The thermometer says it’s 92 degrees; the heat index bumps that up a few degrees more. And while we here at gbNYC are usually pretty skeptical of climate science — remember that time it was really warm back during the winter? — it’s hard to argue that what’s going on outside is anything more than an explicit invitation to stay indoors and read some stuff on the internets. To that end, and because some of our longer-gestating posts are still gestating, we bring the triumphant(-ish) return of Friday Reading, the gbNYC feature that helps you help yourself stay indoors. You are so, so welcome.
- The building rendering you see above is that of what is currently perhaps the coolest-looking mystery in New York City. Its name is the Culture Shed, and it’s a 22,000-square-foot combination art gallery and event space that’s being developed by the Hudson Yards Development Corporation on 30th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. It just received a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and may wind up functioning as a sort of floating adjunct gallery for a host of foreign and domestic art institutions. The design comes courtesy of Diller Scofidio & Renfro and The Rockwell Group, and while little is known about any green building elements in the plan, it’s worth noting that 1) basically no one knows anything about this building or project at this point and 2) Hudson Yards Development Corporation is a city entity, and therefore likely to insist on some sort of third-party green certification. “The idea for the building, which has been little noted in the New York cultural world until now, envisions a new breed of cultural site — a kind of combination museum and rental exhibition space, which would be self-supporting,” Kate Taylor reports in The New York Times. “The design calls for a five-story building with two translucent sheds that fit over it like trestle tables and can roll out into the plaza to temporarily create an exhibition hall of more than 55,000 square feet.” More on this one as it develops, obviously. For starters, though, here’s a skeptical look at the merits of the NEA grant from Arts Journal’s Lee Rosenbaum. “NEA should serve the needs of the existing cultural community (not speculative and ambigious new ventures) and should leave the creation of new facilities, with still uncertain uses, to private funders or other government agencies whose mission involves supporting redevelopment construction projects,” Rosenbaum writes. I am sort of inclined to agree myself, but mostly I’m just interested in hearing more about those translucent sheds. Translucent sheds!
- Architecture dorks have a new destination this summer in the just-opened Richard Meier Model Museum in Long Island City. The smallish private museum, housed in a 3,600-square-foot warehouse, is open on Fridays by appointment only, but sounds pretty fascinating even if you’re not into Richard Meier’s designs. (We at gbNYC are indeed into his work, and can attest to the fact that it sounds pretty fascinating from our perspective as well) Meier envisions the museum as a window into his creative process, but for fans of the Jersey-born Pritzker Prize winner, the model museum offers a unique opportunity to check out some of the Meier designs that never actually cracked a skyline. In an interview with Wallpaper’s Mimi Ziegler, Meier talks about his hopes for the Model Museum and, briefly, about his fascinating new Teachers Village development project in Newark. (Which is the subject of one of those long-gestating gbNYC posts mentioned earlier)
- And finally, this one is just kind of cool. The excavation of the World Trade Center site turned up an 18th-century sea wall recently, which was the sort of frankly literary crypto-metaphor for time and perseverance and New York City as New York City that would’ve worked very well in a short story, but was even more resonant in a news story. A more recent turn-up is perhaps a bit less symbolically rich, but arguably just as cool for those inclined to find things like this cool — ladies and gentlemen, we give you a 30-foot, 18th-century ship that was recently discovered at the bottom of the WTC pit.
And that’s that for now. Obviously this has been a slow week, as was last week. I won’t make any excuses for that, although I feel obligated to mention that I totally could, and also to mention — because it’s about time someone gave me a round of applause for this — that I recently handed my novel over to my agent. The book is all about insulation. It’s a love story. I expect big things. But thanks for your patience while my mind was elsewhere. See you Monday.