Manhattan

Lecture Series : Andy Vann for Paul Castrucci Architect at Storefront for Art and Architecture by Paul Castrucci

Manifesto Series: At Extremes

With Jordan Carver, Mitchell Joachim, Janette Kim, Lola Sheppard, Andy Vann, and Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss

Job Captain, Andy Vann (along with colleague Jordan Carver,) presented a provocative and compelling manifesto linking contemporary architectural and political acts with the social space of dissonance and violence.  Vann questioned architects’ own complicity in the unequal shaping of the modern metropolis and invited those in attendance to reflect on relevant and effective ways of confronting and fundamentally altering our speculative and exploitative urban economy.

Excerpt from press release - The condition of extremes suggests a tipping point: a moment in which a system shifts from one state to another (often unpredictable) state. 

Manifesto Series: At Extremes discusses how architecture, infrastructure, and technology negotiate limits and operate in conditions of imbalance. Do the risk/reward models prevalent on the trading floors of global financial markets and in speculative real estate projects hold up in disciplines related to design?

How can the entangled relationship between risk and extreme conditions be leveraged in a new and productive model; one that emphasizes speculation as a way to test scenarios, outcomes, and tools? What is the role of design in such contexts? To document? To redress? To mitigate? To capitalize on new opportunities? Does the progressive destabilization of political, social, and environmental conditions render design more relevant, or less so?  Link to more information

About Andy Vann

Andy Vann is an organizer, educator, parent and architect based in Brooklyn. He has taught at City Tech, City College and Columbia GSAPP.

ABC NO RIO In Progress – Demolition Phase by Paul Castrucci

ABC No Rio is now in the demolition phase. ABC No Rio's events, programs and the essence of community that it brings about continue "in exile"

The programming work ABC No Rio engages and the design work Paul Castrucci Architect are doing helps to strengthen progressive communities in response to the recent elections.  

 

Press Bowery Boogie : Demolition of ABC No Rio’s Former HQ Commences on Rivington Street by Paul Castrucci

Posted on: March 8th, 2017 at 5:00 am by Elie

The proverbial wrecking ball is busy around the Lower East Side these days. It’s tough to keep up. Over on Rivington Street, half the block is currently amidst demolition. First, the Streit’s Matzo Factory. Now, on the occasion of its centennial, the tenement that formerly housed ABC No Rio is receiving the same treatment.

The city finally issued demolition permits last week, some eight months after first approving the paperwork. And despite the lack of netting and ironwork attached to the century-old building, workers have already begun dismantling 156 Rivington Street. In fact, it appears that the roof is already gone. The above photo shows the wrecking crew on the top floor with daylight visible.

One resident across the street is keeping tabs, and noted the brief reprieve during yesterday’s rains. “Thankfully it’s rainy, which keeps the dust down,” the tipster told us. “On dry days it has been flying around like crazy. And the rest of the time, the whole block smells like mold.”

As previously reported, ABC No Rio is currently hosting programs in exile while its new “passive house” at 156 Rivington Street is under construction. The state-of-the-art facility – designed by local architect Paul Castrucci – will eventually boast larger exhibition and performance spaces (doubling the size), in addition to a green roof and second-floor terrace. The solar-equipped building will also have an elevator and carry the organization’s zine library, computer lab, print shop, dark room, and kitchen.

ABC No Rio purchased 156 Rivington Street from the city In 2006 for one dollar. Since then, the arts hub has raised $1.6 million in private donations, plus an additional $6.45 million in grants through City Council members, the former Manhattan Borough president Scott M. Stringer and the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs. Plans for the 9,000 square-foot, Leed-certified structure are nearly eight years in the making.

However, the punk institution hit a snag at the end of last year. Director Steven Englander revealed that construction bids for the eco-friendly “passive house” replacement came in much higher than anticipated and that ABC No Rio needs financial assistance. In the meantime, there’s an ongoing drive to help raise the necessary funds.

