlue, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, but it will be privately funded. MCR converted the old General Theological Seminary into the High Line Hotel, so they know a thing or two about working with historic buildings. Governor Cuomo said that officials are currently working on a masterplan for the entirety of JFK Airport, which should be unveiled within 12 months. Work on the TWA Flight Center Hotel is expected to break ground next year, and open in 2018.
     
    And now, just for fun, some photos inside the glorious building:
     
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