February 6, 2020
“Home in Lenapehoking” Tammany Hall and the Lenape Center featured in Urban Omnibus
The Architectural League of New York’s Urban Omnibus features our collaboration with the Lenape Center in their most recent issue. The editors spoke with Joe Baker and Hadrien Coumans, the Lenape Center’s co-founders and co-directors about their efforts to bring the original peoples and their culture back home in the 21st century.
Check out our concept for a Lenape Center home in Manhattan’s Inwood Hill Park. Read the full interview, which also highlights our work with the Center on the turtle shell dome at Tammany Hall.
Urban Omnibus: What could that civic understanding look like here? You recently worked with the architects of the renovation of Tammany Hall on a new dome for the building.
Hadrien Coumans: Tammany Hall is an example of how an architectural firm has, from the beginning, done everything in the best way to bring out a sense of recognition and place of honoring the original people. I credit Todd Poisson for having led the most thoughtful effort to include the Lenape every step of the way. We’re very happy with the glass turtle dome roof, and it’s rare to have an example in the city of thorough consultation that resulted in something that is really a new landmark. Tammany Hall, as a political organization, did not care for the well-being of the Lenape, and was using a romanticized notion of a chief. It’s exciting to have an architectural firm realize the misappropriation of this name historically, but also see that there is an opportunity to bring in authentic, legitimate voice and representation into the story. That’s more exciting than a monument — that’s actually creating change.
Read the full story
The Lenape Center was established in 2008 with the mission of continuing Lenapehoking. The organization’s work has taken various forms, from staging an opera on the purchase of Manhattan, to consulting with BKSK Architects on Tammany Hall’s new turtle shell-inspired dome, and planting indigenous corn in the city’s community gardens. They also partner with other organizations seeking to promote the living culture of the Lenape.
Read the full story
December 15, 2015
Oculus shares the past, present, and future of 529 Broadway
The latest issue of Oculus includes a close look at 529 Broadway, by writer Sarah Goodyear. In her piece, Goodyear reveals how the site’s past inspired our team’s approach to the building design, which involved a combination of careful observation, design talent, new technologies, and (humorously) a pair of binoculars.
Read the full article and several other interesting pieces in the Winter 2015 Oculus, and learn more about the project right here on our site.
April 10, 2015
Grafting a vertical expansion onto a Landmark infamous for graft
The unassuming hipped roof of the former Tammany Hall headquarters on Union Square will soon turn to glass and grow taller with an unconventional shell-like dome, as approved recently—unanimously—by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. BKSK conceived this expansion to be deeply respectful, and expect it to be applauded by many as both reverent and intriguing. As a preservation approach, it is designed to yield unexpected insight about the building’s hidden history. We acknowledge that some members of the preservation community have reservations about the changes proposed and we are keeping the dialogue with them open. That the Commission approved an addition as visible as this to an individual Landmark is special and rare. Read More
June 26, 2014
New architecture inspired by a historic building material
New York has a rich architectural terra cotta heritage. This ceramic can be found on a plethora of historic buildings throughout the city, ranging from the iconic like Louis Sullivan’s Bayard-Condict Building and Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building to smaller-scale Queen Anne-style rowhouses in Park Slope and vibrantly glazed commercial structures along Coney Island Avenue. Of late, terra cotta has been experiencing a rebirth in contemporary architecture, including that of BKSK, thanks to the material’s inherent properties—specifically its malleability, infinite glazing options, environmental performance, and low toxicity. Read More