As you may recall, in 2014 we moved our project over to the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Given some of our project’s unique aspects, city officials felt that EDC would be a better fit as they allow for greater flexibility in project management and administration.

We put the project out to bid and, unfortunately, the bids came back a lot higher than our available funding. While we’re disappointed, we’re not giving up hope and continue to explore our options for raising more money and getting our dream building up and running. Remember, ABC No Rio originated from a creative action by artists who never dreamed that breaking into a building to protest the city’s real estate policies would lead to a community arts center where many several thousands of artists, activists and others have been able to connect and learn. We’ve survived years of eviction attempts and gentrification. When the city first told us that if we raised the money to develop the site, they’d give us our home, many thought that this was an impossible task. But we did it – and in 2006, the City signed over the deed.

So, far from giving up hope, we’ll keep exploring what we need to make our new home happen. We are working with EDC staff and the construction management firm they hired to determine how to best move forward with our available funds given the current challenging market and environment for construction costs.

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2017 TED Residents : Congrats to Wendy Brawer our development partner at Further, Inc. by Paul Castrucci

Long time friend and partner for award winning R-951 Pacific Residence, Wendy Brawer, joined the ranks of the TED Residency program. Wendy Brawer is Green Map System's Founder and Director. Brawer created the first Green Map of New York City in 1992. Since then, she has published nearly 20 interactive and printed Green Maps. Wendy initiated the global Green Map System in 1995 and continues to lead its development as it spread to 65+ countries. She is an accomplished educator and has taught at NYU, Cooper Union and presented at more than 50 universities and conferences. Her accolades includes being Designer in Residence, Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, an Utne Visionary, a Woman of Earth/Terre de Femmes and recipient of a Sea Change Award.

On March 6, TED welcomed its latest class to the TED Residency program. As an in-house incubator for breakthrough ideas, Residents spend four months in the TED office with other exceptional people from all over the map. Each has a project that promises to make a significant contribution to the world, across several different fields. 

The new Residents include:

  • A technologist working on app to promote world peace
  • An entrepreneur whose packaging business wants to break America’s addiction to plastic
  • A documentarian profiling young people of color grappling with mental-health challenges
  • A journalist telling the stories of families and friends affected by deportation
  • A programmer who wants to teach kids how to code … without computers
  • A writer-photographer chronicling the lives of Chinese takeout workers in New York City
  • A scientist studying an easier path to deeper sleep

At the end of the program, Residents have the opportunity to give a TED Talk about their work and ideas in the theater at TED HQ. Link to original article 

New York–based designer Wendy Brawer is the creator of the Green Map, a tool that uses distinctive iconography to denote green-living, natural, social, and cultural resources. Locally led in 65 countries, GreenMap.org will soon relaunch with a new, open approach to inspire greater action on climate health and environmental justice among residents and travelers alike.

In-process Sustainable & Affordable Housing : 544 East 13th St, New York NY by Paul Castrucci

Sustainable and affordable housing is a critical part of our practice. For more than two decades the firm has engaged in educating the public and increasing awareness on this essential type of housing. The firm is pleased to present two current sustainable and affordable housing projects in the East Village community. The project team includes the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD),  the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and a developer partner BFC Partners and SMJ Development.  

544 East 13th Street is a gut renovation project in the Lower East Side neighborhood of New York.  Our design team often engages in a participatory design process with the existing tenants, many of whom had lived in their spaces for more than 20 years.  The firm with developer partner BFC Partners and SMJ Development the firm is incorporating Passive House design techniques.  Currently the firm is preparing the building's air tight construction with improved insulation and windows have arrived and to be installed soon.

In-process Sustainable & Affordable Housing : 377 East 10th St, New York NY by Paul Castrucci

Sustainable and affordable housing is an essential part of our practice for more than twenty years. The firm is pleased to present two current sustainable and affordable housing projects in the East Village community. The project team includes the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD),  the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and a developer partner BFC Partners and SMJ Development.  

