Despite the global downward trend in construction through 2020, October was an exciting month for construction projects in New York. Here at Construction Guide, we always stay up to date with both local and national projects, but here’s a rundown of the construction highlights in New York from October.
Brooklyn Public Library has opened a new 15,000 square foot library and environmental learning center in Greenpoint. The project was paid for in part by the historic settlement in the case of the State of New York vs. ExxonMobil from several years ago.
Located on Norman Avenue, the building replaces the previous library but now also includes an environmental education space that focuses on sustainability and renewable energy. The project began in 2017 and was due for completion this spring, but was delayed because of the pandemic.
The Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan is remodeling its third floor into the Mandala Lab. It promises the space will be for emotional and social learning of all ages, and will be fully interactive. It’ll feature cultural works from the Himalayas as part of a larger focus on mindfulness.
The 2,700 square foot lab is being installed by Brooklyn-based Peterson Rich Office after a design competition. The space is architecturally influenced by the Mandala and will be divided into 4 quadrants to represent the cardinal directions and 4 elements. This exciting project is due to open in January 2021.
The National Mall in Washington DC is a site of national importance and heritage. But it’s particularly vulnerable to the coming effects of climate change. To combat this, the Tidal Basin Ideas Lab was founded. The project is organized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Trust for the National Mall, the National Park Service, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
Held completely online, the project looks at the basin’s history and plans to preserve it in the face of sea level rise and changing weather. It features designs and plans from 5 big landscape architecture companies, ranging from the practical to the radical. You can explore the proposals and the exhibition here.
Archtober is an annual event in New York that looks at architecture and design. In its 10th year, the event has been hosted both online and in-person and featured a range of exhibitions, events, and activities for all interested in architecture.
The event saw virtual tours, talks with big names such as Thomas Phifer, and daily buildings of the day. Overall, there were plenty of exciting ideas discussed and it was impressive to see how Archtober adapted to the current challenges.
In an unprecedented and commendable move, the AIA NY has put its foot down and refuses to design any prisons or jails until there is significant justice reform. The statement was made in solidarity with the BLM movement and other organizations fighting injustice in the American prison system.
Alongside this move, the AIA NY is also launching a program to examine the role of architecture in the criminal system, and its Political Action Fund has announced it will only support candidates who share their desire for justice reform.
September’s Architecture Billing Index has shown relative growth compared to August for the first time since March, implying the industry might be moving out of its slump. That said, the overall ABI is still negative.
Revenue is still in decline, but the project inquiries index for New York rose by around 5.5%. The demand for multi-family projects rose by just over 0.5%, while institutional demand, and commercial and industrial demand all remained about the same. While this isn’t the upward trend we all want, it’s a sign things might be finally improving.
Construction Guide is glad to see some positive changes in the New York construction industry after a prolonged period of uncertainty. October has definitely been an exciting month, and we hope this trend will continue into the new year.
Ilya Lugintsev - Founder of Constructionguide.com