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September 16, 2021

Summer 2021 Project Roundup: Openings, Awards, and On the Boards

  • The cabins at this new Catskills retreat were manufactured offsite to minimize ecological disturbances. Photo credit: Garrison Architects.
  • This project adaptively reused and modernized a 1930s Art Deco courthouse annex in downtown Visalia. Photo credit: Cory Media Group.
  • The backbone of Adam Pendleton's "Who Is Queen?" exhibition consists of three 60-foot-tall wooden towers.
  • Modifications to the original Neilson structure accommodate an oculus that suffuses natural light into the interior. Photo credit: Nic Lehoux.
  • Key features of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library project include new book stacks and a vertical addition with an occupiable terrace.


Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle’s transformation of the Mid-Manhattan Library looks easy (Architect's Newspaper, 9/21/2021) – One of the signature features of this renovation project is the Long Room, which contains the library stacks and a triple-height atrium.  Silman replaced two floor slabs on the building’s east side with four new framing levels for the stacks.

Adam Pendleton Is Rethinking the Museum (New York Times, 9/10/21) – Located in the Museum of Modern Art’s vast main atrium, the backbone of the “Who Is Queen?” exhibition consists of three 60-foot-tall wooden towers. Working with small member sizes and limited space for connections, Silman collaborated with the architect and artist to design a structure that is completely integrated with the show’s aesthetic, supporting artwork, lighting, and a large projection screen. This project also employed modular construction: each towering grid consists of 20 individual units that were fabricated offsite.

Visual arts center mixes materials expertly (ASCE Civil Engineering Magazine, 9/1/21) – Silman designed the elevated superstructure of this new building with light braced frame and moment frame hybrid elements that are concealed within interior partition walls. These truss-frames, which are supported on interior concrete cores and cantilever from perimeter concrete walls, allow the interior to be entirely column free. This project has a LEED Gold certification goal.

Everyone Is Flocking to the Catskills to Book a Stay at Piaule (Architectural Digest, 7/30/21) – The main house at this new retreat is a 3,200 sf wood-framed building with supplemental structural steel to support longer spans. A 3,000 sf spa concealed within the hillside below features saunas, pools, and a green roof. The wooden structures of the project’s 24 modular cabins were manufactured offsite and craned into place to minimize ecological disturbances.

RAMSA’s New Affordable and Supportive Housing Fulfills Need in East Brooklyn (Architectural Record, 7/29/21) – This new 115,000 sf building contains 125 units for homeless and low-income individuals and families. The structural design, which uses precast hollow-core floor planks and reinforced concrete block walls, required MTA approval due to its adjacency to elevated subway tracks. At the ground level, 3,000 sf of retail space supports the ongoing development of a Livonia Avenue retail corridor.

SO–IL’s Brooklyn Amant Foundation art campus embraces idiosyncrasies of clay and cement brick (Architect's Newspaper, 7/16/2021) – Mostly constructed of cast-in-place concrete, this new multi-building campus in East Williamsburg totals 21,000 sf and houses the foundation headquarters, studio residences, exhibition galleries, art storage, and a contemporary performance hall and media space. Silman worked with the architect to develop a hidden mounting system for the facade components.

Smith College’s newly renovated Neilson Library honors its past as it moves into the future (BD+C, 7/9/21) – This $120 million project renovated the existing 1909 masonry bearing wall building and introduced two “jewel box” additions to the north and south. To meet lateral retrofit requirements, Silman inserted new steel braced frames just inside the existing masonry bearing walls. Despite the increase in interior floor area, the project team managed to decrease the building’s footprint by about 25%, returning lost green space to the adjacent grounds in deference to Frederick Law Olmsted’s original 1893 design.

A Glowing Shrine to the Printed Word (New York Times, 7/4/21) – To create one of this large-scale project’s signature features, an open atrium adjacent to the library stacks, Silman replaced two floor slabs on the building’s east side with four new framing levels. The firm’s engineers also designed reinforcements of the existing roof framing to support a new three-story vertical addition that features an events center and an occupiable terrace.

Historic Washington, D.C., library gets a makeover (ASCE Civil Engineering Magazine, 7/1/21) – Silman provided comprehensive structural engineering services to revitalize a 1972 Modernist landmark originally designed by Mies van der Rohe. Two monumental stairs within existing cores provide access between the first below-grade level and the existing roof. New double-height spaces for a reading room and 289-seat auditorium required extensive removal of existing framing. The project team arranged the heaviest areas of the new landscaped roof terrace to minimize costly reinforcements.



Darling Hotel wins 2021 California Preservation Foundation Preservation Design Award for Rehabilitation – This project renewed a significant part of downtown Visalia’s history by adaptively reusing and modernizing a 1930s Art Deco courthouse annex, transforming it into a boutique hotel while celebrating and preserving its historic character. The project team carefully restored the exterior facades and seamlessly inserted a new stair tower.

Trinity Church Wall Street wins 2021 ENR New York Regional Award, Merit, Renovation/Restoration – Work on this extensive restoration project consists of interior renovations, circulation improvements, and a new glass and steel canopy structure on the historic structure’s south terrace to protect church processions from the elements. Silman’s scope includes new steel lintels at new and enlarged masonry wall openings, a LULA lift and other modifications for ADA compliance, and support for new MEP equipment.



Legendary New York arts center The Kitchen announces an expansive renovation (Architect's Newspaper, 9/17/2021) – The Kitchen has announced plans to renovate its Chelsea facility, a three-story former icehouse at 512 West 19th Street that suffered significant flood damage during Superstorm Sandy. Improvements to the building will include enhanced accessibility and modern infrastructure. There will also be new spaces for artist residences, a gallery, and a rooftop terrace. Silman is providing structural design services for modifications to accommodate new layouts, floor openings, and live loads.

Gansevoort Peninsula Park Steadily Takes Shape Along West Village Waterfront (New York YIMBY, 9/8/21) – Construction is underway along the Hudson River to adaptively reuse a municipal parking lot within a FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) to create a new 5.5-acre public park and Manhattan’s first public beach. Silman is designing an open-air canopy structure that will shade enclosed structures housing restrooms, storage, and concessions. The canopy structure will consist of a reinforced cast-in-place concrete slab supported by concrete-filled steel columns.

Work begins on the Palmer Museum of Art’s new Allied Works-designed home at Penn State (Architect's Newspaper, 7/30/21) – Ground has also broken on Penn State’s new 70,000 sf Palmer Museum of Art, which will nearly double the museum's current gallery space once complete. The building will be organized as two wings of interlocking pavilions connected by an enclosed second story skybridge. Silman is designing a steel-framed superstructure due to the material’s relatively high span-to-weight ratio and ease of future modifications. This ongoing project has a LEED certification goal.

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