377 East 10th Street is a gut renovation project in the Lower East Side neighborhood of New York.  Our design team engaged in a participatory design process with the existing tenants, many of whom had lived in their spaces for more than 20 years.  Through a series of one on one meetings with the tenants, their ideas and spatial needs were incorporated into the project.  

The building is being adapted to meet the Passive House EnerPHit and Enterprise Green Communities standards. The firm is incorporating Passive House design techniques such as air tight construction, improved insulation and windows, and energy recovery ventilation, the buildings are made truly sustainable and truly affordable. 

Open House Event: 377 East 10th Street, Manhattan by Paul Castrucci

For 13th International Passive House Days Paul A. Castrucci, RA and Jaime Alvarez, RA gave a guided open house tour of 377 East 10th Street in the East Village on Friday,  November 11 at 3:30 p.m. The architects held a discussion on site for builders, engineers, architects, developers, affordable homeowners and green building enthusiasts to learn more about the project. This New York Passive House open house tour focused on how the firm is implementing Passive House construction and addressing the neighborhood demand for affordable housing.  Reduction in energy use is critical to maintaining affordable housing, where residents may already be financially challenged.

This is a Passive House retro-fit of a pre-1900 six story tenement.  The building was adapted to meet the Passive House EnerPHit and Enterprise Green Communities standards. The project team includes the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD),  the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and a developer partner BFC Partners and SMJ Development. 

East Village Open House: 2016 New York Passive House Days | Nov. 11, 2016 by Paul Castrucci

377 East 10th St, Manhattan | Friday - November 11, 3:30 PM

RSVP on New York Passive House website - Link to RSVP

 

For Immediate Release:

New York City - Paul A. Castrucci, Architect joins New York Passive House (NYPH) for the 13th International Passive House Days. NYPH tours offer the public and industry experts a first hand interaction with Passive Houses. Paul A. Castrucci, RA and Jaime Alvarez, RA will guide the open house tour of 377 East 10th Street in the East Village on Friday,  November 11 at 3:30 p.m. The architects will also hold a discussion and educational event on site for builders, engineers, architects, developers, affordable homeowners and green building enthusiasts to learn more about the project.  

This is a Passive House retro-fit of a pre-1900 six story tenement.  The building was adapted to meet the Passive House EnerPHit and Enterprise Green Communities standards. The project team includes the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD),  the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and a developer partner BFC Partners and SMJ Development. This NYPH open house tour will also focus on how the firm is implementing Passive House construction and addressing the neighborhood demand for affordable housing.  Reduction in energy use is critical to maintaining affordable housing, where residents may already be financially challenged.

Passive House is an international building standard developed in the 1990s by the Passive House Institute of Darmstadt Germany.  The firm is committed to building to Passive House standards, reducing building energy use through passive measures and components such as insulation, airtightness, heat recovery, solar heat gains, solar shading and incidental internal heat gains. Passive House buildings are comfortable, affordable and create deep reductions in environmental/carbon footprint. 

New York Passive House is an independent not-for-profit organization that facilitates the exchange of information and experiences, among local, national and international practitioners of the Passive House building standard. 

Paul A. Castrucci, Architect is an early adapter of Passive House construction having completed R-951, which is New York City’s first Net Zero Capable, Passive House certified residence. The firm has over thirty years of experience in sustainable practices with a focus on residential buildings, arts facilities and community centers. The firm’s body of work reflects the firms commitment to sustainability in design and construction. The materials and building systems the firm employs are selected for their low environmental impact and maximum energy efficiency. The firm values building principles that employ both passive and active strategies to generate energy and significantly reduce energy use. The firm’s projects typically incorporate systems like passive and active solar heating, photovoltaic electricity generation and schemes for natural day lighting and ventilation. 

