In New York City, the work of big-name architects isn't solely limited to expensive condos or supertall skyscrapers. Many of these starchitects have also worked on decidedly less sexy projects that benefit the city's infrastructure, from subway stations to recycling centers to monolithic 911 call centers. And while these projects may not generate the same buzz as, say, the city's tallest skyscraper, they're no less essential to how NYC functions on a daily basis. (Calatrava's World Trade Center hub is, obviously, an exception to this, but we can't not include it.) More than a dozen of these infrastructure projects are mapped below, and if we've missed something, let us know in the comments or hit the tipline.Read More
Map: Starchitects' Cool and Confounding NYC Infrastructure Projects
WTC Transportation Hub
Santiago Calatrava's $4 billion 'glorious boondoggle' is the most expensive train station ever, and it'll finally open to the public in March. The complex includes a PATH station, a shopping mall, and a connection to 11 NYC subway stations; it's topped with the Spanish starchitect's Oculus, meant to resemble a bird in flight.
Moynihan Train Hall
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has been working on the master plan for Penn Station's revamp for decades, and the latest iteration—announced last month as part of Governor Cuomo's state of the state address—includes designs for both the train station and the Farley Post Office across the street. The design features airy glass arches that evoke the grand design of McKim, Mead and White's old Penn Station.
Public Safety Answering Center II
SOM is also behind the design for this Bronx building, which serves as a call center for the city's 911 operators. The design is intentionally rather bunker-like (it has to be blast-resistant, with few windows), but the architects tried to make it aesthetically appealing. To that end, they added "a serrated facade made of recycled aluminum, providing both dynamism and asymmetry."
Spring Street Salt Shed
Dattner Architects went literal with the design for the Spring Street Salt Shed: it's inspired by the shape of a grain of salt, the material it's purpose-built to hold. The 425,000-square-foot building can also accommodate 150 sanitation trucks, along with a bevy of workers.
DSNY Manhattan 1/2/5 Garage
Right next door to the Salt Shed is the Department of Sanitation's garage for districts 1, 2, and 5 (not-so-affectionately nicknamed the Tower O' Garbage). Despite what it holds—trash—the building itself, also designed by Dattner (in collaboration with WXY), is rather pretty, and provides a minimalist complement to the adjacent salt storage space. [Photo via NYC Department of Design and Construction/Flickr]
NYPD 40th Precinct
Danish wunderkind Bjarke Ingels will collaborate with the DDC on one of its forthcoming projects: Building a new headquarters for the NYPD's 40th Precinct, to the tune of $50 million. The 43,500-square-foot facility sort of resembles a stack of bricks, and will have LEED silver certification when it's completed.
Sunset Park Materials Recycling Facility
Though she's better known for her cultural contributions and condo buildings, Annabelle Selldorf is also behind a recycling facility in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The eco-friendly facility is made from recycled steel, and holds a learning center and three reefs. It opened in 2013. [Photo by Field Condition]
FDNY Fire Rescue 2
Chicago architect Jeanne Gang will design a 20,000-square-foot FDNY facility in Brownsville, Brooklyn, which will function as a training center for "an elite force of firefighters and specialized rescue workers." The building certainly looks like a firehouse—it has red accents and the typical sign above the entrance—but has a far more open feel than you'd expect from a traditional hook-and-ladder. [Image via Studio Gang]
Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
Also known as the Poo Pods (or the slightly saliter Shit Tits), the Greenpoint waste management plant was designed by Ennead Architects. (And those big silver blobs are actually called "digester eggs," thank you.) Improbably, the municipal building has become an icon of the Brooklyn waterfront, and is even surrounded by a rather lovely nature walk. [Image by Victoria Belanger/Flickr]
New York City Police Academy
Perkins + Will crafted a new headquarters for the New York Police Department's police academy, which is set over 35 acres in College Point, Queens. The campus was designed to be eco-friendly, and there are artistic touches—light installations and the like—that make it stand apart from other, more drab police buildings.
34th St-Hudson Yards Subway Station
Yet another Dattner project, the 34th St-Hudson Yards subway stop is the 469th station in the New York City transit system. It's a wide, airy station, with plenty of visual cues to keep people moving, and an inclined elevator that ended up delaying its opening. [Photo by Max Touhey]
It only took 12 years for the Fulton Center subway station—located just blocks from Calatrava's flashier transportation hub—to open, providing an essential connection between several subway lines. The above-ground hub is topped with a 120-foot-tall open structure, designed by Grimshaw, which lets light into the station. [Photo by Mike McCaughlin Photo/Flickr]
LaGuardia Airport Revamp
The master plan for revamping LaGuardia Airport—a much-needed process that will take years—incorporates ideas from Dattner, SHoP, and PRESENT Architecture.