New York, NY—Three recent projects by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) were cited by experts consulted by The New York Times this week as standout projects that captured their imagination. “You may not recognize these silhouettes,” said the publication, “but in time, you will.”
“More and more people are recognizing the positive changes DDC is making to the landscape of New York City,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “Every building and infrastructure project is an opportunity for us to open people’s eyes to vast and unexplored possibilities for ambitious public design. We aim to continue to surprise, while working toward a stronger, more resilient, more equitable, and sustainable City.”
The Spring Street Salt Shed was built by DDC for the New York City Department of Sanitation. The New York Times in December 2015 called the Salt Shed and an adjacent sanitation garage by DDC “two of the best examples of new public architecture in the City.” In September it was the site of a fashion show by designer Heron Preston as part of New York Fashion Week.
In all, the Shed has won at least six major awards, including the AIA New York Architecture Honor Award; the AIA New York State Design Award for Excellence; the NYC Art Commission Design Award 2011; Best New Building—Municipal Arts Society (MAS) MASterworks Awards; the Concrete Industry Board (CIB) Roger H. Corbetta Award, Public Works; and the SARA NY Design Award for Sustainability.
“It has a toughness to it architecturally that’s right,” James Corner, landscape architect and founding partner, Field Operations, told the Times this week. “It’s interesting to have that level of care and value and investment into something municipal and often overlooked.”
The 22,000-square-foot Hunters Point Library on Queens’ East River waterfront will features a unique design from the renowned Steven Holl Architects. With special programming that emphasizes environmental education, the library will include dedicated areas for children, teens, and adults, as well as a communal reading garden. As part of the Percent for Art Program, artist Julianne Swartz will create a public art installation. To meet Mayor de Blasio’s vision of a sustainable, healthy City, the building will achieve LEED Silver certification.
The project has received an award for Excellence in Design from the Public Design Commission of the City of New York. The Times in July said that while “neighborhood libraries are not typically foreground buildings” the new library is “a building that can’t be overlooked.”
“At a moment when most additions to the skyline of New York City seemingly need to scream ‘bigger, better, best,’ there is one that is just quietly and powerfully beautiful,” Gina Pollara, President of the Municipal Art Society, told the Times this week. “[I]ts strong geometry — a concrete cube with purposefully placed cutouts — establishes it as a dominant structure and the organizer of the buildings around it.”
The reconstruction of the Times Square Plaza is one of DDC’s most visible projects, and is scheduled to be completed in December 2016. The project is expanding pedestrian space in Times Square by 85,000-square-feet – almost two full acres – and adding five new pedestrian plazas as well as doubling the width of many sidewalks. The project also includes new seating and lighting; new underground utilities, sewers and water mains; the removal of century-old streetcar tracks; and new security bollards and traffic signals.
“Taking out the five Broadway blocks and pedestrianizing them flew in the face of all the thinking: Traffic would back up to Albany, and so on, which didn’t happen. And it immediately filled with pedestrians.” former DDC Commissioner David Burney told the Times this week. “[Times Square] spawned the City’s plaza program. That is where you can have a real impact on the social capital of a city.”
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.