Experiencing and studying New York City architecture out of the classroom really helped in many different ways. Starting from the very beginning when I found out that the classroom was going to be held outside rather than inside really got me excited to come to class. Looking back to my old architecture history classes, I was never really as interested in the subjects we were going through and learning about the way I was in this class. In the majority of the history classes I’ve taken a lot of the students in the class would usually end up falling asleep halfway through and not really taking interest in the lectures given in class, especially because it was 2 1/2 hours of almost nonstop lecturing. Being able to actually be active during the class time and learning at the same time helped me memorize a lot more than sitting in a classroom for so long.
In regards to the writing assignments that we had to complete each week, it was much easier to complete them because I was able to recall more of the facts and discussions made while on these trips to these architectural sites. Like Professor Montgomery had said in the first class, Classes like New York City architecture history should be about learning and gaining interest into these subjects to help us in the further future whereas taking tests doesn’t really help learn it just tests your memorization skills rather than the knowledge retained during these class trips.
Overall, I do believe studying New York City architecture outside of the classroom is much more helpful than staying inside of the classroom. By visiting the sites, it creates images in your head that will stay stuck with you, which means you won’t have to memorize these events, it’ll just become a natural thought or memory that isn’t forced to be recalled like in tests. This also helped a lot with the final research paper and learning to describe buildings with your own voice.
The urban planning at Hudson Yards and the one at Batter Park City share a lot of similarities and differences especially because of the time periods in which each of them were made in and their purposes.
Being that the Hudson yards is fairly new as opposed to battery Park city, The main purpose for these urban designs are different from one another. The creation of the high line lead to Hudson yards choice of location. High line created a starting Point and endpoint that lead people to a certain direction. Bring Hudson yards at the end of the High line creates a focal point to this specific area where it’s soul purpose is for revenue, where it should be making a space for New Yorker’s to pass time and admire its city around it. Although the high line does do that by turning elevated train tracks into viewing decks, the Hudson yards doesn’t really focus on that. By integrating a big commercial space next to this vessel, defies the main purpose of urban planning, creating free open spaces that any neighbor can enjoy.
Comparing this new urban planning surrounding Hudson yards to the older urban planning in battery Park city, shows how much priorities have swayed to give importance to economical revenue through consumption. Instead of giving importance to the enjoyment of strolling through places that integrate nature with in it, just like the urban planning at battery Park city does. The only form of revenue seen at battery Park city is the ferry service that actually helps the community travel from New Jersey to New York, not for the greed of someone who owns a private lot who placed a commercial consumer center to grow their own pockets and masking it with a vessel as a form to make it seem as if it’s for the communities well being.
The Lincoln Center renewal planning compared to Battery Park City’s planning are very different in terms of space and the experience walking through them. The integration of the land around them differ in many ways due to their different approaches to urban planning.
The main aspect seen in the Lincoln center renewal plan is the experience that one gets when walking through the space. Just on approaching this area it’s seem to be hidden or secluded from the commercial area around it. The entrance to the apartment complexes around Lincoln Center seem to be aimed towards just vehicles, creating a very unwelcoming approach to the multiple housing complexes. The setting created by the buildings or towers surrounding the parking lot area makes a very dark, cold environment, and an unpleasant place to spend your time which contradicts It’s housing aspect. The planning done in this area seems to be very boring as compared to the planning of housing complexes around it.
As oppose to the planning in Battery Parks City, the planning in this area was much more thought out than the one in Lincoln Center. The main Differences were seen in the fluidity of the walkways integrated within each sidewalk or pathway that lead into the park in front of these building complexes. By integrating green spaces in between each of the building complexes, creates A much more communal environment. While walking through the spaces you didn’t even notice you were walking into one place to another. The usage of pavilions created a much more welcoming feeling to battery Park which also created a new connection through a threshold to differentiate the difference of spaces that come along the watersides walk way.
Civic centers like the Lincoln Center make a very drastic impact to the city around them. The intention of opening up civic centers in different locations to bring and introduce different demographics and wealth in the area together, may create more issues than solutions.
The integration of the Lincoln Center as a civic plaza in this particular area affected those who lived in that area. The vast majority of residents in upper Manhattan, almost reaching Harlem, were of color, low income families and were eventually pushed off and shifted its neighborhoods demographics over to Harlem. The beginning of new urbanism and city planning in this particular area resulted in more problems rather than solutions. Robert Moses being the one to take most responsibility to bring in a new city mainly in the area of Lincoln Center, kicking out 7,000 businesses within this community. Those who attended the events held at the civic center were those of wealthier backgrounds. The ticket to a ballet or opera show start at $100 and up, already giving those people who loved in this area a kick in the behind, not being able to afford a form of entertainment like the one shown in the Lincoln Center.
