While New York City sat at the nexus of many important canals built in the 19th century — the Erie, Morris, and Delaware & Raritan among them — the city had its own internal network of lesser-known canals, some filled in, some never built, and some still with us today. As part of our ongoing virtual program series on canals, we will examine the ambitious schemes from the 17th century onward to connect the city’s bays and streams, from the Heere Graft of New Amsterdam to the Wallabout Canal of Brooklyn.
Concrete is the world’s most ubiquitous building material, and many important milestones of its development took place in Brooklyn. In this virtual program, we will examine concrete’s history, production, and chemistry, then discuss some of the landmark structures that drove the development of steel-reinforced concrete in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From Gowanus to DUMBO, Prospect Park to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, we will look at monumental buildings and small details designed by some renowned architects, including Cass Gilbert, Albert Kahn, and Calvert Vaux.
Built in 1874, the Concert Grove Pavilion is a stunning example of Prospect Park co-designer Calvert Vaux’ colorful and decorative style. Earlier this year, the Prospect Park Alliance completed a $2 million restoration of the pavilion, which was last restored in 1988. Joined by Prospect Park Alliance Assistant Architect Sheena Enriquez, we will look closely at the pavilion’s beautiful details, including its cast iron columns that contain motifs borrowed from Hindu, Chinese, Moorish, and Egyptian architecture, its elaborate roof finials and eaves, and its newly-illuminated stained glass ceiling. Sheena will share how the restoration team did extensive archival research, conducted color testing to match the pavilion’s original design, and repaired and recreated damaged or missing pieces.
As we approach New York City’s primary elections on June 22, housing, as always, is a key issue on the ballot. So we are looking back at the history of social housing in New York – not just the city’s vast NYCHA public housing system, but also other forms of government and philanthropic intervention that have tried to tame the beast of unsafe, unsanitary, and unaffordable housing over the past 100+ years. This program will look at examples of model housing designed by social reformers, landmark cooperatives built by labor unions and community groups, the rise of public housing beginning in the 1930s, and public subsidies for private developments. This wide-ranging examination will take us from the Home and Tower Buildings to the First Houses, from Stuy-Town to the housing lottery.
Celebrate NYC X DESIGN Interior Design Day with a virtual visit to Bednark Studio, a vertically-integrated design and fabrication company that specializes in retail environments, experiential marketing, and architectural millwork. Based in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Bednark is a custom fabricator with manufacturing capabilities in wood, plastic, metal, print, and integrated lighting. On this virtual tour, we will be joined by founder Michael Bednark, who will walk us through their 65,000-square-foot shop and discuss their process, capabilities, and a selection of their 3,000+ premium projects for local clients and global brands including Balenciaga, Nike, and St. Germain.
Since its founding over a century ago, Bush Terminal in Sunset Park, Brooklyn has been a center of industry and innovation. Today, the city-owned site is being transformed into a campus for the Made in NY initiative to support cornerstone industries of the city’s economy: fashion and film. On this virtual tour, we will learn how the historic campus is being repurposed to provide affordable space and support services to garment manufacturers, alongside facilities for film and television production, and an expanded public realm to open the campus to the community. We will be joined by Mimi Hoang of nARCHITECTS and David Ostrich of W Architecture & Landscape Architecture, who will walk us through the reimagined campus and adaptively reused buildings.
For NYC x Design Architecture Day, we’re taking a closer look at one of the most recent adaptive reuse projects of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Building 127. Constructed in 1904 for fabricating wooden boats, the 95,000-square-foot building recently underwent a full gut renovation, and its high ceilings, large windows, and uncolumned spaces made it ideal for repurposing for design and manufacturing businesses. We will be joined by architect Rosario D’Urso, Construction Project Manager at BNYDC, who will walk us through the project and discuss how their team brought this historic building back to life.
Take a short trip west of New York City to explore a little-known and much misunderstood language and culture: the Pennsylvania Dutch, who aren’t Dutch at all but German. Educator and entertainer Keith Brintzenhoff takes us beyond pork and sauerkraut, hex signs and distelfinks, to learn about this German immigrant community, efforts to preserve its endangered language, and opportunities to celebrate its music, food, and more.
In late 2020, as part of the long-overdue cleanup of the Gowanus Canal Superfund site in Brooklyn, dredging of the toxic sediment began, and photographer, filmmaker, and writer Nathan Kensinger has been there to document it. For more than a decade, Nathan has been recording images and stories of New York City’s waterfront, with a special focus on the industrial landscapes, hidden ecosystems, and environmental challenges of coastal communities. In this conversation, Nathan will show some of his photography and film about the Gowanus and discuss the canal’s environmental history, the cleanup process, and the changing neighborhood around it.
Please join our friends at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for a virtual opening of new public art, Atmosphere for Invention, now on view in Buildings 77 and 92. The program will include the premiere of a short video featuring all nine artists and their new works, as well as remarks, virtual cheers and toasts, and Q&A. The Brooklyn Navy Yard has initiated a public art program for artists seeking to create site-specific installations in public spaces. With the cultural sector among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative serves to economically uplift members of the Yard’s creative community while also providing the community with art activations to enjoy around the site. Each of the works on view use elements of color, texture, and light to establish a dialogue with the history of the site as well as its evolving ecosystem of people, labor, and infrastructure. Together, the works capture the innovative spirit of the Yard and its forward-looking future. Artists on view include Tatiana Arocha, Beth Campbell, Paul Campbell, JC Cancedda, Noël Copeland, Monique Luchetti, Jackie Meier, Lindsay Walt, and Tracy Wuischpard.