Special thanks to our partners

Press contact: Rosalinda@castrucciarchitect.com
T. 212.254.7060 x 612

Forum: GreenHome NYC Sustainable Affordable Housing Rehabilitation | Sept. 17, 2016 by Paul Castrucci

Trespa Design Center, 62 Greene St, New York, NY 10012 | Wednesday - September 21, 6:30 - 8:00PM

 

Most of New York City’s affordable housing stock was constructed over thirty years ago, before better insulated, ventilated, and resilient buildings became a requirement. Other city properties may date back a hundred years or more and are subject to incomplete renovations. Compounded by sometimes inadequate maintenance and lack of funding, many of these properties are in need of significant rehabilitation. Additionally, given the economic challenges that many affordable housing tenants face, reducing energy expenses is of high significance. There is an imperative need to rehabilitate these buildings for better energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, resiliency, and affordability.

In this month’s Forum, we’ll discuss the unique New York City challenge of sustainable affordable housing rehabilitation. Our speakers will share their experiences in meeting this challenge, from making the rehabilitation feasible, designing it, and then demonstrating results.

SPEAKERS:

Christoph Stump – Vice President of Design and Construction at Trinity Financial

Sofia Palha de Melo – Senior Energy Engineer at Steven Winter Associates

Andrea Mancino – Project Manager at Bright Power, Inc.

Jaime Alvarez – Project Manager at Paul A. Castrucci, Architect

Press Bowery Boogie : ABC No Rio Demolition Approved by the City Yesterday by Paul Castrucci

Posted on: July 27th, 2016 at 9:15 am by Elie

It’s another historic moment for ABC No Rio, currently in exile as it awaits its future. The city issued permits yesterday for the full demolition of the four-story tenement building at 156 Rivington Street, easily one of the last vestiges of Lower East Side punk.

Until the wrecking crew is mobilized, however, ABC No Rio remains a ghost town. Its entryway a shrine to the past, while a single inscription is seemingly contradiction in terms – “Fuck nostalgia, the future is unwritten.”

Brochures touting the new eco-friendly facility are also scattered around the padlocked door. Each illustrates, in greater detail, how the replacement space will be divided once fully constructed. Below is a snapshot.

As you can see, the reincarnated ABC No Rio will have an elevator and boast larger exhibition and performance spaces (doubling the size), in addition to a green roof and second-floor terrace. The solar-equipped building will also carry the organization’s zine library, computer lab, print shop, dark room, and kitchen.

But will it retain that same punk rock spirit, or become a diluted version of its former self?

ABC No Rio purchased 156 Rivington Street from the city In 2006 the for one dollar. Since then, the arts hub has raised $1.6 million in private donations, plus an additional $6.45 million in grants through City Council members, the former Manhattan Borough president Scott M. Stringer and the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs. Plans for the 9,000 square-foot, Leed-certified “passive house” are more than seven years in the making.

The institution remains in exile for the duration, hosting shows at various third-party locations (mainly in Brooklyn). Temporary offices were set up around the corner in the Clemente Soto Velez Center.

Meanwhile, the Streit’s Matzo Factory buildings on its flank are likewise coming down. Expect ABC No Rio to follow closely.

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Press Bowery Boogie : With Demolition Looming, Final Shows at Exiting ABC No Rio Announced by Paul Castrucci

Posted on: June 8th, 2016 at 5:13 am by Elie

Lower East Side punk haven, ABC No Rio, just released its final slate of programming in their longtime Rivington Street location. The announcement comes as the arts organization prepares to demolish the current building at 156 Rivington Street, and replace with a new energy-efficient “passive house.”

The takedown and subsequent reconstruction – which should begin by end of June – will force ABC No Rio into exile for the duration. However, there still aren’t any demolition permits on file with the Department of Buildings.

This replacement is more than seven years in the making. Challenges and roadblocks abounded. Plans all along called for a 9,000 square-foot, Leed-certified “passive house” that boasts exhibition and performance spaces, in addition to a green roof and second-floor terrace. Yet, the project progressed sluggishly through a quagmire of bureaucracy and administrative red tape.