Architecture plays a huge role in the city around them. Despite the amount of problems caused by the Lincoln Centers neighborhood placement, this sprouted a commercial setting in the area and even a placement of an arts school next to the Lincoln Center. The assembly of the buildings placed rectangularly in the perimeter of the plaza and fountain in the center elevated from the street similarly to the entrance of the Seagram building, creates a very elegant welcome to the big arches, windows with rectilinear elements and columns imitating old architecture from Greece.
The evolution of the exterior skin of the Lever House, Seagram Building, Citicorp, Lipstick Building, Ford Foundation and the United Nations buildings were all born in a very similar manner due to the fact that they were built after world war II where steel was starting to be used as a building mechanism.
The Lever House and the Seagram Building have very similar skins. Although the Lever House is a bit bulkier than the Seagram Building, they both have a very similar shape and assembly shown through their rectangular glass figures and by having an outdoor plaza. The only difference being that the Lever House is elevated off the city block while the Seagram building has its plaza just a bit above ground through a couple of steps to give the building a sense of awe when approaching it.
Both the Lever House and the Seagram Building also resemble a lot of what the United Nations Building has. The main gem of the assembly has the same shape as the one of the Lever House and the Seagram Building, having a rectangular shape with glass curtain walls. However, the alignment and precision are seen mainly in the Seagram building and on the United Nations Secretariat building. The Seagram used its mullions as a sort of aesthetic component to be displayed on the outside at equal distances from each other along with the close attention to the color of the overall building which has a dark and yellowing burnt tint on the glass. The United Nations Secretariat building used its material of concrete to give that organized and elegant gesture just like the mullions used on the Seagram Building. The Seagram building also used concrete to make a statement in architecture but in a different way by placing two big masses of concrete to create a division of space seen in the lobby area where the cores are placed.
The Citicorp building has a very heavy and robust look to it just like the Lipstick building but in a different shape. However, the same idea of lifting the building up to create commuter space at the city street level played a part but in a very drastic way as compared to the Lever House, but served the same purpose. Similarly, the Citicorp building, the Ford Foundation building has very prominent columns shown on the outside of the façade. The main difference is that the Citicorp building used metal panels as a form of spandrel and glass curtain walls for the rest of its façade, where as the Ford Foundation building used glass and steel and a big open space inside the building rather than outside for commuters.
The Chrysler building and the Empire state building have various similarities and differences in its visual aspect. Both serving different purposes but emitting that same environment within each space. These comparisons can be seen through its massing, materials and their choices of detailing.
These buildings at first glance from the outside have a very similar massing shape with small tweaks to differentiate the two. Both having steps back at the base section of the building and merging into a small like pyramid with a sharp antenna like facade at the top. However, the choice in materials and color vary from each other, whereas the Chrysler building related to its car manufacturing company with its metal decorative component at the top. The empire state building was composed of mainly limestone and granite with not a lot of over the top decoration on the outer massing.
The materials in each varied but both served a purpose of showcasing its wealth. The Chrysler building had a flashier approach to its material to impose a statement to those visiting the building at the lobby area. he empire state buildings lobby gave more of a patriotic building that represented New York City as a whole. The Chrysler building felt more like walking into a wealthy person’s territory, it had its own personality of being ostentatious with its materials on the exterior and interior.
The detailing represented in the empire state building is more so geometric shown throughout its ceiling in a two-tone, light yellow, almost gold color. The Chrysler building has pastel colored murals devoted to scenes of labor workers from that time period. These murals gave the Chrysler building a historical context to the building where people can observe and admire.
Civic infrastructure is designed based on historical architectural influences or inspirations. These infrastructures are developed for the benefit of its citizens and its growth as a city. Places such as Penn station and grand central reflect New York City’s civic architectural culture and history through its spacial designs and monumental effect.
The importance of civic infrastructure is very important in terms of the city’s development and connectivity to its surrounding neighborhoods or even other cities to maintain a growing working population. Grand central serves this main purpose while simultaneously implementing architectural culture through its mix use of Greek, Roman, Bozart and their own interpretation of these types of architecture. Walking through the different spaces inside Grand central gives the city a first impression for visitors or commuters where it gives the city a rich and important factor. Just standing at the main lobby where it has a massive ceiling height acts as an open scaled communal area and major details that are shown through out the building on the stair hand rails, its chandeliers the walls and floor materials connecting people from different areas in one grand space. The usage of bridges and ramps that go beneath or above bridges emitted a weaving effect where as if there was an entire city of its own in side of grand central.
