LIB/ARCH2205 Learning Places

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  • Remaking Iconic Spaces
  • #39416

    Nora Almeida

    Read these two New York Times articles on Grand Central and Penn Station . What social, political, economic, and historic factors are involved in renovation projects? What research did the architecture firms need to conduct prior to developing renovation plans?

    At the end of your response include 2 questions you would ask an architect involved in a renovation.


    Victoria Cotis

    When this homework due?


    Joyce Tam

    Hey Victoria,

    She made another post – I just realized it after emailing her. It’s due on the 17th!



    sotir zhupa

    After reading these two articles on the Grand Central Renovation and the purposed Penn Station renovations it showed me how big of an affect it had and can have in society. In terms of the Grand Central renovation it had a huge affect of different aspects of life, for example, i believe it being fixed up saved it from having another scare like it did in the 1960’s when it was almost destroyed. Since it was renovated it drew a lot of attention to NY as one of its landmarks which in turn brought in large amounts of profit to the city. If this hadn’t been done i’m not sure if its importance could have lasted. With the idea of Penn Station being renovated into a part of NY that people actually want to visit not just go through it because they have to, as most people consider Penn Station now a days, is a great idea but during the transition it could negatively affect NY in many part of society. Firstly is the economic burden, to move Madison Square Garden is no easy feat and not a cheap on either not to mention the reconstruction of Penn Station into the new structure that is shown in the article. They are projecting it could cost up to 3 billion dollars. As for social factors the renovation would potentially close down Penn Station for a good period of time which could be problematic. But in my personal opinion this is a great move that could make Penn Station a historical structure not just a big building that in everyone’s way. In renovations like these there are so many components that have to be researched before anything can be begun because of the risk, if any mistakes are made it could hold up the project in both time and money. One of the components that is clear to me is what material is used previously and could the new material affect the old in anyway.
    Q1. The article failed to mention how long a project ,like the Penn Station renovation, would take?
    Q2. Are there any new renovations being proposed for Grand Central?



    Renovations like the one at GCT and the proposed one for PENN station could have factors that would be affected positively and negatively. The social makeup can be affected positively in the neighborhood because the value of property goes up. This allows people of a higher class to move in. The negative effect is that the people that lived there for a long time may not be able to afford it and move out. The class of the people that live in a neighborhood contributes the social makeup. It positively affects politics because the political leaders involved get praised for the positive effect the renovation brings to the neighborhood. The negative effect on politics is, people might become disgruntle towards the political leaders who advocate the renovations. When renovations are done in neighborhoods it increases the value of nearby property thus having a positive effect on the economics of that neighborhood. When property value increases, the property taxes increase as well so this would also contribute to the political factor. Certain buildings and structures serve neighborhoods for generations in different ways so they become integrated into the culture or way of life. Renovations breathe new life into these buildings and structures preserving it for later generations which positively contributes to the history of it.
    The renovation of GCT would have positively affected both the users and the neighborhood. Renovating PENN station would have all the positive effects mentioned above but will also have more negative effects especially because MSG would have to be relocated. People that have been going to MSG for a long time might not like the idea of moving MSG. For years to come there would be a lot of traffic around the area and it would cost the city a lot of money. The factors that need to be considered when renovating would be based on the positive and negative effects mentioned above. These positive and negative effects would need to be researched and weighed out. Hopefully the positive outweighs the negative for PENN station.

    How will a renovation benefit the neighborhood and people that use the building?

    Was any research done to find out any negative effects that the renovation could bring and how will they affect the neighborhood?


    Joyce Tam

    What social, political, economic, and historic factors are involved in renovation projects? What research did the architecture firms need to conduct prior to developing renovation plans?

    One of the main architects who specialized in “preservation, restoration and contextual design” was John Belle. It was understood that architects should take time to understand how older buildings can be re-purposed and beneficial to people and neighborhoods. They believe that a community has history worth preserving. This lead to a political debate on preserving landmarks, which Grand Central is one of them. Most people did not want to go into GC because of the homelessness population and drug dealers. Other means of transportation such as highways and air travel has took many businesses from Grand Central. After Beyer Belle started making changes to GC, such as cleaning the astrological ceiling, removing the billboard to let in natural light, and constructing a new marble staircase which was originally in the blueprints, commuters was amazed by the changes and had more confidence in being a commuter in GC. In any renovation plans, if there are plans to expand the site, such as moving Madison Square Garden, it will affect the neighborhoods, and since it is heavily trafficked around the area, it would cause a lot of changes or disruptions and also lots of money compared to just renovations.

    Some of the research that is conducted by architecture form prior to developing renovation plans is the functionality of the space that is being used, how it can be re-purposed or “recycled” with minimum costs and disruption to the services offered on the site of renovation. Other research that is done is figuring out how to expand in a more economical and environmentally sustainable way compared to air travel. By creating a plan for new additional railroads being dug up, platforms, and stripping concrete for a glass facade allowing natural light and views of the city creating an open atmosphere for passengers, it would cost significantly less than other train stations by places such as the World Trade Center or Hudson Yards.

    1. How long would it take for the Penn Station renovations to finish? Would this include moving the arena in the future after the much needed two tunnels under the Hudson and four new platforms?
    2. How will it affect the neighborhood around MSG if they were to move the Garden over 800 feet? Will this be researchable?


    Victoria Cotis

    What social, political, economic, and historic factors are involved in renovation projects? What research did the architecture firms need to conduct prior to developing renovation plans?

