AAP NYC Hosts L. Michael Goldsmith Lecture in New Studio

Dennis Vermeulen of Marvel Architects at AAP NYC lecture
Dennis Vermeulen of Marvel Architects (center in orange jacket) arranges a model depicting Pierhouse, a 109-unit condominium in Brooklyn Bridge Park. photo / Zachary Tyler Newton (M.Arch '10)
Jonathan Marvel at AAP NYC lecture
Jonathan Marvel points out Brooklyn Bridge Park on a historic map of New York City. photo / Zachary Tyler Newton (M.Arch '10)
AAP NYC L. Michael Goldsmith Lecture panel
Robert Balder, standing at right, poses questions to (from left) Zach Griffin, Jonathan Marvel, and Dennis Vermeulen of Marvel Architects. photo / Zachary Tyler Newton (M.Arch '10)
Dennis Vermeulen of Marvel Architects (center in orange jacket) arranges a model depicting Pierhouse, a 109-unit condominium in Brooklyn Bridge Park. photo / Zachary Tyler Newton (M.Arch '10) Jonathan Marvel points out Brooklyn Bridge Park on a historic map of New York City. photo / Zachary Tyler Newton (M.Arch '10) Robert Balder, standing at right, poses questions to (from left) Zach Griffin, Jonathan Marvel, and Dennis Vermeulen of Marvel Architects. photo / Zachary Tyler Newton (M.Arch '10)
News
May 13, 2015

The 2015 L. Michael Goldsmith Lecture, held at AAP NYC on April 14, featured noted architect Jonathan Marvel, FAIA, principal and founder of New York City–based Marvel Architects.

In his lecture, Marvel discussed two of his projects currently underway in Brooklyn Bridge Park — Pierhouse and 1 Hotel, a mixed-used condominium and hotel development in the Brooklyn Heights section of the park; and the adaptive reuse of the Tobacco Warehouse as the future home of St. Ann's Warehouse, a Brooklyn-based performance institution founded in 1980. Both projects are part of the development of Brooklyn Bridge Park, master planned by noted landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh '73 in 2005.

In his discussion of Pierhouse, a 109-unit condominium project in the Brooklyn Heights section of the park, Marvel highlighted the importance of maintaining the views of Manhattan from Brooklyn Heights, as well as the integration of two distinct New York City styles of living, the loft and the townhouse. The resulting buildings feature several types of unit, each with a terrace and urban garden maintained by the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Pierhouse is currently being developed by Toll Brothers, and is expected to be complete in late 2015.

The adaptive reuse of the Tobacco Warehouse posed challenges involving historic preservation, a missing roof, and adapting the space to the ideal height for theater lights and acoustics. The resulting renovation features a new, eight-foot, glass brick roof on one section of the building only, leaving an open-air triangle for community functions in the remainder of the space.

Marvel framed both projects against a backdrop of the post-Hurricane Sandy waterfront concerns of New York City, noting that the Tobacco Warehouse main floor was under four feet of water during the storm. The lecture was followed by a Q&A session with Marvel and partners Zach Griffin and Dennis Vermeulen.

"The recent conversion of Brooklyn's historic working waterfront into today's Brooklyn Bridge Park represents a bold vision of what New York City's former maritime and commercial waterfronts can become," said AAP NYC Executive Director Bob Balder in his introduction. "The integration of a vibrant park landscape with a diverse mixed-use program that accommodates recreation, housing, hospitality, entertainment, and helps to restore the natural functions of the East River, is a striking example of what can be achieved in an era of renewal and resilience."

The annual Goldsmith lecture was established in memory of L. Michael Goldsmith by his family and friends in recognition of his passion for his education at Cornell, his career, and love of the profession of architecture. The event marked the first public event in the new AAP NYC studio space located at 26 Broadway, the former headquarters of Standard Oil, and a designated New York City landmark. And, in addition to being the name of the lecture series, L. Michael Goldsmith has some additional connections to the new AAP NYC space.

"During the course of planning this year's lecture in the new space, we made some remarkable discoveries," says Balder. "We learned that Gaynor Design, the successor firm to Ludwig Michael Goldsmith Architects, did some major renovations to both the lobby and the 10th floor of this historic building."

The lobby work included restoration of some of the intricate stonework, renovation of the grand staircase, installation of a new main reception desk, and the introduction of specialty lighting to highlight the names of the board of directors of Standard Oil, most notably, J. D. Rockefeller. Among the names not included in the lobby is Walter Clark Teagle, Cornell class of 1899, president of Standard Oil of New Jersey from 1917 to 1937 and 30-year trustee of Cornell.

"In the documents that designate 26 Broadway as a historic building, Teagle is credited with leading Standard Oil's growth after World War I, which led the company to create an even larger presence on this site. The serendipitous coincidences in this building make it an even more appropriate place for AAP NYC's headquarters," says Balder.

By Rebecca Bowes