Penn station gave a very different feel through its spaces as compared to the spaces in grand central. Penn station served more as just a functional space to transport masses from one place to another. Just by its visual appearance upon entering gave me an image of industrial machinery where it was only made to get the job done quick which was to transport people. The immense scale wasn’t there like the one in grand central where you felt you were walking in a building filled with art and historical content.
Lower Manhattan is filled with land marked buildings and areas because it was a place for early settlement and where a form of government was emerging. Buildings in lower Manhattan were placed in specific positions with a main purpose behind it. The positioning of these buildings created a unique urban composition of the key landmark buildings through its urban street and spaces.
Upon arriving to lower Manhattan, there was already a very prominent building that united the space around it. The National Museum of the American Indian was placed as a focal point with a green space in front of it creating a plaza. The museum served as a stage where it was elevated from the ground and had beautiful monuments and podiums that looked like an alteration of classical art. Walking up from the museum to the trinity church, the sizes of the streets began to curve and bend in a way where you weren’t able to see what was past a building without walking up to it. It was is if walking in the original pathway from early settlement, the street going up a hill was also kept as cobble stone giving the next important building a focal point where George Washington’s statue was placed purposefully to be viewed at a higher importance scale than other buildings.
Standing on wall street and looking down at the nearby trinity church, I noticed the church was placed at an odd angle where it was directly facing wall street. It seemed as if the church was placed in the middle of wall street looking towards another pathway. Being surrounded by these early settlement buildings along with modernized structures gave a sense of looking at history develop within one spot. Being able to notice the different forms of architecture built through out the years being intentionally placed at certain view points where streets guide you to these points is the main reason I believe this area was land marked.
Museum spaces are usually thought of as large rectangular spaces with partitions in between to showcase art. However, the house museum (Frick) and the designed museum (Guggenheim) were very unique spaces that were atypical to a usual museum layout. Both museums had varying approaches to view their art based on their circulation creating different spaces and movements within each gallery.
The Frick museum used different rooms to separate each art exhibit but was still able to maintain a connection with each room by using glass and no doors. Before walking into the museum, it already created a statement with its entrance being elevated from the sidewalk giving a sense of importance to the building. Making my way into the building I felt a warm environment emitted by the lights and wood materials, it didn’t feel like a regular museum would. The big open sky light ceiling in the grand area felt more like an outside garden evoking a calm environment with the running fountain in the middle. Each space would you lead you to the next some using hallways where it wouldn’t change ceiling heights and special areas, it would go from a regular ceiling height to a larger one giving the element of surprise.
The Guggenheim had a unique way of setting its art galleries. Unlike the Frick museum where every exhibit was separated by rooms, the Guggenheim had more of a gradual transition in each art display. They didn’t share the same element of surprise because of the way the Guggenheim was designed, you are able to see several art displays at once from across the spaces. Just by standing still and looking at people walking in a circular path gave a sense of movement as if the museum was twirling. The lobby’s massive ceiling height gave the museum an immediate grand gesture where it became more of a lighter space especially with the white interior.
The sense of space walking through 19th century New York City neighborhoods is very different as compared to walking through any other neighborhood in Manhattan. This difference becomes prominent when looking at the streets and their alignments to its surrounding public area. Both Greenwich village and SOHO had very distinct streetscapes emitting different experiences while walking through these spaces.
The most notable quality is seen on the streets themselves. While walking through 19th century NYC residential neighborhood in Greenwich village, I noticed the streets followed odd angled pathways that didn’t follow the usual 1811 grid plan. These odd angles gave a sense of surprise when reaching the end of each street because some met at a triangular point. These areas would usually become green spaces or triangular shaped buildings. Walking off the grid felt like a very condensed area where the buildings weren’t too high but they were built very close together from opposing streets. The space in between each sidewalk was much smaller than that of a regular one creating a sense of closeness within the neighborhood. The odd facing buildings changed positions every few blocks and the streets would make sharp turns frequently that made it difficult to navigate and know exactly how far I was from the starting location at Washington square park. However, there was one wide street that would lead to Washington Square park where most streets seem to have stemmed from creating a center focal point. These neighborhoods made it feel as though I was in an area that wasn’t in New York City.
Soho’s characteristics were defined by its buildings architecture. Most of the buildings had a lot of highly decorated buildings and a lot of cast iron designs throughout just like some residential gates in Greenwich village. However, the buildings in Soho were much taller than those found in Greenwich because of Soho’s industrial and commercial background in the area. The streets were also wider than the ones we visited at Greenwich bringing back the usual experience of walking through NYC streets. The streets in Soho were much more populated because of tourists and working people in the area.