WORKac—Kew Gardens Hills Library As part of New York’s Design and Construction Excellence program—an initiative to improve public architecture—Amale Andraos and Dan Wood (above) recently completed a sculptural update and extension to this Queens public library, attracting some 2,000 visitors to its opening this past September. Topped by a sloping green roof and clad with a rippling GRFC façade, a faceted envelope now frames the library’s original footprint, creating light-filled reading rooms for adults, children, and teens. “Libraries are places where everyone feels at home,” says Wood, noting that the building has become a beloved gathering spot for the neighborhood’s diverse population—including immigrants and youth who can now make use of the branch’s English-language courses, tax-preparation seminars, and after-school programming. “It’s not a given that a city would show this interest in design,” says Andraos. Adds Wood, “What they found is that it doesn’t cost much more to build something good.”
Gregory Harris / Trunk Archive
BIG–Bjarke Ingels Group—dryline Charged with protecting ten miles of Manhattan’s waterfront in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, AD100 architect Ingels (right) has envisioned a ribbon of community and cultural spaces that would both engage the public and withstand future floods. Nicknamed the Dryline, his forthcoming park—winner of the local Rebuild by Design competition—will combine a raised landscape of protective berms and resilient plants with recreational features such as skate parks, undulating double benches, and winding bicycle paths. In the event of rising waters, art walls deploy as shutters, serving as an emergency barrier. Rain or shine, the Dryline promises to do the city proud.
Nelson Byrd Woltz—Naval Cemetery LandscapeThanks to Thomas Woltz (above), what was once a cemetery on the outskirts of the Brooklyn Navy Yard now serves as a verdant park along the Brooklyn waterfront’s network of bike paths. “Because this was sacred land, one of the stipulations was to not disturb the ground—no heroics of earthmoving,” says Woltz, who was enlisted by the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative and collaborated with Marvel Architects. “Restrictions lead to innovation.” Studying the ecological and cultural histories of the site, he tailored his scheme to achieve maximum fecundity. Added cherry trees nod to a long-gone orchard; an elevated timber walkway echoes the sinuous creek that once rippled through wetlands; and grasses and pollinator plants draw bees, birds, and bats from the neighborhood, this lush meadow changing season to season. “What we commemorate is the human condition, these cycles of life and death,” says Woltz. “People have really responded to this tiny, low-budget park. It slows down your heart rate. It calms you.”
Adjaye Associates—Sugar Hill project As one of the most sought-after architects of his generation, AD100 honoree Sir David Adjaye (below) has designed homes for the likes of art stars and celebrities. But in the case of this 2015 complex, he created shelter for some of New York’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens. Distinguished by sculptural setbacks, daring cantilevers, and concrete façade panels embossed with floral patterns, Sugar Hill comprises 124 subsidized apartments, with irregular windows that frame sweeping city views. “My primary consideration has been dignity,” Adjaye says of public housing. “Too often, generic design has created isolating and dehumanizing environments.” In a further departure, the project features a range of public programming, with a children’s museum and an early-childhood center. “The hope is that it can provide a model for a more integrated approach,” explains Adjaye.
Cornell Tech CampusArchitecture by Handel Architects, Morphosis, and Weiss/Manfredi. Master Plan by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Landscape Design byJames Corner Field Operations. At the graduate school’s new eco-friendly campus on Roosevelt Island, unveiled this past September, buildings not only support one another, they bolster the city at large. More than 2,000 photovoltaic panels crown the Morphosis-designed academic center (above) and Weiss/Manfredi–designed innovation hub, with power generated from both channeled toward the center, helping the building reach its ambitious net-zero goal. A residential tower by Handel Architects, meanwhile, boasts ultralow energy consumption. The goal for the campus is to help reestablish New York as a center of the tech industry, melding entrepreneurship and academia on this green (in every sense) stretch of city.
New York City AIDS MemorialArchitecture byStudio Ai Architects Only a couple of years ago, there was no permanent tribute to AIDS victims, caregivers, and activists in New York, a city that has lost more than 100,000 people to the disease and which birthed the activist movement. This memorial filled that void. Completed in December 2016, the striking steel canopy welcomes visitors to St. Vincent’s Triangle, opposite what was the hospital with Manhattan’s first AIDS ward. An installation of pavers by artist Jenny Holzer, meanwhile, reveals the engraved words of Walt Whitman’s beloved poem “Song of Myself.” All offer a vivid reminder not just of the toll taken by the epidemic, but also the work still to be done.
Randy Rubin, Circular Space Photography
Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & LearningArchitecture by Gluck+ Tennis lovers of all backgrounds converge at this socially conscious Bronx complex, comprising 22 courts and a glass-and-steel clubhouse. Terraced into the earth, the center operates as the flagship for New York Junior Tennis & Learning—a nonprofit offering free lessons and tutoring to underserved youth. On any given day, these kids can be found practicing their backhand or perfecting their footwork alongside other members of the local com-munity. In the center’s first year alone, some 7,000 children and 1,000 adults used the facility, with 6,000 hours of court time provided to youth in need. Now that’s what we call a strong serve.