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Architecture Firms in DC Compete at Canstruction

Posted by Stacy Lasner
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Architecture Firms in DC Compete at Canstruction

Some of the best arts and business partnerships are ones in which businesses incorporate the arts as part of other charitable efforts. For example, architects in DC collaborated with their colleagues on a creative project this past November to raise awareness about hunger in the city. At the Washington Architectural Foundation's annual Canstruction event, teams created structures made of full cans of food that were then donated to charity. According to Greatergreaterwashington.org, this year's theme was transportation, which resulted in replicas of the Metro map, Washington Dulles International airport, and a Car2Go from firms such as KCCT Architects and Barnes Vanze Architects. Through this year's event, the firms donated a total of 68,313 pounds of food plus $5,070 in “votes” for the Capital Area Food Bank, resulting in 69,600 meals--27.600 more meals than the event raised in 2014.

 

Canstruction® is an Atlanta, Georgia based charity which hosts competitions, exhibitions and events showcasing colossal structures made out of full cans of food. After the structures are built, the cansculptures® go on display to the public as a giant art exhibition. At the end of the event, all food is donated to local hunger relief organizations. Canstruction® events are held annually in over 150 cities around the world including North America, Australia, South America, Europe, and Asia.

 

Not only does Canstruction challenge architects to think creatively, enabling them to work collaboratively with their coworkers and hone their design skills in a fun way, but it also allows the businesses to give back to the community where their employees and customers live and work. For these firms, Canstruction is about more than just building a map or a car, it's about building a brand.

 

Photos: A DC Metro map and Can2Go by nevermindtheend on Flickr.

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A New York Neighborhood Partnership Begets Architectural Innovation

Posted by Stephanie Dockery
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The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center cultivates, presents and preserves Puerto Rican and Latino/multicultural work in its Lower East Side home. The center promotes artists and performance events that reflect the cultural diversity of its location. Named for a poet, journalist, and activist, the building fulfills the passions of Clemente Soto Vélez, who founded literary and community organizations, with a specific emphasis on community empowerment. The building that houses such performances and community connectivity was formerly P.S. 160, at 107 Suffolk Street.

Around the corner at 100 Norfolk Street, JMH Acquisitions will be constructing a glass, cantilevered condominium building that will be a neighbor to Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center. Douglas Elliman Real Estate has been tasked with selling the building’s units. Established in 1911, Douglas Elliman is the region’s largest real estate company and the fourth largest in the nation, primarily operating in New York and South Florida, and has a vast international presence in over 43 countries across six continents.

 

After corresponding with Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center a few years ago to inquire about development plans for their parking lot, JMH Acquisitions discovered that Clemente Soto Vélez Center was not just another Lower East Side building, but rather a historic location and a vibrant community center. After touring the building, Ariel Tirosh of Douglas Elliman was eager to partner with the organization in a way that benefited both parties. Tirosh identified Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center’s parking lot as the perfect location for a satellite “display gallery” in which to showcase the upcoming 100 Norfolk condominium. The gallery will be housed within a custom–made, geodesic dome, 44 feet in diameter and 22 feet high, creating an architecturally dramatic space that will attract potential condominium buyers. This weatherproof and temperature-regulated structure will serve as a sales office for 100 Norfolk, and will provide potential buyers with a depiction of the neighborhood as a future home. It will also be used by Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center as an additional space for seated dinners and cultural events.Tirosh believes the partnership “reflects very well on [reasons for] developers to show interest in the community, and to work towards benefitting the community while conducting business in the neighborhood. It is very human to improve the neighborhood while developing real estate.” While using the parking lot space, JMH Acquisition also plans to renovate Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center’s fence and first-floor restroom facilities, a space their clients will be using. Once all units are sold, the geodesic dome will be left to Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center. In total, the remodeling services and dome donation will make an overwhelming difference to the organization.

Jan Hanvik, executive director of Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center, is particularly excited about the dome acquisition, since the dome will bolster their presentation of dance and music performances as well as the visual art and theater performances for which Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center is perhaps best known. Hanvik sees the dome as a way to create “possible demand and appeal for the neighborhood, as community members have already approached the center about using the dome for fundraisers and community events.” There is a high demand for space for arts activities, and the dome will provide more opportunities for the center to expand its programs and increase venue rentals.

Both Ariel Tirosh of Douglas Elliman and Jan Havik of Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center have discovered a way to beautify the neighborhood, develop the community, and increase their audiences by strategically implementing this win-win partnership.

 

Do you know of or have an arts-business partnership in NYC? We'd love to hear about it and share it with our local and national audiences. Send us your stories!

Arts Brookfield "Canstructs" a pARTnership for a Cause

Posted by Alexa Mirvis
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This Wednesday marks the end of New York’s 21st annual Canstruction® exhibition and food drive. Organized by the Canstruction® charity in partnership with Arts Brookfield, teams of architects, contractors and engineers designed and constructed sculptures from unopened canned food items during the two-week competition. The can sculptures were then placed on display at Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan, headquarters to property owner, manager and developer Brookfield Office Properties, with several satellite sculptures (winners of last year’s competition) reconstructed in two Brookfield properties in midtown Manhattan. (Photo credit: A 2012 audience favorite, "CAN on the Moon," rebuilt at Brookfield Properties' 245 Park Avenue.)

 

Among the twenty-six creative sculptures "canstructed" this year were “The LoCANess Monster” by structural engineering firm Robert Silman Associates and the sphinx-like “Patience & Fortitude” by WJE Engineers & Architects. A complete list and photographs of the sculptures can be found on Arts Brookfield’s Facebook page.

 

In addition to creating their own sculptures, the design teams also dedicated time to mentor students involved in the competition. 

 

When the installations are dismantled later this week, the cans will be donated to City Harvest, a food rescue organization dedicated to feeding hungry New Yorkers. Last year’s exhibition resulted in a donation of over 50,000 pounds of non-perishable food items. Organizers hope to top that number this week.

 

Visitors to Brookfield Place are encouraged to bring a canned food donation and to vote for their favorite sculptures online after their visit. The winner will be submitted to the International Canstruction® Competition in the spring of 2014. (Photo credit: Jefferson Memorial "canstructed" at Brookfield Properties' Grace Building in midtown Manhattan.)

 

For more information on the 21st Annual Canstruction® at Brookfield Place, visit CanstructionNY.org. To see the full array of participatory arts partnerships Arts Brookfield has to offer, visit ArtsBrookfield.com.

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