The Municipal Art Society of New York announced the winners of the 2015 MASterworks Awards, a competition hosted annually by MAS to recognize projects completed in the preceding year that make a significant contribution to New York’s built environment. The awards will be presented on the evening of April 16 at the Museum at Eldridge Street.
“From a transit hub that bends sunlight, to a sidewalk that fortifies tree roots, the 2015 MASterworks honorees embody the innovation and creativity that drive New York’s best architects and designers,” said Margaret Newman, FAIA, Executive Director of MAS. “We look forward to celebrating all of this year’s winners at a ceremony next month, and thank them for enhancing New York one project at a time.”
The 2015 honorees placed in six categories:
Best New Building: Fulton Center, Grimshaw Architects
The MASterworks jury selected an infrastructure project as Best New Building for 2014, an unusual move that highlights the Fulton Center’s role as more than just a train station. Its design was noted for demonstrating innovation, creativity, and the bravery to play with geometry. Suspended within the atrium is a piece of artwork by James Carpenter Design Associates called “Sky Reflector-Net,” an integrated web of cables and aluminum panels that brings natural sunlight down into the lowest levels of the building. The artwork combines beauty and function, reduces energy consumption, and powerfully connects daily transit users with a tangible sense of daylight.
Best Neighborhood Catalyst: 1000 Dean Street and Berg’n, Selldorf Architects
Opened in 2013, the historic Studebaker service station has been renovated and repurposed as office and studio space for the creative community. The project highlights a growing opportunity for design in New York City that reimagines and repurposes old buildings to suit modern needs. An adjacent garage was converted into Berg’n, a 9,000 square foot beer garden and restaurant operated by the creators of the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, which has already become an immensely popular draw in the neighborhood.
Best New Infrastructure: NYC Emergency Housing Prototype, Garrison Architects
Developed for NYC Emergency Management, these prototypes imagine a system of modular homes that could be deployed to house displaced residents in the event of an emergency. These multi-story, multi-family units can be deployed in less than 15 hours. The project is innovative in its willingness to address the City’s climate change challenges and consider the role that prefabrication could play in meeting our urgent housing needs.
Best New Urban Amenity: Hudson Square Standard, Matthews Nielson Landscape Architects
The Hudson Square Standard reimagines the potential for urban sidewalks by finding small changes to the design and structure of our streets that can yield major environmental and health impacts. Its innovation is best seen from below the ground, where trees have been planted in expanded subterranean plots that give their roots more room to grow. Hudson Square Connection continues to serve as a catalyst for efficient and sophisticated design intervention in the public realm.
Best Restoration: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners in collaboration with Gluckman Mayner Architects
The result of an ambitious collaboration between 13 leading design firms, the Cooper Hewitt project is more than just a beautiful restoration of a landmarked mansion; it also lays out an innovative master plan for a 21st century design museum. The MASterworks jury praised the effort as well for the diversity of use it imagines and the seamless way it integrates Smithsonian-grade technology, calling it an impeccable and extensive re-thinking of a historic space.
Best Urban Landscape: The Engineering Quadrangle, Bruce Newman & the Pratt Design Team
Celebrated for creating a “truly urban landscape,” the goals of this project were numerous. By redesigning and rebuilding the space to allow for better circulation, increased aesthetics, and an increased cohesiveness with the rest of campus, Pratt’s Engineering Quadrangle is now a hub for the neighborhood and school community.
About the Jury & Ceremony
This year’s fantastic pool of nominees made the evaluation process especially challenging for the 2015 jury, which included Elizabeth Belfer, Analyst, Belfer Management, LLC; Vincent Chang, RIBA, AIA, Partner, Grimshaw Architects; Helena Rose Durst, Vice President, The Durst Organization; Everardo Jefferson, Principal, Caples Jefferson Architects; and Dan Shannon, Principal, Moed de Armas & Shannon Architects. Jury members recused themselves from categories involving conflicts of interest.
The 2015 MASterworks Awards are sponsored by JCDecaux and the awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, April 16 from 7-9:00 PM at the Museum at Eldridge Street (located at 12 Eldridge Street.)
