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Feature Stories
Best Of 2010 Best Of 2010
One thing we’ve come to expect every year when it comes to our annual, year-end “Best Of” competition is that it’s nearly impossible to make any assumptions or predictions as to the outcome.

Michel Abboud: Designer of Park51 Michel Abboud: Designer of Park51
Amid the controversy surrounding Park51, the Muslim community center and worship space in Lower Manhattan labeled the “Ground Zero Mosque” by its opponents, the young New York-based firm SOMA Architects last week quietly unveiled designs for the new 15-story building. “I think the location of the center has been overexposed and overrated,” says Michel Abboud, principal at SOMA.

Image courtesy of SOMA Architects

11/01/10 Just the Basics

Funding sources and government programs are moving towards requiring green certification or mandating sustainable features for affordable housing grants. Developers are gaining a deeper...
11/01/10 Livable City

New York is a center of commerce, a hubbub of construction activity, even in difficult economic times, but it’s also home to millions of people. Mindful of residents and the city’s visitors, the New York Building...
11/01/10 Tall Order

Long before most people thought of green as anything other than a color, New York City began building sustainable buildings. Now the city is aiming to reduce its overall carbon footprint 30% by 2030 and for...
11/01/10 Sustainable Justice

Staten Island’s first new courthouse in more than 75 years, and the City’s first green courthouse, is rising in the St. George section of the borough.
11/01/10 Serious But Stable

The New York regional construction market’s dark journey since late 2008 has had its few bright spots – K-12 schools, higher education, massive ongoing transportation jobs – but few seemed as brilliant as...
10/01/10 William Rapetti Speaks

Lower Manhattan Starbucks would be the last place one would expect to find the man New York City prosecutors tried to portray as “Wild Bill Rapetti.”
10/01/10 Concrete Ceiling

“It’s not for girls.” That’s how Lenore Janis describes the reaction to her childhood interest in the family business.
10/01/10 Urban Upgrades

Aiming to grow to meet an increasing demand for higher education, New York City’s major universities are investing in substantial upgrades to their campuses.
10/01/10 Deal Builders

A year ago, signs of the construction market’s collapse were as clear as a crisp autumn day – backlogs were drying up, revenues were swept away, sputtering projects went dormant, and new work was nowhere on the bare landscape.
08/01/10 New York Region’s Top Specialty Contractor Rankings

EMCOR Group led all regional subcontractors in 2009, while public projects such as road, transit and infrastructure jobs have provided the most work for all specialty firms over the last year.
08/01/10 Downtown Moves: Construction At The World Trade Center

The headlines about the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site usually include “arbitration,” “notice of dispute,” and “finally started” — with only the occasional mention of any good news.
08/01/10 The Next Grand Central: Lower Manhattan’s First Major Commuter Rail Hub

When completed in 2014, the brand-new, $1.4 billion Fulton Street Transit Center will transform Lower Manhattan’s commuter rail traffic by creating a veritable “Grand Central Station” for the island’s southern tip.
08/01/10 Organized Chaos: Inside the Mind of the Puppet Master on the Country’s Biggest Job Site: Lower Manhattan

Inside the Mind of the Puppet Master on the Country’s Biggest Job Site: Lower Manhattan
08/01/10 Learning Curve: N.Y. Region’s K-12 School Market Tightens

Lower Manhattan, the City’s fastest growing residential neighborhood, is facing a shortage of classroom space.
08/01/10 Sustainable Campus: Battery Park City Sets High Bar for Urban K-12

It might be hard to believe, but there was a time when Skanska considered itself something of an unknown in the U.S. construction market.
08/01/10 Construction U: Construction Management Programs are Educating the Industry’s Next Generation of Leaders

Construction management educators listen to industry feedback, so they can better prepare students to assume positions of responsibility, and many firms offer guidance through internships and participation on advisory boards.
07/01/10 "Sleeping Giant"

It might be hard to believe, but there was a time when Skanska considered itself something of an unknown in the U.S. construction market.
07/01/10 NYC Underground

