Museums Giving Unemployed Architects Something To Do

11/03/2009 11:59 AM |

Pallisades Bay

As the dormant construction sites all over the city can attest, with the bust of New York’s building boom, being an architect in this city has gone from being lucrative to depressing. The Bronx Museum of the Arts and MoMA are doing what they can to keep architects and urban planners busy, though, with two design programs to re-imagine forgotten or dilapidated sections of the city.

The Bronx Museum just opened an exhibition of designs for the Grand Concourse, the borough’s main thoroughfare, which was created after Paris’ broad, tree-lined boulevards 100 years ago. The exhibition not only reveals 7 designs for the future of the Concourse, but also chronicles the various planning decisions that have caused its deterioration.

MoMA, meanwhile, is taking an unusual approach for its Rising Currents program. The museum is giving four teams of architects studio space at P.S.1 for a six-month research and design period aimed at creating programs to help with New York’s impending flood problems as a result of global warming in four strategic waterfront places—like using old subway cars to create coastal wetlands that would protect the city from storm surges (pictured).

The project is based on a report published last year by Guy Nordenson that anticipated the possibility of Katrina-caliber flood disasters in New York before the end of the century. Though there are no plans to build any of these designs, it never hurts to think ahead—especially when there’s no money to do anything right now.

(photo credit: Palisade Bay Team: Guy Nordenson and Associates, Catherine Seavitt Studio, Architecture Research Office)