More information & tickets »»]]>
The Municipal Art Society released a first-ever interactive tool mapping the impact of one of New York City’s most expensive housing incentive programs. Spread across three city agencies, the data required to evaluate the affordable housing output of 421-a has never been publicly compiled until now.
In total, the city forfeited more than $1.1 billion in tax revenue in 2014 alone through the 421-a program, 60% of which (nearly $670 million) subsidized buildings in Manhattan, a borough currently undergoing a historic building boom that renders a building subsidy unnecessary. The annual exemption recurs for 10-20 years in the city’s most expensive neighborhoods.
Creating the maps required MAS to track down and merge data—some of it in PDF form—from the Department of Finance, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and the Department of City Planning. The City’s Independent Budget Office assisted MAS in this effort by compiling the data from the Department of Finance.
“It’s not the 1970s anymore. In these booming Manhattan neighborhoods, the only value of a 421-a program is to spur affordable housing, yet the data on 421-a’s affordable housing impact is largely unavailable. And what information we do have is scattered across three city agencies. It’s long past time that Albany provides a transparent public accounting of this four-decade-old, $1 billion/year program.” -Margaret Newman, MAS Executive Director
The 421-a program, created in 1971 to spur residential development, was amended in 1985 in response to the rebounding real estate market. After 1985, new development projects seeking 421-a tax exemptions in flourishing Manhattan neighborhoods—defined by the so-called Geographic Exclusionary Area (GEA)—were required to dedicate 20% of total units to affordable housing. However, in 2008 legislators expanded the boundaries of the GEA to include all of Manhattan, but also neighborhoods in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.
“Reimagining 421-a as an engine for affordable housing was a well-intentioned but doomed idea. We’ve amended it again and again over four decades, trying to mold a program that was designed during a construction drought into one that makes sense during a construction boom. The geographic exclusionary area should do just that—exclude luxury neighborhoods from cashing in on 421-a.” -Margaret Newman, MAS Executive Director
The 421-a program is up for renewal by the New York State legislature in June 2015. Based on the findings revealed in the maps, MAS urges that the program cannot be renewed as is.>
150 East 86 Street
City forfeited $5.8 million in tax revenue in 2014 subsidizing 24 affordable units built in 2011; this annual exemption continues through 2021
505 West 37 Street
City forfeited $12.1 million in tax revenue in 2014 subsidizing 167 affordable units built in 2012; this annual exemption continues through 2032
How is your neighborhood affected? »»]]>
Re: Vanderbilt corridor set for massive new tower
“MAS welcomes the news that the Vanderbilt Corridor rezoning is continuing to spur development in East Midtown—especially development that engages the City and community in a public review process. We hope that the project at 335 Madison Avenue will follow the example set at One Vanderbilt and include a transportation improvement benefit as part of its plan. We also look forward to working with the City to evaluate the best policy for air rights transfers, especially as they involve our precious landmarks. In a city as dense as New York, the best new developments are the ones that knit themselves into the existing community, its history, and its local infrastructure.”
–Margaret Newman, Executive Director of the Municipal Art Society of New York]]>
MAS President Vin Cipolla engaged in a thought-provoking conversation with Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen about the pressing issues facing New Yorkers today and innovative solutions for moving forward — from affordability and housing, to entrepreneurship and economic development and the campaign for a new Penn Station.
MAS Members also heard about our city’s rapidly changing skyline from Justin Davidson of New York Magazine, as well as new ways of leveraging development to pay for our most important civic assets, highlighted by Brooklyn Public Library President Linda Johnson.
Not yet an MAS Member? Join today and receive invitations to exclusive receptions throughout the year—your opportunity to receive a special inside look at major MAS initiatives that address important urban issues.]]>
From advocating for a new Penn Station, to commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Landmarks Law, to connecting urban entrepreneurs across the city, find out how you can get involved with our work!
MAS Focus 2015]]>
“Dan’s dedication to making New York City more livable, resilient, and innovative makes him a stand-out candidate for the Onassis Medal,” said MAS Board Chair Eugenie L. Birch. “From rebuilding Lower Manhattan to spearheading the ambitious launch of PlaNYC, Dan has brought his remarkable vision to some of the most pressing and influential projects shaping the future of our city. We are delighted to announce him as our 2015 honoree.”