ABC No Rio purchased 156 Rivington Street from the city In 2006 the for a dollar. Since then, the arts hub has raised $1.6 million in private donations, plus an additional $6.45 million in grants through City Council members, the former Manhattan Borough president Scott M. Stringer and the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs.

After the concurrent final shows – “InFinite Futures” and “The Past will be Present” – in comes the wrecking ball. “ABC No Rio will then vacate the building in advance of demolition and the subsequent construction of a new facility on its site,” Director Steve Englander noted in a public statement.

From the mailbag:

For Infinite Futures artists with an historical connection to ABC No Rio, from founders to current members of No Rio’s Visual Arts Collective, were invited to create installations throughout the building that imagine the site in five, fifty or five hundred years in the future.

Participating artists include Kevin Caplicki with Alexander Drywall, Peter Cramer + Jack Waters, Barrie Cline with Paul Vance, Jody Culkin + Christy Rupp, Mike Estabrook, Fly, Brian George + Kelly Savage, Julie Hair with Douglas Landau, Takashi Horisaki, Becky Howland, Vandana Jain, Mac McGill, Max Schumann, Noah Scalin, Amy Westpfahl, and Zero Boy.

The gallery will include work by four photographers for The Past Will Be Present. Jade Doskow, Vikki Law and Chris Villafuerte will show work that examines the textures of No Rio’s building on Rivington Street. Margarida Correia will present a series of portraits of ABC No Rio volunteers.

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Press New York Times : For an Architect and His Family,a Home and a Laboratory by Paul Castrucci

THE stacks of the Con Edison plant at 14th Street and Avenue C are just barely visible through the hedgerow of grasses and herbs that top the parapets of 179 Rivington Street on the Lower East Side. It's a view framed by serendipity, and it delights 179 Rivington's architect, Paul Castrucci, who built this tricolored, sawtooth-roofed, five-story building sheathed in zinc, brick and concrete as a laboratory of sustainable architecture and green-building practices.

It's a home laboratory, too: Mr. Castrucci, his wife, Marisa DeDominicis, and their three children live in the top two floors in a four-bedroom apartment that seems to float among the cornices of the Rivington Street tenements. The solar panels along the south-facing "teeth" of the roof draw enough power to make this family's Con Ed bill a wash each month; the garden in progress around the top floor absorbs storm water and forms a soft, green canopy that cools the roof a notch or two each summer; and the skylights and cantilevering aluminum windows draw air through and out of the space, like a natural (and free) air-conditioner.

"It's a bit of a way of life," said Mr. Castrucci, who made public-art pieces forged from iron before he made buildings. This bit of a way of life is an aesthetic, domestic and political mission that cloaks this family in community activism -- Ms. DeDominicis is a program coordinator at the Trust for Public Land -- and self-sufficiency.

"We're just your typical Lower East Side activist family," Ms. DeDominicis said half-jokingly the other day, tipping her new puppy, a winsome beagle-Jack Russell blend named Ginger, from her arms on to the concrete of Mr. Castrucci's ground-floor office. She went on to describe two decades of the grindingly hard work that has led her family to this corner lot, which was one of the last vacant lots in the area.

In the 1980's, Mr. Castrucci, now 46, was living in a storefront on Fourth Street between Avenues A and B. Madonna was said to have lived upstairs, though no one could remember seeing her. He made a gallery in the space with his brother Andrew, who is also an artist, called the A+P Gallery; their rent was $350 a month. He practiced architecture and made art -- muscular iron pieces he forged in the riot of vacant lots that peppered the East Village.

"That was in the 80's, when everyone had a gallery," said Ms. DeDominicis, 42. "There were three on every block."

She had been living on 13th Street, in a 1910 tenement renovated by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and then, as so many buildings were in the 1970's, abandoned by its landlord.