Tunnels have long snaked through the bedrock beneath New York, carrying people and water, but now the underground labyrinth is growing, with multiple projects under way.
07/01/10 Under Second Avenue

Beneath Second Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, a 485-ton monster is chewing its way through bedrock, mining tunnels for New York City’s first new subway line in 50 years.
07/01/10 A Different World

Almost a decade after the attacks of 9/11, much of the new World Trade Center site remains under construction, with signature pieces like the Freedom Tower, the Frank Gehry performing arts pavilion...
07/01/10 Long Road

Few projects last more than 40 years, but the New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s $6 billion, 60-mi City Water Tunnel No. 3, the largest project in the city’s history, has spanned more than...
07/01/10 Going Down

Building Information Modeling is not just for vertical construction. Tunneling projects implementing BIM are realizing benefits in planning, design and construction coordination.
06/01/10 High Tide for Unions

Following the November 2008 elections, hope ran high among national union bosses. Unprecedented political canvassing by union members helped shore up a victory for labor-friendly presidential...
06/01/10 Frank Gehry "Demystified"

A 70-story, folded, creased and curved stainless-steel curtain wall on an 867-ft-tall apartment building has been called "Gehry only on the outside," as if the building is a fake Frank.
06/01/10 Top Projects 2009
Looking back on 2009 there were a few reasons to smile. Despite a year that saw the industry’s new job rate fall to the lowest it has been in a decade, 2009 wasn’t all bad.
06/01/10 Signature Style

Grand plans for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center included a who's who of the architectural world: Daniel Libeskind on the site plan, Santiago Calatrava on the the transit hub, Richard Rogers and...
05/01/10 Industry Evolution

Just a decade ago green building was still on the fringes of the A/E/C communities. Some had bought into it, but, for the most part, “sustainability” and all of its surrounding buzzwords had yet to enter the...
05/01/10 Playing Small Ball

In a roaring development cycle, size is an edge. The construction company with a monster lineup of staff, resources, equipment, and experience nearly always has a jump snaring attractive projects...
05/01/10 Owner of the Year

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is finding itself in a unique situation these days.
05/01/10 Urban Greenery

Despite, or perhaps because of, the city’s density and relative proximity to a public park, walking is an almost extinct pastime in New York City.
04/01/10 Head Above Water

The construction market in North Jersey is not unlike most in the Tri-State region. Private jobs are hard to come by – and even harder to find – and most firms, large and small, find themselves pitted against...
04/01/10 Buffalo Roost

There is an old engineering adage that says you can’t have faster, better and cheaper all at the same time. Yahoo is out to prove this adage wrong with its new data center under construction in upstate NY.
04/01/10 Fit for Survival

The storm clouds over the New York region’s construction industry had formed in late fall 2009 as project backlogs emptied and new jobs were few on the horizon.
04/01/10 Emerging Sector

As the demand for information technology has exploded, so, too, has the need for data centers housing servers, storage devices and networking gear.
03/01/10 Greening an Icon: The Empire State Building

When the owners of the Empire State Building in 2007 decided to move forward with a new capital improvement plan, they were looking for standard improvements to get the building to Class A commercial status.
03/01/10 Above and Beyond

Hanging more than 200 ft over a jobsite in downtown Kansas City, Mo., James Hague doesn’t seem to notice the tiny people and equipment below his feet.
03/01/10 Ranking Efficiency

With new legislation passed in New York City late last year, all of New York’s buildings totaling more than 50,000 sq ft are required to submit to benchmarking and retro-commissioning, essentially putting those buildings’ efficiency ratings up against other buildings across the country.
03/01/10 Retrofitting Residential

Open windows in January are a just one sign of the energy inefficiencies that plague many multifamily buildings in urban areas.
03/01/10 Back to Schools

The financial meltdown and ensuing recession are forcing universities across the region to delay or scale back construction plans.
03/01/10 Rock U Still Growing

Rockefeller University in New York has undertaken multiple projects to enhance its research facilities and modernize its historic campus to attract distinguished faculty.
03/01/10 Green Crescent