“Dan’s tenure as Deputy Mayor was remarkable not just for the scope and vision of his projects, but also for the holistic approach to city-building that inspired them,” said Vin Cipolla. “A great city is made up of more than just buildings—parks, transportation networks, and job opportunities are essential to ensuring that our neighborhoods are complete and sustainable. Dan’s ability to knit together the strands of good city building embodies MAS’s core principles and we are pleased to celebrate his work this June.”
The Onassis Medal will be presented at MAS’s annual gala on June 4, 2015, at Cipriani 25 Broadway in the landmarked Cunard Building in Lower Manhattan. All proceeds from the event will support MAS in its mission to advocate for excellence in urban planning, preservation, and community engagement. Founded in 1893, MAS is one of the oldest membership organizations in New York City, and was instrumental in key battles that have shaped the future of New York, from winning passage of the first historic preservation law in the country to saving Grand Central Station from demolition in the 1970s in partnership with Mrs. Onassis herself.
“I am honored to accept the Municipal Art Society’s 2015 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal. MAS has advocated for sound, innovative planning and development in New York for more than a century and I share this organization’s belief that these tools are key to building a future worthy of our great city,” said Daniel L. Doctoroff. “Mrs. Onassis’ commitment to a more livable New York was an inspiration to me and so many others and I am grateful to the MAS board and leadership for this recognition.”
“Dan’s contributions to the fabric of New York have quickly become integral to our understanding of our city in the 21st century. From the now-bustling streets of Lower Manhattan, to the acres of green space, to the development of the Hudson Yards and High Line, and so much more, his impact can be felt in neighborhoods across the five boroughs,” said MAS Executive Director Margaret Newman. “His contributions to the city can truly be called historic and I look forward to celebrating his lasting achievements at the 2015 MAS Gala.”
About the Honoree
Daniel L. Doctoroff was President and Chief Executive Officer of Bloomberg, L.P., the leading provider of news and information to the global financial community, until December 2014. During his tenure at Bloomberg, Doctoroff led the company through the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression by pursuing an aggressive strategy of investment, focused on enhancing the company’s Terminal product, expanding into enterprise products and services, creating new businesses in government, law and energy, and building the company’s news operations, including its acquisition of Businessweek.
Prior to joining Bloomberg L.P., Doctoroff served as Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding for the City of New York. With Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, he led the city’s dramatic economic resurgence, spearheading the effort to reverse New York’s fiscal crisis after 9/11 through a five-borough economic development strategy. This plan included the most ambitious land-use transformation in the city’s modern history; the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site; the largest affordable housing program ever launched by an American city; and the formation of new Central Business Districts and Industrial Business Zones. Doctoroff also led the creation of PlaNYC, a 127-point plan designed to create the first environmentally sustainable 21st century city that sets the course for a 30% reduction in global warming emissions by 2030.
Before joining the Bloomberg administration, Doctoroff was Managing Partner of the private equity investment firm Oak Hill Capital Partners. While at Oak Hill, he founded NYC2012, the organization that spearheaded efforts to bring the Olympic Games to the city.
Doctoroff serves on the Boards of the University of Chicago, World Resources Institute and Human Rights First. He is the founder of Target ALS, which raises funds for and has established a new model of collaboration to advance ALS research. He is a founder and chairman of Culture Shed, an innovative new cultural institution at the Hudson Yards in Manhattan. A graduate of Harvard College and The Law School at the University of Chicago, he lives in New York City with his wife, Alisa. The Doctoroffs have three grown children.
About the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Medal
The Onassis Medal, MAS’s highest honor, is awarded annually to an individual or institution who, by their work and deeds, have made an outstanding contribution to New York City. Launched in 1950 as the President’s Medal, the award was renamed in 1994 in honor of Mrs. Onassis’ tireless efforts in partnership with MAS to preserve and protect New York’s great architecture. Previous honorees include Dr. Judith Rodin and David Rockefeller, Jr. of The Rockefeller Foundation (2013), Diane Von Furstenberg (2011), Channel 13/PBS (2005), Robert DeNiro (1997), and I. M. Pei (1996).
