Oculus - Fall 2012 - (Page 21)
one block over
A no-real-community-here might just become one
BY CLAIRE WILSON
h, the hue and cry when it was discovered that Columbia University had quietly begun purchasing property in Manhattanville, the Harlem neighborhood just north of its Morningside Heights campus. Choruses of “No to gentrification!” arose in many camps. “Dear Columbia, please no forced displacement,” reads an enormous banner just east of 12th Avenue. And please, no seizure of property by eminent domain. Fact is, the 17-acre, $7-billion Columbia expansion project now under construction has displaced very little of the community. The immediate area was a mishmash of auto repair shops, furniture restoration businesses, storage warehouses, parking areas, and vacant lots, much of it cut off from the waterfront by Riverside Drive. The elegant viaduct was one of Manhattanville’s few redeeming features – until Fairway Market arrived at 12th Avenue and 133rd Street. “They’re not losing food stores, housing, or medical offices,” says Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, principal of Lance Jay Brown Architecture and Urban Design, chancellor of the College of Distinguished Professors of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), and ACSA Distinguished Professor at CCNY's Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture. Displaced residents will be relocated to a new building that will provide low-income units, says Javier Carcamo, an architect and co-chair of the zoning and land use committee of Community Board 9. Columbia’s 17-acre chunk is pretty much all there is to Manhattanville, according to Carcamo. The argument therefore extends to preserving the adjacent West Harlem neighborhoods, like Broadway below 125th Street and north toward 145th Street. Protecting the stable (and improving) communities around the new buildings is key to making the whole work together. “We want to protect the neighborhood from overdevelopment,” he says. “As zoned right now, we are at less than 50% of development rights and in danger of having developers come in and knock down 100-year-old brownstones.” The Manhattanville project will eventually include a science center (under construction) and a future arts center, both designed by Renzo Piano with Davis Brody Bond, along with a business school by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with FXFOWLE. It will create 14,000 construction jobs and 6,000 university jobs. Independent of Columbia, the winds of change are already being felt in the area. West Harlem Piers Park, designed by W Architecture and Land-
(top left) Public access to the water in West Harlem Piers Park, designed by W Architecture and Landscape Architecture. (top right) Fairway Market is a popular spot with cyclists on the bike path in West Harlem Piers Park. (bottom) Upper-level seating area at the Hudson River Café.
“The park has changed the impression of the place so it has much more of an identity.”
scape Architecture, opened two years ago on the waterfront where a parking lot once stood, and is a major magnet for cyclists, Fairway customers, and local residents. It has added much to the character of the neighborhood. “People considered it a scary place,” says W Principal Barbara Wilks, FAIA, FASLA. “The park has changed the impression of the place so it has much more of an identity.” Restaurants including the Italian Covo Trattoria e Pizzeria, Dinosaur BBQ, and the Hudson River Café give the burgeoning scene an early Meatpacking District feel. The Mink Building, a former brewery turned cold storage facility, may be converted into a space for galleries and offices, and the site of the former Citarella gourmet retailer on 125th Street is slated to house a microbrewery and a restaurant. Aileen Martinez, a barkeep at the Hudson River Café, thinks the Columbia project can only be a good thing. “It’s great,” she says. “We need a change.”
Claire Wilson writes for the New York Times.
Fall 2012 Oculus
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Fall 2012
Letter from the President: The Future: Here and Now
Of Ladybugs and Learning
Manhattanville Shuffl e: A no-real-community-here might just become one
Opener: The New Learning Landscape
Oh, the Places We’ll Go!
One Firm, Two Schools of Thought
Schools Made to Order
Expanding Architecture Beyond Form and Function
New Kids on the Boards
Real Solutions at Harlem’s Edge
The Future of Architecture Since 1889
Aalto and America
The Mythic Modern: Architectural Expeditions into the Spirit of Place
Schlepping Through Ambivalence: Essays on an American Architectural Condition
The Harlem Edge | Cultivating Connections 2012 Biennial Ideas Competition
A pioneering example of Modernism in New York is the 1931 New School for Social Research building by Joseph Urban
The Young and the Edgeless
Alphabetical and Categorical Index
Oculus - Fall 2012
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