Explore: An Eye Opening Weekend at Open House New York 2016

This past weekend, we had a chance to visit some interesting sites as part of Open House New York Weekend.  The initiative opens the doors to some of New York's iconic buildings, new sites and up and coming spaces.  It's a mixed of old, new, residential, industrial, and contemporary spaces showing how architecture, sustainability and urban design come together to evoke what it means to be in New York City: unique, vibrant and full of surprises.

This was our first time attending and a little late to the game.  Half of the sites require reservation and are very popular so were sold out quickly.  Head to http://www.ohny.org to check out some of the sites. 

Here's what we checked out.  We started out in Brooklyn, then to Manhattan.  This is a free event.  Many of the places are accessible via public transportation. We focused on unique places built with sustainability in mind. There are plenty of options though if your interest lie in history, art deco or technology.  It begs you to start a conversation about architecture, public space, and the future of urban life.





This is a building in progress in Greenpoint, Brooklyn that will be home for designers to develop, work and play.  Currently, it is a construction site.  Going into the site, you notice right away the light that comes in from all directions.  It is a former bread warehouse and they have kept the major structure of the building, keeping it one level, but adding a lot of large windows and skylights. 

One of the guides at the OHNY described a little bit of the philosophy and the desire to keep the integrity of the building. The bricks outside are reused from other parts of the building.  You can tell from the various colors from a once graffiti outer wall.  It will be the home of future classrooms, a restaurant, a place to hang out, an incubator, a teaching lab and so many other possibilities I'm sure.   I love that they are reusing some of the old materials and using windows for more lighting which I am sure will reduce energy expenditure.

Architects: nARCHITECTS


Lift/Next Level Floats



Our next stop was a flotation therapy in Carroll Gardens Brooklyn.  First of all, what a cool concept.  I've been getting into mindful meditation and this space totally intrigued me. 

Flotation therapy takes the body into a gravity free, distraction free state allowing your mind and your body to go into a new state of being.  "Floating is also known as R.E.S.T. or Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy. The perfect acronym for what all of our bodies need from time to time."

You wouldn't know that such a place exists on the busy Court Street.  The therapy center sits a top a busy bar, but you cannot hear a thing once you are inside.  It was designed with heavy insulation to keep the noise out, especially the machine noise that processes and cleans the tanks.  The architects kept and exposed the bricks and created a nice living room space for you to come into after your therapy.  Instead of getting pushed out into the busy world, you can relax and reacquaint yourself slowly in the relaxing living room where textures abound from brick walls to 100% wool covers to soft lighting. 

Personally, I would love to do this one day.  See what it feels like to not be distracted by anything at all and really take in the space.  This could be an excellent experience gift. (hint, hint)

Architects:  590BC


The Lowline Lab



This Lowline Lab is home to the experiments, testing and discovery of what will be the world's first underground park.  The plan is to utilize underground space from a former trolley line into a green park complete with plants and powered by a unique solar technology that funnels light into what would normally be a dark, deserted space.  The project is another way to reclaim unused city space into something to be enjoyed by everyone, from commuters to visitors.

The current Lowline Lab is home to a small area of growing and thriving plants and trees.  It's a fascinating way to reuse old space and funnel a renewable resource into a concentrated place.  The project itself is also engaging nearby schools on building and designing sustainably.

The Lowline is currently in negotiations with the MTA and the city of New York, but plans are to have it completed by 2021.


Azul Rooftop Bar at the Hugo Hotel



Last stop on our tour was rooftop bar in Soho.  A little departure from the first 3 sites we visited.  This space has 360 views of New York city.  It is also the perfect spot to watch the sunset.  The glow of the lowering sun and the reflections over the Hudson make for a wonderful ambiance.

It has a cool vibe that is representative of Havana.  A good way to end our tour of new and cool New York city spots. Check it out for a drink or two.

Interior Designers: Stonehill & Taylor


I look forward to visiting more sites next year.  I'm especially interested in viewing a lot of the rooftop gardens that have been popping up in New York City.  In a bustling city, it's nice to see architecture and design moving towards sustainability and green living.  There's so much opportunity to design with humans and the environment in mind.  There's also somuch history and getting a chance to look behind the walls is a pretty exclusive opportunity especially for a city as diverse as New York.

Mark your calendars for next year's Open House New York.

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