Drawn to the unpainted canvas of the area, Ms. DeDominicis was one of a group of squatters and community gardeners who brought the building -- and the neighborhood -- back into the 20th century. (It is now a limited-equity co-op supported by the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board.)

Ms. DeDominicis threw herself into community life, running a grass-roots recycling program, working as an advocate for the elderly and then the homeless, learning carpentry skills at New York City Technical College and volunteering in community gardens -- "creating order," she said, "out of the chaos of our neighborhood."

She had a carpentry company, Women's Work, and returned to New York City Technical College to teach basic carpentry skills to women. She and Mr. Castrucci met one day as she was gardening in a vacant lot and he was blacksmithing next door. He moved into the 13th Street apartment with Ms. DeDominicis and her daughter Kali, now 15. Their son, Lucca, arrived 11 years ago; their daughter Selene is 9. (That garden has been bulldozed, and his old storefront is now a wine bar.)

Ms. DeDominicis was happy on 13th Street, proud of the work she and her neighbors had poured into the building and the street. But Mr. Castrucci wanted to build. Ten years ago, he bought a 25-by-100-foot lot on Fifth Street, between Avenues C and D, for $20,000 and the back taxes, an additional $60,000.

Within a year, it was revealed that the city had condemned the lot and planned its development as a public park, a rara avis for the area. The situation's denouement, in which the city paid Mr. Castrucci and Ms. DeDominicis $570,000, involved a nine-year legal battle and took care of their lawyer's fees and the purchase price of their 40-by-40-foot Rivington Street lot, which they bought at public auction for $380,000 in 2000.

It was one of the last lots auctioned in the area, before a suit by the Green Guerrillas, community garden activists, and the state attorney general's office stopped the process by which the city was selling off its vacant lots -- many of which had become public gardens -- in the last days of the Giuliani administration.

This lot, happily, was just a lot -- the former site of a pharmacy, with a pawn shop next door -- and with a special feature: it is at the corner of Rivington and Attorney Streets, and its neighbors across Attorney Street to the east and north are a public park and two low-rise public schools, offering a feast of light, air and views.

Mr. Castrucci had spent three years investigating properties at city auctions, captivated by the political theater of various groups, like the one that brought thousands of grasshoppers to an auction, shutting down the proceedings for an hour.

The Rivington Street lot, like so many owned by the city, seemed seriously underpriced in its auction estimate, Mr. Castrucci said, and when the bidding was done, it sold for three or four times the value the city had placed on it. Stunned by the bidding and worn out from nine years of wrangling to recoup his costs from the lot on Fifth Street, Mr. Castrucci was seriously shaken by the end of what turned out to be his final auction. "I could hardly sign my name," he said.

Mr. Castrucci's plan was to build a one-story structure, and maybe build another story each year, as funds allowed. Ms. DeDominicis urged him to be bold. A construction loan of about $1 million was a year in the making. Construction and the attendant research and experimentation -- trying to find the right green insulation (it's cellulose, and you blow it in wet), high-efficiency boilers and more -- took a year and a half.

The street floor holds Mr. Castrucci's architectural practice, an office so soaked in light his associates have taped their plans over the Attorney Street windows. "We're working on that," Mr. Castrucci said.

This building is a calling card for his modern architecture -- a clean, utilitarian form with a clear vision -- which he deploys in a number of community-based projects (limited equity co-ops, a community center nearby) as well as private and commercial work. The middle two floors have four apartments, the rent from which helps pay the mortgage.

In the hot sun one recent morning, 179 Rivington was an extraordinary sight: modern, graceful, perked with color. "I'm really in awe of my husband," Ms. DeDominicis said. "I would not be living here. I would not have had the same focus. So together we have arrived at this point."

Later that morning, two housedress-bedecked women, doubled over with age but grinning wildly -- and each half leaning on, half pushing her foldable shopping cart -- zigzagged past the corner.

"Hey," one of the women yelled. "That's a very beautiful building. Are there any cheap apartments?"

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