Highlights of 2015

It’s been a busy year for us at Edelman Sultan Knox Wood / Architects! We broke ground on several projects, renovated our office, received some awards, completed a few projects, and gained two new team members.

In short, it seems like an appropriate time for a highlight reel of 2015.

Hour Apartment House III Won a Silver Brick In Architecture Award

ESKW/A’s second project for Hour Children, Hour Apartment House III, was completed in 2014 and was well-received by the Brick Industry Association this year. It was gratifying for the project team, headed up by Fialka, to see their attention to brick detailing garner this recognition.

4380 Bronx Boulevard also received a Boston Society of Architects Award and a Silver Medal of Honor from the Society of American Registered Architects, while New Settlement Community Campus collected an Excellence Award from the Center for Active Design.

True Colors Bronx Opened Its Doors

With much celebration, especially from True Colors’ exuberant patron Cyndi Lauper, our second project for West End Residences was completed in September. The 7-story supportive housing building offers 30 efficiency apartments to formerly homeless LGBT youths. Read more here.

ESKW/A Took a Field Trip to the Aquarium

Following the topping out ceremony earlier this year, ESKW/A toured the WCS’s Ocean Wonders: Sharks! at the NY Aquarium construction site and enjoyed one of the last summer days by the ocean in Coney Island. Project team Cary, Carlos, Martin, Michael, and Fialka gave a detailed behind the scenes look at the project. ESKW/A are Architects of Record for the new Sharks! exhibition building, which is anticipated to open in 2017.

1066-1070 Myrtle Avenue, 1561 Walton Avenue, and 233 Landing Road Broke Ground

Much of our staff was also busy this past fall celebrating exciting developments in several other large projects, as these three new buildings kicked into the construction phase. Be sure to check back on the blog and our website this year as we continue to post progress photos.

We Revamped Our Office, and Welcomed Carlos and Andrea

After more than 10 years in our space at 100 Lafayette, and with a growing number of employees to seat, the ESKW/A offices recently underwent a transformation.

We opened up the space by removing the low partitions dividing our stations, and installed a continuous work surface.  The new U-shaped desktops with shared side tables allow for easier collaboration — not to mention increased elbow and breathing room.

Partners Randy Wood and Andrew Knox have always preferred spacial equality in the workplace and an open office design to foster sharing of information.  Our open plan has proven itself over the past decade as a bright and airy use of our high-ceilinged corner suite, maximizing the natural light from our windows looking out on Chinatown and NYC.

ESKW/A also grew by 2 persons this year. We were happy to welcome Carlos and Andrea to the team! Carlos is working on Ocean Wonders: Sharks!, and Andrea is managing our Site 7 project for Clinton Housing Development Company and is part of the team working a new school addition for the NYCSCA.

ESKW/A: Spooky Talented

As promised, here are the results of our spookfest last Friday.  ESKW/A proved to be quite adept and eager pumpkin sculptors – we produced 4.25 carved beauties, including a lovely ‘Slasher’ A. Check us out:

Pool Party: Renovating the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club

ESKWA Madison Pool 1

Not long ago, the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club reached out for a redesign of their indoor community pool at the Thomas S. Murphy Clubhouse, in Flatbush, Brooklyn.  The existing natatorium is original to the 1920’s building and is in need of an update – including re-shaping and re-finishing the pool, renovation of the girls’ locker rooms, and providing a lobby for spectators.

ESKW/A render and plan

ESKW/A render and plan

Inspired by both the historic nature of the building and the work of the Club, we aimed to blend traditional and modern design influences, and most of all to showcase the heart of the Club – the kids themselves.  Our design includes a monochromatic glass tile mosaic commencing in the Pool Lobby and extending 90’ along the length of the pool room which would depict underwater swimming children. To that end, the Club along with Owner’s Representative LOM Properties organized a photoshoot with New York photographer Hatim, using 2 swim teams of about 30 children altogether. The images of the children will be used in the mosaic truly capturing the motion of the club kids for posterity in the pool room.

Annie Kountz, Project Architect, describes the experience:

The Boys & Girls Club is such an inspiring place. It provides both a haven and a fun place for kids. The skills and confidence that they gain by learning to swim or play basketball enhances their lives, and sets up good healthy life skills for the future, too.

I think what is so special about Madison is that it believes in the inherent goodness in everyone. It believes that ALL kids, no matter what their race, religion, or creed, deserve the opportunities to reach their full potential. The Club provides classes in art, fitness, recreation, health, leadership, parenting, and life skills.  Madison gives thousands of kids a place to go after school. It provides a safe place to learn and grow.  It gives positive adult role models, and most of all I think it gives hope and opportunity.

The project has been meaningful to me personally because I was a Boys & Girls Club kid.  I loved it! I played in Boys & Girls Clubs basketball leagues for years. It wasn’t just an alternative to daycare to keep me busy while my dad worked multiple jobs—it taught me about perseverance and hard work and it gave me lifelong friends.

The Boys & Girls Club in general is such an amazing organization, but what I think makes the pool renovation particularly special is the giant mosaic. The kids were so, so excited about it!  It must mean so much to them that THEY are on the WALL! The kiddos will be edified on a GIANT 10’x100’ wall.  We went through loads of iterations for the tile and wall designs.  For a while we considered a giant Olympic swimmer, but doing a big mosaic of the members themselves is in perfect keeping with the mission of the Club. It tells the kids that they are special and heroic.  They all felt like super heroes! And that was the energy and level of excitement at the photoshoot. The kids had a great time and the photos turned out great.          

Below, we invite you to enjoy the results of what turned out to be a very energetic, fun, and successful day. And please stay tuned to watch these images be transformed into the final mosaic design and then ultimately get built at the Club early next year.