Archive for November, 2009

Focus on Architecture competition winners!

OHNY is excited to announce the winners of the 2009 Focus on Architecture competition.  Congratulations to the winners, selected by our four judges:

Sean Hemmerle, Professional Architectural and Landscape Photographer
Elliott Kaufman, Architectural Photographer and Professor at Queens College; Instructor at International Center of Photography
Margaret Morton, Photographer, Glass House, and Professor, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Robert Shamis, Independent Curator and Consultant

Category: Details

Ellis Island, Michael George

Evergreene Architectural Arts, Mark Goldberg

Governor's Island, Tatyana Epstein

Category: Exteriors

7WTC, Steven Cohen

7WTC, Steven Cohen

Brooklyn Navy Yard, Katie Chao

Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Victoria Monjo

Category: Interiors

Ellis Island Hospital, Piotr Kamela

General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, Ralph Hockens

Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Rocco Cetera

Category: People

Ellis Island, Michael George

Roosevelt Island, John Auld

7WTC, Piotr Kamela

Category: Judges Awards

Federal Hall National Memorial, Steven Cohen

Hall of Fame for Great Americans, Timothy Vogel

Pier 40, Ethan Lercher

Brooklyn Navy Yard, Ben Muessig

See all submissions on flickr, which will be used as part of an ever-expanding photographic reference of unique views of New York City’s most interesting places and spaces.


OHNY & Chase Community Giving!

Support OHNY by voting for us to win $25k with Chase Community Giving! Become a fan on Facebook and help us out!

Field Trip Fridays: The Woolworth Building

On Saturday, the winners of OHNY’s raffle took a tour of the famous Woolworth Building in lower Manhattan.  Cass Gilbert designed the Gothic building in 1910 and construction was completed in 1913.  The structure, at one time the tallest in the world, rises to a height of 792 feet and has 60 stories, depending on how you count them (Woolworth liked the round number and fudged the numbers a bit by leaving out a few floors).

Because it was built three years before the law passed in 1916 requiring setbacks from the street, the building forces itself dramatically up to the sidewalk and rises straight up nearly all the way to the top.  The lobby of the building was constructed in the style of Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, complete with colorful murals, extensive tiling, and delicate detail work.

In its earlier days, the building even housed a working swimming pool, a copper-gated subway entrance, and a full-service restaurant, but all of these have since passed out of use.  Visitors to the Woolworth Building could go to the top of this early skyscraper for 50 cents, a hefty price compared to the five cent nickelodeons showing films at the same time.  The OHNY tour visited the top of the building and also stopped into Woolworth’s office.  The misty evening created an eerie atmosphere for the visitors, who all enjoyed the building tremendously.

Lobby of the Woolworth

Lobby stairway

Lobby ceiling

Outside on the terrace, at the top

Woolworth's office

Woolworth Building
233 Broadway, New York, NY

Field Trip Fridays – Richard Meier Model Museum

This week’s Field Trip Friday brings us to a warehouse in Long Island City, the location of architect Richard Meier’s Model Museum.  OHNY staff had a chance to tour the museum in July and take a self-guided tour.

The museum of Meier’s work opened in May of 2007 for what was intended to be a limited four month exhibition. However, the popularity of the space among architects, students and art & design enthusiasts allowed it to become a seasonal exhibition, open during the warmer months of the year. Unfortunately, the impact of cold weather on the models prevents the space from being open year-round, but they did participate in our recent OHNY Weekend this past October.

The models, created during the architect’s 40-year career, cover an area of 3,600 square feet and feature designs from throughout his career, including the first model for his Smith House in Connecticut, as well as sculpture and furniture prototypes. The space also houses large scale models of the Getty Center, a museum that is arguably his most ambitious project. Meier is widely known for his museum designs, so visiting a museum of his work somehow seemed to bring his career full circle.  The clean lines and white walls of the minimal exhibit space emphasize the architect’s work in a unique way and make his models appear particularly elegant. One can visualize these buildings in their final constructed forms.

Richard Meier Model Museum
5-22 46th Avenue, Queens, NY

Field Trip Friday: Art Farm

We are back with Field Trip Fridays!

