Thursday, July 18, 2013

SoundProof Apartments?!

By Jennifer Perez

Have you ever imagined a neighborhood or building designed for a particular artistic community? This became a reality in the early 1900s with the development of West 67th street. West 67th Street Artists' Colony Historic District is a small architecturally significant enclave on the Upper West Side. On this block between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue is Hotel Des Artistes, Central Park Studios, Atelier building, Swiss House, Colonial Studios, The Musician's Building and so on. This block consists primarily of buildings constructed for artists and those who wished to live in an artistic environment. Six of the buildings (Nos. 1, 15, 27, 35, 39, and 50) were planned and financed by artists. Seven to eight buildings have facades detailed with subtle Gothic forms such as pointed arches, crenelated parapets, and multi-paned windows. The one building on this block that interested me the most was the Musician's Building.
Two 8-story high buildings connected by a central entrance

Located at 50 West 67th Street, the Musician's Building was designed in 1917 by Shape and Bready. The Musician's Building has a very unique characteristic: the apartments are soundproof! This allows musicians to practice and work on their pieces without disturbing the neighbors around them. The idea of creating a building with soundproof apartments just for musicians is amazing, not only does it help the musicians practice without worrying about making too much noise, they are comforted being surrounded by people that share the same interests.
Elizabethan manor house look alike made out of brick terra-cotta

The exterior of the building is brick terra-cotta that has a look of an Elizabethan manor house expanded to apartment house scale, being two 8-story high buildings that are connected by a central entrance. The building's interior contains apartments with 10-foot ceilings, windowed eat-in kitchens, fire storages, and private storages. This building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places (the official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation) in 1985, which recognized its special character. "The home should be the treasure chest of living," Le Corbusier once stated. The Musician's Building creates a community for musicians and artists. They are around people they could relate to and share ideas with. They are basically in the treasure chest of living meaning their home, where they belong.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Lincoln Center: Philharmonic Hall!

By Jennifer Perez     

When one thinks of dancing, singing, music, and so on, many New Yorkers automatically think of Lincoln Center; for it is a world-famous center for performing arts. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, (between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, West 62nd and West 66th Streets) was announced as a project on April 21,1955. It was designed and created by architects Max Abramovitz, Pietro Belluschi, and Eero Saarinen. Lincoln Center consists of many components: the New York State Theater, Metropolitan Opera House, Philharmonic Hall and many more. From my walk around the area, the building that stood out to me more than any other was the Philharmonic Hall. It stood out to me due to the large windows and amazing piers surrounding the building.
The Original Design of Philharmonic Hall (1959) [From New York 1960 by Robert A.M. Stern et al]

The Philharmonic Hall also known as Avery Fisher Hall, was the first building at Lincoln Center to be completed. It opened to the public on September 23, 1962 and was designed by Max Abramovitz of Harrison & Abramovitz. Something I found interesting when researching this building was the original, unbuilt plan for the site. The original design for the Philharmonic Hall was to be a five-story, glass-walled building surrounded by a travertine-coated concrete arcade consisting of nine spaced piers that reminded me of ladders. These nine piers were designed to be 60 feet tall and finished off with 22-foot wide pointed arches. They were suppose to run along the north and south facades while eleven piers ran along the adjacent sides. This design was eventually overthrown with a new design that is today's structure. The new design consists of an arcade only on the plaza side with solid piers 70 feet tall tapered at both ends and finished off with shallow, rounded arcs.

Current status of Philharmonic Hall

The 70 ft tall Piers that surround the building!
The way the building looks just catches my attention for it looks like long multiple columns attached to each other running along the side of the building while the building is within these structures, almost like a hostage, as if it's a box within a box. Another reason why I find the Philharmonic building so interesting is because it has layers and layers of piers that at times create illusions when walking by it or in photographs. When I was reviewing the newsletters from LW! I came across Lincoln Center and couldn't get it out of my head. It popped out from the other buildings and/or areas on the Upper West Side. Mainly because it's the center of the neighborhood and it includes three well-structured buildings that have similar designs but are also distinctive. Many people may not find this building or any other one so interesting but to me it stood out and that's the reason why I like it. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Meet the Intern: Jennifer

My name is Jennifer Perez and I recently completed my junior year at the Williamsburg High School for Architecture & Design (WHSAD). This school has developed my passion for architecture and interior design even more than I thought possible. I've learned how to design buildings, playgrounds, neighborhoods, etc in AutoCAD, what damages buildings and what you can do to restore it without ruining the character of the building. Since I was a kid, the thought of having an idea and bringing it to life by designing it on paper and having it built over time fascinated me. The way buildings look both the exterior and the interior have always caught my attention.When I hear about buildings that have significant histories being demolished or changed; it gets me thinking," Why would they want to get rid of something so meaningful that makes New York City so special?" We should appreciate all the buildings, rather than just the flashy ones. 
When I came upon the opportunity to intern with an organization that preserves historic buildings and fights to protect them as Landmarks, I right away took the chance. I am excited to be able to experience the process to fight for the landmarks and what occurs during the process. What I hope to experience on this internship with Landmark West! is to be able to learn from the people I'll be working with and learn more about significant buildings on the Upper West Side, what has been happening to them over time, and what LW! does to keep these buildings landmarked and protected from being destroyed. I intend to help save buildings that should be landmarks during this internship and hope to pass down my ideas or views of certain things to my fellow co-workers that may help them in the future.
Just like Ezra Pound said," A real building is one on which the eye can light and stay lit," meaning real architecture is buildings or structures that catch one's attention and still catch it no matter how old it is. The building or structure should last a long period of time and eventually become significant to its neighborhood. This is what LW! is well known for: protecting buildings that catch one's attention and fighting for their right to become landmarks.Architecture is something people should value more, they're not just buildings we live in or work in, they have history and meaning.One may only notice this if they actually sit down and read and realize what architecture does for us and what it has to offer but yet many are too busy to even do that. That's why people like us who are interested should help others who are not aware to join the fight to help preserve buildings and make them into landmarks rather than an empty space or dust of history.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

City Council Candidates Discuss Land Use & Development at LW! Forum

Moderator Bruce Simon leads the conversation.
Lively discussion ensued at LW!'s forum with the City Council candidates for the Upper West Side's District 6 last week, covered in the New York Observer. Graciously hosted by our neighbors, the New York Society for Ethical Culture in their individually landmarked building, the roundtable discussion provided an opportunity for the public to hear the candidates' views on land use issues, especially overdevelopment, historic preservation, parks, and open space.

Mel Wymore speaks to the crowd.
All seven of the candidates running for Gale Brewer's City Council seat attended: Ken Biberaj, Debra Cooper, Noah Gotbaum, Marc Landis, Helen Rosenthal, Tom Siracuse, and Mel Wymore. The starting point for the discussion came from a New York Times article (5/30/13) which reported that the real estate community has established a $10 million PAC to elect candidates to the 21 open City Council seats who would further their pro-development, anti-neighborhood, and anti-small business agenda.

Over 100 neighbors attended the meeting to hear the candidates' views and educate themselves prior to the September 10th primary election. LW! was happy to once again provide a free forum for the community to learn about the candidates, as we have done for elections in the past. Check out our Events Archive to read about our 2005 and 2009 events with mayoral candidates. For details about the upcoming election and how to find your polling site, click here.