    After reading two article on Grand Central and Penn Station, both of them would have affects like Grand Central wants to plan an renovation for bringing the people to their community while Penn Station wants to restore the original Penn Station back like it was before. For Grand Central, Grand Central trying to renovate some area for the people to feel more comfortable and bringing the community closer. Before the wall was covered by black smoke due to smoking and many homeless were sleeping on the bench in the waiting room at Vanderbilt Hall so the bench was removed. Also GC wanted to change some things around for example they added a new similar staircase from the original staircase. As a result, GC renovate for the people to make them feel comfortable and bringing the community closer. For Penn Station, Penn Station is a mess. Ever since Penn Station was demolish in 1964, everything changed. Penn Station have so much of traffic its impossible to walk by. Everything is going to change when Penn Station are planning to make the station look better by renovating for the future. Penn Station would have more space to walk and more organized for the people. The architecture need to plan their research first in order to develop how they wanted to look like and how much space would be use.

    1. How will it affect Grand Central when Penn Station renovate?
    2. How will it affect the neighborhood and trains when Penn Station renovate?


    Bryan Ortiz

    There were major differences between the projects of GCT and Penn Station. With GCT, it had a historical factor to it, as John Belle and the Beyer Blinder Belle firm wanted to preserve the style that GCT has. Mr.Belle said it himself, that “preservation is one of the highest forms of good citizenship.” To him, keeping GCT as it was is good not only to preserve it’s history, but can be good for the community. So Belle’s firm wanted to think about how it would affect what people think when they see GCT.
    As for Penn Station, the Gateway project are only worried about the financial problems for the renovations. They wish for Penn Station to be better than it currently is, and amassed a large budget to make it happen. They’ve even got Governor Cuomo to assist the project, so some political motive is in this renovation as well.
    Both of these projects were going to cause big changes in the community, so they would have to listen to the people and hear what they feel about it, whether to renovate entirely, or just restore it.
    Q1- With the renovation of Penn Station, how greatly would it affect New Yorkers and their day-to-day travel?
    Q2- Since GCT was restored once, do you believe it would be restored again, but with newer ideas? Can they do that without making any changes to the building?



    There are both positive and negative effects when we talked about talking about renovation and preservation in landmarks. As social factors, the renovation of Penn station leads to long period shut down for public. Many people had to change to another transportation. In political, although there was protesting before Penn station renovation, the New York City government could not do anything because the landmark law did not exist. Also in economic, the real estate market and property taxes would grow up after the renovation was finished.
    There are a lot of research that architecture firms need to conduct prior to developing renovation plans. First, the money is everything. Most of the modern renovation are pursuing the higher efficiency. The more offices on the top are better. By only doing that, they will have their investor to invest their firms.

    Q1 any landmarks renovation is happening in New York?
    Q2 How much it may cost to renovate again in Penn station


    Richard Lok

    For Grand Central back in the 70s and 80s, the terminal was filled with drug dealers and the homeless. People were scared to travel through there especially at night. The terminal lost its grand and glorious look that it use to have. In order to get the terminal back to its original state they removed the Kodak Colorama billboard, clean the main concourse ceiling, and built a new staircase in the east balcony. As for Penn Station, it was suggested that Madison Square Garden be moved or somehow have a new station built within its structure. However too much time and money was already spent fixing and maintaining it. Penn Station still needs to be renovated as it’s expected to serve more commuters in the near future while the neighborhoods around are growing.

    What keeps Grand Central from becoming like it was back in the 70s and 80s?
    How will the area around Penn Station be affected if were to be renovated?



    Grand Central Station and Penn Station are two main entrances to the NYC. So, I agree the opinion that these should be the landmark of the NYC. Almost everyone would agree that the old Penn Station was better than current one from an aesthetic viewpoint. However, in the capitalistic society, it is impossible to give all priority to the aesthetic part because the economic aspect is also important to the people who decide the use of the station area. If economic slowdown starts again, it would be hard to get enough budget for rebuilding. So, I think the plan should be started as early as possible.

    When the renovation project starts, who selects the architects?
    What is the anticipated number of visitors if the Penn Station renovate?


    Noorul Ain

    By reading both articles about GCT and Penn Station, I would say there are both positive and negative things about renovating GCT and Penn Station. If we look at, Penn Station first, as a social aspect more people will be travel through Penn station and as in the article says it will not be just a way for people to pass through it will be more like gathering spot. Because adding they glass pavilion is one of the project in renovating the station. Economically, it will be good because it will link downtown to downtown on the Eastern Seaboard. And this could be way cheaper than traveling in the planes. Politically, its more complicated because in the Article author mention that it’s true that the cost of renovating Penn station is less than the cost at station at world trade center but they are looking at how much money they are getting back from it so the train station at world trade center will bring in more money back than Penn station.
    The other big thing is moving Square Garden and I think, its really hard to move Square Garden and it is going to be take long.Before doing any constructions project architect and firms have to look deep to the project they are renovating or building and they have to see how it is going to benefit the city or city people same like that before doing any renovation to the Penn Station architect have to think about how renovating Penn station will beneficial to the people and how its going to benefit the city over all.
    Renovating GCT is always seems good because many people use it every day. And the changes they made it by cleaning the ceiling and adding the balcony. I think it made GCT more beautiful. And removing the benches from the waiting room is also good because there were many homeless people used to stay and people were afraid to travel through long the renovating any building is giving benefit to people and to the building itself it seems always a good idea.

    Q1 Is it necessary to move the Madison Square Garden for renovation?
    Q2. Why they are thinking now about renovating the Penn Station why they didn’t do it before?
    Q3. How long it’s going to take the renovation to complete at Penn Station?

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