Download the full press release (PDF).]]>
Our Executive Director Margaret Newman wrote, “MAS has a decades-long history in discussions about the future of the Seaport and, although we cannot support this proposal, we believe there is great potential for a public/private partnership solution to the Seaport’s needs. We are eager to work with both the City and Howard Hughes on a new plan for this area, New York’s first ‘financial district.'”
Read the letter (PDF) »»
Read more in Crain’s New York »»
Mayor de Blasio spent much of his State of the City address to discuss his administration’s housing goals.
The Mayor reiterated his goal to build or preserve 200,000 affordable units—plus an additional 160,000 market-rate units—by 2024, and proposed a number of innovative ways to meet these ambitious goals. Some highlights include:
Join us this month at the MAS Annual Members Meeting. We’ll discuss all 15 items from the MAS Watchlist 2015 – from vanishing local retail to our rapidly changing skyline.
Tomorrow, join us as we watch Mayor de Blasio deliver the State of the City. And follow us at @MASNYC as we use this year’s watchlist (PDF) to score his speech.
The busiest transit hub in the western hemisphere is over capacity, underfunded, and in need of an upgrade. But long-overdue improvements are beyond reach unless Madison Square Garden—which shares the site with Penn Station—either relocates or provides more room for commuters. Penn represents the challenge of finding resources—and the will—to fix our crumbling, aging infrastructure.
|Vanishing Local Retail
Keeping the streets affordable to a mix of businesses benefits all New Yorkers. The trend of beloved institutions shutting their doors—the Subway Inn, Rizzoli Bookstore, Café Edison, etc.—speaks to the market pressures and regulatory obstacles that threaten smaller, independent businesses. If these businesses cannot thrive in New York, then we risk undermining the economic diversity that makes the city so successful and dynamic.
|Rent Stabilized Apartments|
The future of almost one million apartments in New York City will be decided in Albany this year, as legislators negotiate the renewal of the rent stabilization law. This is not the only housing policy that will be decided upstate — the renewal of the rent control law and the 421-a tax abatement are also on the 2015 legislative agenda.
|LPC Reform |
The Landmarks Preservation Commission faces a backlog of almost 100 buildings and sites. Many of these items have been with LPC for decades, without any final determination on their landmark status. It is now up to the preservation community to address the backlog, and take steps to update and modernize the landmarking process moving forward.
|MTA Budget |
The MTA needs $15 billion to fund critical capital improvements. This year, Albany must identify ways to pay for these improvements and ensure our transit system is equipped to accommodate the growing number of commuters. All options are on the table, from tolls on the East River bridges to multiple fare hikes to the agency selling off key real estate assets around the city.
Following the decision by Mayor de Blasio to move forward on rezoning East Midtown, this year will see the Vanderbilt Corridor and One Vanderbilt project completing public review, and a new proposal for the larger East Midtown district taking shape. How these different projects evolve will have long-lasting impacts on the one of the city’s most important business hubs.
The area surrounding Cromwell and Jerome Avenues in the Bronx is the first of three neighborhoods that the City will rezone as part of Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York Plan (the other two neighborhoods being East New York in Brooklyn and West Flushing in Queens). The plan calls for 200,000 affordable housing units within ten years, which will require unprecedented collaboration between developers, advocates, and the City.
|South Street Seaport|
The Howard Hughes Corporation is proposing big changes for the South Street Seaport, including relocating the landmarked Tin Building, adding a canopy to the new Pier 17 building, and introducing a controversial 42-story waterfront tower. What is unclear is how the developer’s proposals will address the post-Sandy reality of rising sea levels, climate change, and the federal funds already allocated for the resilience project known as The Big U.
Similar to the cluster of supertowers along 57th Street, several projects will be changing the Flatiron’s skyline. Developers are already planning three 50-story towers just four blocks south of the Empire State Building and directly north of the Madison Square Historic District. Such rapid development underlines the need for thoughtful planning, especially around our landmarks and open spaces.
|The Archdiocese of New York
Last year, the Archdiocese of New York announced that it would “consolidate” its network of 376 parishes in response to rising operating costs and shrinking congregations. This is the latest example of a trend among houses of worship looking to sell off coveted land and historic buildings to make ends meet, causing waves in development and preservation circles.