Faced with a growing enrollment, Quinnipiac University is building a new $300 million, 250-acre residential campus in Hamden, Conn., to house more than 1,500 students.
03/01/10 Bright Spots in Connecticut

Overall, Connecticut construction activity remains slow, but there are some glimmers of hope for better times on the horizon.
03/01/10 Re-Imagined in New Haven

Developer Bruce Becker looked to the past to create his vision for 360 State Street, a cutting-edge green residential tower in downtown New Haven, Connecticut.
03/01/10 Capital Freeze

The words construction industry veterans are using to describe the state of project financing show how far the market has fallen since the 2008 economic crash.
01/01/10 2010 Local Industry Forecast

Several large public projects will continue to move forward in 2010, but with the economy still troubled and financial markets unyielding, private jobs are few. Yet they create opportunities for some firms as the industry right-sizes and moves forward.
01/01/10 Tracking Trash: Construction teams place higher importance on construction waste management

With the advent of LEED, construction managers are viewing the dumpster in a new light. Construction wastes, once relegated to landfills, are now recycled or reused to earn LEED credits and comply with sustainable construction initiatives.
01/01/10 National Outlook

Following three years of precipitous declines, the construction market may be eyeing a rebound in 2010 thanks to a much improved residential sector, but for designers and contractors in many other building sectors it may be too soon to celebrate.
01/01/10 Tri-State Stimulus Snapshots
In a year of so much doom and gloom, we look at three innovative stimulus projects that are employing hundreds of Tri-State workers.
12/01/09 Yankee Stadium - New York, N.Y.

It’s common for the New York Yankees to start the year with lofty expectations – a trip to the World Series is almost always a serious goal.
12/01/09 Hudson River PCBs Alternative Drinking Water Supplies - Upstate N.Y.
In order to maintain clean drinking water for Upstate New York communities whose system had long been polluted by a General Electric manufacturing plant, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was forced to look elsewhere.
12/01/09 Best Of 2009
No matter how you look at it, 2009 was a different kind of year.
11/01/09 New Life: An Oral History of the Industry’s Own Recovery Act

On May 29, using words like “historic” and “groundbreaking,” New York City’s Construction Industry Partnership between union labor and contractors announced a project labor agreement both sides said would breathe life into an industry that had begun to circle the drain.
11/01/09 Still Going Green

New starts are off, but many owners ready to move forward are still seeking greener structures.
11/01/09 The State of Green

McGraw-Hill Construction estimates that the value of green building construction starts grew five-fold from 2005 to 2008 and will more than double over the next five years reaching $96-140 billion in 2013.
11/01/09 Back To School

With growing interest in sustainability, greater numbers of people are recognizing the benefits of becoming a LEED AP certification, with 132,052 individuals having achieved the rank at the end of June, up from 77,689 at the end of 2008.
11/01/09 First Impressions

Changes in LEED version 3 also known as LEED 2009, are focusing project teams on strategies to save energy and water, reduce CO2 emissions and address issues impacting their region.
11/01/09 Sustainable Classic

The Empire State Building was a marvel when it debuted as the world’s tallest building in 1931. Built in 18 months, the 102-story building kicked off a race for urban construction heights that continues today.
10/01/09 Redrawn Landscape

The captains of architecture and engineering practices across the New York region were already enduring hard times in the past year, and didn’t need reminders of how bad things were.
10/01/09 No Longer Misunderstood Landscape Architects Enjoy Renaissance

Landscape architects are shaping the future of our cities as seen from the sidewalk – and the roof, and the internal courtyard and along the highway.
10/01/09 Market Report: Upstate New York

