New York film school says ‘action’ in new Battery Park facility

Guest Contributor – Karin Kloosterman

I live in a historical building that also serves as a music and performance hall. World music musicians, dancers, whirling dervishes, gurus from India and Kabala centers, spiritual seekers, TED talkers – you name it – have found ‘divine’ inspiration at my home in the heart of Jaffa.

There is no doubt that old buildings have personality with their nooks and crannies to explore. Ghosts to meet. Ceiling heights, room dimensions, tiles, and fixtures are from another time and they affect how we create. Once in a while the cracks and crumbling walls get to me though. No matter how much my husband patches them up, they blow open again. Sometimes I dream of moving into a condo that’s small, fresh and clean; compact and super functional. A place with a clean slate.

Turns out that the New York Film Academy is going to get the best of both worlds - a clean slate and that old historical inspiration as it upsizes its old facilities in Soho to a massive campus at Battery Park.

The new Battery Place facility just being polished off will replace the school’s NYC location, 568 Broadway in SoHo at the corner of Prince and Broadway, which was also a contemporary facility. The film school’s Union Square offices at 100 17th Street in the historic Tammany Hall will stay as the school’s main headquarters and will remain home to a number of the New York Film Academy programs.

But the new facilities are meant to inspire. With impressive views from almost every window, young film makers from far and wide who have dreamed of making it in New York will be dreaming, dancing, editing and saying ‘action’ at the new facilities.

David Klein the senior director at the New York Film Academy tells WAN METROBLOGS: “As filmmakers we recognize that our surroundings do and will impact the art we make. While our older historic facilities in Tammany Hall at Union School – which we will keep – add that certain character which helps us learn, create and grow as artists, the new facilities gives our school that contemporary edge too.

“Meanwhile our space at Tammany Hall has wonderful character and will continue to provide New York Film Academy students will a buzzing, exciting environment to learn, create, and grow as artists.”

What to expect? “Our new location at Battery Place is an improvement over the SoHo space, as it is five times the size. We will have four new shooting studios, four new dance and movement studios, larger classrooms, two screening rooms, several computer editing labs, wonderful administrative space and large new equipment room to house all of our state-of-the-art filmmaking gear.”

Rooms with a view? Klein adds: “The views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty from almost every classroom at the new space are glorious. While there, you cannot help but feel like you are in the heart of one of the most inspiring cities in the world.”

Photos of new Battery Park facility courtesy of the New York Film Academy.

Karin Kloosterman is the founder of an environment news website Green Prophet.

Souta de Moura defies critics and accepts Israel’s Wolf Prize

Eduardo Souto de Moura (seated first from the left) and Israel's President Shimon Peres

Portuguese architect Eduard Souto de Moura received the prestigious Wolf Prize in Architecture at a private ceremony held at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament building, on 5 May. In the months leading up to the event,  a group of architects organized under the banner of Architects & Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP) urged Souto de Moura to reject the prize but that was not to be.   In his acceptance speech Souta de Moura said he was saddened by this action of his friends and he went on to say that his name roughly translated means love.

Souto de Mouro was awarded the Wolf Prize for “the advancement of architectural knowledge in showing how buildings can philiosophically and experientially engage with the natural world, and for his exceptional skills as a designer.”  He is the 13th architect ever to be honored with the prize which was founded in 1978.

Bouroullec Brothers + Axor Perfect Together at ICFF

Ronan Bouroullec and Phillipe Grohe, Axor's Brand Manager, at ICFF

Axor Bouroullec was the best in show at New York’s ICFF.  Taking home the ICFF Editor’s Choice Award in the Kitchen & Bath category, the collection, which includes more than forty bathroom products – from faucets, accessories and washbasins to the bathtub- is beautiful and remarkably customizable, hence the name “Feel Free to Compose”.   The products are unique in that they are designed to respond to individual needs rather than the other way around, where the individual adapts to the product.  The specially crafted material of the basins, which is softer than typical porcelain and thus not prone to breakage or cracking, allows for after market customization.  A special drill bit comes with the product and little to no experience is required to get it right.  With the Bouroullec’s behind the design, it is sure to become a classic. I went to see the Axor Bouroullec launch not expecting to buy something but I couldn’t resist its simple lines and the fact that it makes such good sense to design a product in this way.     Look for my ICFF picks in the forthcoming issue of World Interiors News, a sister publication of World Architecture News.

Axor Bouroullec "Feel Free to Compose"

Koolhaas inks a deal for Performance Art Museum

Noted performance artist, Marian Abramovic, announced on Tuesday that she has hired Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas to design her Center for the Preservation of Performance Art in Hudson, New York just two hours from Manhattan.   Abramovic will seek to raise $8 million for the museum, which will be built on the site of a former tennis center and devoted to performance art pieces of “six hours minimum”.     If all goes well Abramovic plans to add a theatre and is meeting with the town Mayor to advocate for the construction of a hotel for art types.

A feel good tale about the architect/patron relationship

Today’s story in the New York Times by Pilar Viladas about the rescue of Robert Venturi’s Lieb House is a feel good story about architecture that makes one proud to be an architect.  And, for those who have a jaded view of the architect and owner relationship as a cantankerous affair, this story will restore your faith by demonstrating that there really are people out there in the world who cherish what we do, value good design and will go to the nth degree to demonstrate it.   

Designed in the early 1970s, the Lieb House began its life as a beach house on the New Jersey shore.  Viladas points out that the modest structure, which Venturi called a “banal box”, caused quite a stir in the community, resulting in a spat between the house’s owner and one of the neighbors that resulted in the the two not speaking together ever again.   Then a couple of years ago in 2009 the owner had to sell the house for financial reasons and reached out to the architect and to New York architect Fred Schwartz, who worked for Venturi for years, for help.  A new owner, Deborah Sarnoff and Robert Gotkin of Long Island, New York, who themselves were Venturi patrons, was identified and the three parties , including Venturi’s son Jim, Schwartz, and the couple, banded together to save the house.  A link to this heartneing story is provided here.

Stern to Design Museum of The American Revolution

The third time’s a charm for architect Robert A. M. Stern, whose firm was tapped this month to design Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution.  Stern was selected twice before to design the museum but both projects were cancelled when the National Park Service could not reach an agreement with the Center on a site.  Now, in what amounts to a land swap, the Center will give the Park Service a 78-acre site across from Valley Forge in exchange for a site next to historic Independence Hall to build the museum.

“At last, the long-cherished dream of very many – a fixed place to celebrate and interpret the American Revolution – will be realized on a terrific site a stone’s throw from Independence Hall,” said Robert A.M. Stern. “Our intention is to portray the institution we are asked to serve, to find an architectural expression that will foster and facilitate an important conversation across time, mirroring the ideals of the Revolution that have inspired us for more than two centuries.”  The $150 million project is slated to open in 2015.  MFM Design will be responsible for the exhibits.