|Hudson River Park: Pier 55
The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation announced a $100 million gift to Hudson River Park Trust to build “Pier55”—a new public park and performance space on Manhattan’s lower west side—as well as a commitment to cover the new park’s maintenance, programming, and operations costs for the next 20 years. This project is one example of how park administrators are creating new open space through public-private partnerships.
|Brooklyn Public Library|
BPL has partnered with Hudson Companies to build a 20-story condo building on the site of the current branch library at Cadman Plaza. This joint venture will provide BPL with a more modern library on the ground floor, as well as an additional $40 million to be put towards maintaining and restoring other libraries in the borough. This innovative project is part of broader trend of leveraging development to pay for civic assets.
|American Museum of Natural History |
The American Museum of Natural History recently proposed an expansion of their facilities to create new spaces for exhibitions, labs and events. Similar to other museum expansions in the city like the Frick, AMNH will face extreme scrutiny, given the high profile of the museum and the fact that the expansion would result in some loss of park space.
|Bronx General Post Office|
Young Woo & Associates is seeking to redevelop the Bronx General Post Office at the Grand Concourse. The developer has already submitted plans to introduce new office space, retail, restaurants, a rooftop terrace, while preserving the WPA-era murals in the building and a US Post Office presence. This creative re-use, under design by Studio V, could serve as a test case for other underutilized post offices around the city.
|Times Square Plaza|
This fall, the City will complete its Snohetta-designed renovations of the Times Square pedestrian plaza. This as policymakers grapple with the issue of how best to govern these new public spaces. Last year, the City Council proposed a bill to license the costumed characters in Times Square as a way to prevent bad behavior from the occasional Elmo, Batman, or Cookie Monster. While that bill seems to be on hold for the moment, the pedestrian plaza conversation continues.
Use the MAS 2015 Watchlist (PDF) to track this year’s most important issues on our built environment. And, don’t forget to share your thoughts with us, at @MASNYC.]]>
Manhattan: Friday, January 30
Bronx: Friday, February 6
Brooklyn: Sunday, February 15
The Municipal Art Society is committed to making New York a more livable city for its residents. Global cities around the world allow Airbnb to promote affordable choices for travelers, visitors and residents.
MAS supports the integration of new technologies into the life of our city and Airbnb’s efforts in NYC. We hope that a solution permitting Airbnb to operate here can be explored allowing visitors to experience the diversity and variety of NYC’s neighborhoods along with an appropriate framework protecting residents and visitors alike.
We support the Hudson River Park Trust’s proposal to transform an unsound pier along the Hudson River into a new waterfront park space. We believe that the proposed Pier 55 park and performance spaces will be an exciting addition to Manhattan’s west side, and we appreciate HRPT’s promise of community involvement in programming and design choices.
This project, and the public-private partnership that will make it possible, comes at a crucial moment for New York City and New York State’s approach to parks funding. We need look no further than the crumbling Pier 54 to see the impact that decades of steady decline in maintenance dollars have had on our parks and public spaces.This proposal does more than promise the transformation of a neglected pier into a celebrated public space; it also includes a pledge by its backers to maintain the park and performance spaces for the next twenty years.
MAS applauds HRPT for devising an innovative plan to restore and enhance this stretch of our public waterfront. And we call on the city and state, not just to approve this proposal, but to treat its 20-year pledge as a call to action. Let the new Pier 55 serve as a deadline: we have two decades to get our house in order and devise a funding plan that meets the needs of all our parks, from vast Flushing Meadows to the bustling Highline to the unsung playgrounds of Bed-Stuy and Hunt’s Point.
MAS is pleased to offer its support to this project and the new civic asset it will create for our city.]]>
Penn Station: A Place That Once Made Travelers Feel Important (NY Times) »»]]>
Thanks to our members and friends, we’re ending 2014 with an incredible string of successes for MAS. We advocated with residents across our city’s neighborhoods to keep New York vibrant and resilient. We continued to lead the campaign for a new Penn Station and the next Madison Square Garden. We offered more tours than ever before—across all five boroughs—and welcomed thousands of New Yorkers to our classes and public events throughout the year!
Next year, we will continue to promote New York’s economic and cultural vitality. Your support will help us preserve the character and authenticity that makes New York great, as we press for growth that is balanced and community-focused. Thank you for being there with us.
Make a year-end gift to MAS »»]]>