While the rest of the country percolated with construction activity before the recession hit, Upstate New York construction activity seemed to lag behind, but now technology companies have discovered its attributes and major state and federal projects dot the landscape.
10/01/09 ‘Right-Sizing’ Design
The long-term impact of recessions is often most evident on projects altered by the economic realities. The most obvious example in the New York region this year was Forest City Ratner’s decision not to have Gehry Partners of Los Angeles as master architect of its massive $4.9 billion Atlantic Yards complex.
10/01/09 A Chance to Rethink the Practice
The legacy of a recession on the design world is seldom evident while firms struggle through it. But there is potential for big changes in the disciplines. “In downturns, in recessions, even in the Great Depression, different ways of doing things emerged, says Rick Bell, executive director of the American Institute of Architects New York City chapter.
10/01/09 Not Just a Walk in the Park
The landscape architect on Brooklyn Bridge Park, which underwent 20 years of planning and advocacy before it started construction in 2007, is Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, a 20-year-old, Brooklyn-based firm with more 350 projects from Texas to Korea to their name.
10/01/09 Enter Technology
The biggest technological advances for landscape architects have come from the integration of the pen and pencil with the computer. Graphics programs have made presentations, and sharing plans, easier than ever, but the greatest new tools come in the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), allowing study of the work site long before an actual site visit.
10/01/09 Big Ideas

The University at Buffalo, a flagship institution of the State University of New York system, has embarked on a $360-million capital improvement program designed to prepare the school to serve more than 38,000 students by 2020.
09/01/09 World View

The Yellow Pages in Abu Dhabi and Dubai list quite a few familiar names: New York-region contractors, developers, architects, engineers, and project managers are all hanging shingles and winning assignments in one of the world’s busiest construction marketplaces.
09/01/09 Progress

Although controversy once again swirls around redevelopment of the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, both the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Silverstein Properties of New York report their projects are on schedule and progressing well.
09/01/09 3-D View

From its office overlooking the 16-acre World Trade Center site, the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center has a bird’s-eye view of the day-to-day progress of construction projects in and around the site.
09/01/09 Bidding Frenzy: Bidding Heats Up as Economy Cools

When the New York State Dept. of Transportation put together a needs analysis in early 2008, it based its projections on inflation rates from prior projects.
09/01/09 A Museum Worthy of Its Name: The Renovation of the Museum of the City of New York

New York City’s official chronicler on Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street was originally designed in 1929 as a grand mansion suitable for its subject matter.
08/01/09 Staying Afloat

During the economic recession, specialty contractors are being forced to do what they can to be more competitive and attractive to contractors. For some, that has meant upgrading skills, learning the latest about building information modeling and sustainability.
08/01/09 Come Down in Time

Fiterman Hall is finally coming down, and for the City University of New York and the Lower Manhattan community, the resulting hole in the ground will be a most welcome site.
08/01/09 Modeling Green

While building information modeling is fostering collaboration and improving efficiencies in sustainable design and construction, most experts across the A/E/C industry say it’s still a work in progress.
08/01/09 Exercise in Efficiency

The development of a 700,000-sq-ft LEED platinum Class A office tower currently in pre-construction in Trenton, N.J., is tied to the revitalization of the city, and the building’s green credentials are being achieved at a minimum of cost.
08/01/09 New Life

A nearly 7,000-ft-long railroad bridge is undergoing an extreme $35-million makeover over the Hudson River, thanks to hundreds of precast concrete panels, community zeal and the windblown determination of engineers and contractors.
07/01/09 Contractor of the Year

Overlooking the massive jobsite at 1 World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, Dan Tishman, dressed immaculately in a navy blue suit with a red and pink striped tie, stands watching the 300-plus construction workers scurrying around below him.
07/01/09 Two Weeks in the Life of Langan International’s George Leventis

The often-dangerous leap into international work was a work in progress for Langan Engineering & Environmental Services for more than a decade. And for George Leventis, it was a labor of love.
07/01/09 A Day in the Life of USGBCNY’s Russell Unger

Russell Unger, executive director of the New York Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, wants to make green building the norm in New York City.
07/01/09 A Day in the Life of ARUP Engineer Fiona Cousins

Fiona Cousins specializes in translating sustainability from an abstract idea into concrete solutions on the ground.
07/01/09 Generation Next

The Architecture, Construction and Engineering Mentor Program offers high-school students a chance to discover a range of opportunities in design and construction – and scholarships to help them achieve their goals.
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