Professor Montgomery

Category: Short Writing Assignment (Page 1 of 14)

The development of lower Manhattan was changing for the better. New architects were creating essential buildings. A lot of the architecture were the beaux-arts style. Architects were creating things with classical influence while still wanting to be unique and stand out. The characteristics of most of the architecture we saw on our trip were dramatic, with sculptures and subtle detailing with tall columns creating grandeur entrances.
The City Beautiful movement was an important evolvement in the architectural world at the time. There was a lot of capital coming in, so to show the power and abundance. Architects would create things that could be seen from far away.
When arriving on Wall Street and Broad Street, You can see the mark that the dutch era had left. The widths of the streets were more prominent than most. So you can still see a little bit of the early dutch influence in particular streets were given higher key. If you look down on Wall Street, you could see the hint of where the old wall used to stand. Standing
Another factor of that era was on how to build a building and the three fundamentals things to keep in mind. A Base, A middle, and An end. When looking at buildings built in that era like the Woolworth. The base of the building is thicker while the central piece is taller than the last part gets thinner. Brooklyn Bridge marked a new era of engineering and architecture. The connectivity between Brooklyn and lower Manhattan quickly sparked the development of urban planning for Brooklyn.
Each of the buildings we saw is a unique treasure to New York City’s Architecture. Each marked a period in time where change was inevitable; wanting to stand out and be different was a must and embracing the old, but craving something fresh was part of design developments. Accepting the outline of streets that were here before and creating a new experience walking down a building was imbedded into the layout and spaces.

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   The Frick Museum and Guggenheim are two very different spaces. The circulation of exhibit spaces. The placement of arts and sculptures are opposite from each other. The Frick Museum is constant while Guggenheim changes within its walls. While most people go to The Frick to see the art and tour the space, Others mostly go to Guggenheim to see the building itself.
Guggenheim was created and built off-ramps. The movement of people through the space is embedded in the design of Guggenheim. Unlike most museums, there’s no room exhibit but exhibit halls which you experience walking up or down the ramps. The skydome is the primary source of natural light within that space of the museum — the art changes, hosting many different types of art or events. One system I think is impressive with Guggenheim Is that even with the museum walls tilting, the art pieces are straight. The Guggenheim is the only Building of Frank Lloyd Wright in New York City. Which I think brings value and crowd to the place.
The Frick is historical and is a reminder of the beauty that is classical art. Each piece is a moment of history frozen in time. You go from one exhibit space to another, which creates a unique experience with each different area. It has the garden court, with tall columns and a skylight that fills the room with natural light. It intertwines nature within the moving of each area. A never-changing museum that holds so much value. It’s there to spark and educate the interest of anyone who loves fine details.
Unlike the Frick, Guggenheim was created to be a museum; it was designed with the thought of circulation in mind. Different from most museums. Its exhibit spaces are elongated through the ramp walls. For anyone who goes to visit, You are meant to go to the 6th floor then walk down to the lobby. While walking down, You can enjoy the art pieces as you go. Guggenheim is also here to educate, but I think the architecture shadows it. The Frick was once residential; it wasn’t made to be a museum, which has its benefits. Unlike the Guggenheim, The Frick has many different sources of natural light not just from one sky-dome but from windows as well. To me, the natural light that comes into the spaces helps anyone walking touring feel better. Both Museums have there unique contribution to the Architectureture of New York.

Final Class Reflection: Describe the impact on your education of studying New York City architecture out of the classroom. Should more students get this opportunity? Why or why not?

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.

Assignment 13: Compare place making and urban planning at Hudson Yards to Battery Park City

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.

Assignment 12: Compare the Lincoln Center renewal planning to Battery Park City’s planning. How does the spatial experience of the Tower in the Park differ from the urbanism of Battery Park City?

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.

Assignment 11: How do civic centers like Lincoln Center relate to the city around them? Describe the nature of the public plaza in this civic center.

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.

Assignment 10: Compare the evolution of the exterior skin of these modern office/institutional buildings. Compare their massing strategies

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.


I believe that studying the course of New York City Architecture outside of the classroom greatly benefited me because first of all it allowed me an opportunity to be outdoors which is always a good thing. Had the class taken place indoors each week, my entire semester would of consisted of me being cooped up indoors behind a computer screen finishing other schoolwork or catching up on my sleep  instead of listening to long lectures. I’m not the biggest fan of history, most especially when it’s given in such a dull atmosphere. Secondly, there’s always a better sense of retainment (at least for me) when I get to experience or see things first hand rather than through a projection screen. Needless to say, it would be foolish to not even at least once take the opportunity to study outside the classroom when the subjects of the class can easily be found only a couple train stops away.  Another thing I enjoyed about the class was the sketching part. I’m not the best at sketching and I don’t always go to places where I myself would think to take out my sketchbook and start some sketches but during the few times we did sketch I think it not only helped me slightly work on my sketching skills but also to exercise the little sketching skills I already have.

Other than the weather not always being in our favor and once in a while having to carry too much because there’s nowhere in school to leave my stuff, I would say that other students should be allowed the same opportunity I had while taking this course. If not all the time, at least once in a while students should be taken out of the classroom to learn and if professors can help expose students to the architecture surrounding them why shouldn’t they be able to. I have a friend that transferred into the architecture major from Albania and she told me that all the buildings they studied were right here in New York so why let this great opportunity of being so close to major architectural buildings go to waste. If more students were given the chance to study New York’s architecture outside the classroom then perhaps more people would become interested in the historical side of this major and instead of putting students to sleep with long lectures they’d be more engaged in class conversations.

Final Reflection

Before I even enrolled for this class, my friends told me that this specific history class for NYC Architecture, the professor would take the students on field trips to visit and explore buildings. I was already looking forward to it when I placed that class in my schedule. When my journey began with the class, I enjoyed it very much, from day one. I appreciated the fact that we went out of the four walls to learn more about the architecture of the city I live in. I know for sure, I wouldn’t have learned as much if I were sitting in the dark room, tired from the classes before. If anything, going out in the cold and sometimes, the rain, would wake me up. It’s a more exciting feeling to be literally in front of the building we are talking about. To learn, analyze, and appreciate the history and architecture of it. This was also impactful because it was helped me more in my assignments and paper. All the materials that I grasped from the trips, I put into words for my work in the class. I’m grateful to have knowledge of the architecture of NYC.

Students should get this opportunity to experience this class. I believe there’s a loss of attention when it comes to this matter. The fact that students have to stay in a classroom to learn about the history of the architecture that is sitting right outside the windows is also a loss of education. Students actually want this, and I think they will appreciate this kind of learning.

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