Renee recently took a trip to Ai Weiwei’s Art Farm, upstate in Salt Point, NY. Designed in 2006 by HHF Architects and Chinese artist/architect, Ai Weiwei, Art Farm is a storage facility and annex to Chambers Fine Art, a New York and Beijing gallery that specializes in contemporary Chinese art. Owner Christophe Mao decided to consolidate his archives in a stand-alone building on the property in upstate New York. The gallery space houses selections from gallery inventory and Mao’s private collection.

HHF and Ai Weiwei designed Art Farm to be viewable as a sculpture in itself. By focusing on the exterior aesthetics of the space, the designers created a structure that matched the character of the large sculptures located around the rest of the property. Corrugated steel panels, pre-fabricated for easy construction of agricultural buildings in the area, make up the walls of the space. When combined with the concrete slabs on which the structures rest, and which follow the contour of the land, the facility blends seamlessly into its surroundings.

The building includes storage spaces, an office, and showrooms. A continuous ramp hallway through the center of Art Farm, providing additional display space, draws visitors through the gallery and seamlessly blends the three levels. Interior walls are washed in white and, aided by the ceiling of exposed PVC insulation, circulate the limited natural light extremely efficiently. Concrete floors help create a bright atmosphere and also help to maintain a cool temperature inside, even during the warmer months. The facility is a unique spin on the traditional gallery and adds a special character to the rural area where it rests.

Art Farm_credit Renee Schacht (1)

Art Farm

Art Farm_credit Renee Schacht (3)

Inside the gallery space

Art Farm_credit Renee Schacht (7)

Art Farm_credit Renee Schacht (4)

Focus on Architecture: Story Behind the Photo

This week’s Focus on Architecture feature photo was taken by V. L. Swan at Grand Central Terminal and was selected as a winner in the Details category.

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal

“During the renovation architect’s (Beyer Blinder Belle) tour of Grand Central Terminal, I was captivated by the play of light from many of the original lighting fixtures, using the then “new” incandescent light bulbs, on the windows, polished floors and walls inside the terminal.  The ceiling of the Oyster Bar, outlined with rope lights created a soft amber glow when photographed at a very slow speed, without flash.  I took several pictures, not sure if I could keep steady enough.  I liked the graphic shapes created when I took this closeup, framed with one of a unique nautical style lighting fixtures.”

Special Feature: Breaking Ground – A Public Charrette by Dancing in the Streets

Breaking Ground – A Public Charrette organized by Dancing in the Streets is a site-specific choreography workshop that will be held in one of New York City’s most intriguing sites – Federal Hall National Memorial. Led by nationally acclaimed choreographer Joanna Haigood, the workshop offers participants a unique opportunity to work across disciplines to explore movement composition within the context of architecture, history, and public spaces.   Haigood offers tools to interact with this historic landmark and guides participants to create short studies in response to Federal Hall’s history and architecture. Participants will discuss architecture as object, its function and design, and its role as metaphor, as a stage, and as container of history. This is a 4-hour workshop to be held on November 12th, 10 am – 2 pm OR November 13th, 10 am – 2 pm.


  • A guided tour of Federal Hall with focus on its history and architecture
  • An overview of site-specific work
  • Choreographers, dancers, and architects work together in small teams to create short movement studies in response to the site


The workshop is free, but advance registration is required.

  • Each workshop is limited to 25 participants
  • Slots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis
  • To register, go to:*
  • Please specify which day you would like to take the workshop – November 12th OR November 13th.

*Registration for Thursday’s workshop has been extended until all 5 remaining slots are filled.

If registration for your preferred day is sold out, you can join the waiting list by emailing:

Please include the following information with your email;

* First & Last Name

* Email Address

* Home/Cell phone

* Which workshop you would like to attend—Thursday, Nov. 12th or Friday, Nov. 13th.

Dancing in the Streets will notify you if and when a slot becomes available.

Dancing in the streets `

82 DECIBELS by Larry Keigwin for Breaking Ground – A Dance Charrette produced by Dancing in the Streets. Photo courtesy of Julie Lemberger.

Dancing in the streets 2

Ann Carlson in Breaking Ground – A Dance Charrette produced by Dancing in the Streets. Photo courtesy of Julie Lemberger.