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The latest news on New York architecture.

  • What We Know About The New Amazon Headquarters in Long Island City

    What We Know About The New Amazon Headquarters in Long Island City

    After 238 proposals and 14 months of intense speculation, Amazon recently announced the new location for their second North American headquarters in Long Island City, New York.

    Why Long Island City?

    Long Island City is close in proximity to New York City - offering cultural institutions, international airports, public transit options and many other benefits of a densely populated urban area. Long Island City is a recently redeveloped area along the East River in Queens, New York. It has its own enticements such as residential towers with waterfront views, art galleries including MoMA PS1 and the landscaped riverfront park. The state of New York has offered approximately $1.7 billion in subsidies and incentives to lure Amazon in.

    Where in Long Island City will the Headquarters be?

    Per agreements between Long Island City and Amazon, the company’s headquarters will be built on a site in the Anable Basin area, north of the Hunters Point high-rise development. The site is a mix of publicly and privately-owned buildings, and is bordered by the East River, 46th Avenue, 44th Road and Vernon Boulevard.

    While many of Long Island City’s industrial areas have been replaced with shiny new residential and commercial buildings, there are still pockets of historic architecture such as the Hunter’s Point Historic District - a single-block of 2-story pre-war homes along 45th Avenue between 21st and 23rd Streets.

    Who will be designing the Long Island City Headquarters?

    No one knows currently. While making their decision regarding site location, Amazon worked with the Innovation Center's development team to make sure the site listed in the agreement could be developed to meet their requirements. However, Amazon has been silent about whether or not they intend to work with this team moving forward.

    The Innovation Center development team Amazon previously worked with includes:

    • TF Cornerstone (developer of several residential towers near the proposed site)
    • Handel Architects (architecture firm known for the design of the September 11th memorial)
    • Nielsen Matthews (a landscape architect with experience designing flood-prone sites)

    What are the current plans for the Headquarters?

    The current plans call for an initial development of around 4 million square feet of space across multiple buildings, with the potential to expand it to 8 million square feet later on. Amazon anticipates creating as many as 40,000 new jobs for workers in the New York City area over the next 15 years.

    Stay tuned for more information on this and other projects being developed around NYC. If you are looking for an architect for your own project - contact us for more information today.

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  • Interior Architecture for Historic New York City Buildings

    Interior Architecture for Historic New York City Buildings

    Preservation and renovation of interior spaces in historic buildings involves a careful and detailed structural assessment of the materials, environment, and applied stresses to ensure that the existing walls, floors, and other load bearing structures are structurally safe. This structural assessment can involve a visual inspection to assess the structural integrity of load bearing walls and joints. Structure can also be analyzed in greater detail through impact-echo vibration testing, which creates a computer-generated model of material strength.

    Some damage to an interior is visible, such as water damage, cracked bricks, and missing mortar. However, some interior elements, such as columns, concrete flooring and welded steel structural elements, may need testing to ensure that the structure of the material is holding up, without fractures or other signs of impending failure.

    With historic buildings, patching or attempting to strengthen a failing structural area can accelerate damage or failure. Detailed and complete structural assessments are a first step, with priorities for repair and renovation detailed.

    When bringing a historic building into modern use, safety and access issues are as important as maintaining historic integrity in materials and use. Fire safety and access for those with mobility challenges are mandated in any public use building and may require changes to the interior space utilization.

    In addition, a change in the planned use of the building requires assessments of how people will navigate the building. Emergency egress and bathrooms, for instance, are built based on the expected number of people using the building. Areas of potential bottle-neck during an emergency evacuation can be modeled by computer programs or viewed with a visual inspection. Modern systems, such as HVAC and plumbing, might also require changes in the interior structural elements, as these systems will need to be accessed for maintenance and repair.

    The structural assessment will include areas such as materials safety, structural integrity, and immediate safety issues. A planned renovation will detail the necessary adaptive changes to an interior, specifically safety, access, and the buildings mechanical system. After these critical points are evaluated and planned for, elements of the interior renovation will be planned in order to maintain as many historic features as possible.

    Can we answer your questions about historic interior renovation? Please contact us for more information.

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