February 23, 2009 (Vol. 9, No. 3)
'Viñoly in the Bronx' Opens in Art Gallery
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Grand Concourse, the Lehman College Art Gallery is hosting an exhibition, titled "Viñoly in the Bronx," from now through May 20. The installation highlights the Bronx building designs of famed architect Rafael Viñoly. Featured buildings include the Bronx County Hall of Justice, the Bronx Housing Court, and Lehman's APEX. On display will be drawings, photographs, planning documents, and a model of the APEX.
Located on 161st and 162nd Streets between Sherman and Morris Avenues, the Hall of Justice is a visually dynamic glass building where judicial transparency is not only a metaphor but also quite literal. With forty-seven courtrooms, seven grand jury rooms, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Probation, and the Bronx District Attorney's office, it is one of the largest courthouses in the country.
Lehman's APEX (Athletics and Physical Education Facility) forms the northern boundary of the campus and serves as a gateway to the College along "College walk," a tree-lined sidewalk that runs north to south through the campus.
The Bronx Housing Court at 118 Grand Concourse is one of the few contemporary buildings to appear on the avenue in an area known for its concentration of Art Deco and Art Moderne apartment buildings. Forced by a narrow site to rise considerably above the ordinary building line, it makes amends by trimming its southern wing to the height of an older six-story apartment house alongside, and tucking in its north frontage to match that of its other neighbor.
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Viñoly has lived in the United States for thirty years. He attended the University of Buenos Aires and by 1964, at the age of 20, he was a founding partner of Estudio de Arquitectura, which would become one of the largest design studios in Latin America. His early work transformed the landscape of Argentina, where his practice was based. After serving as a guest lecturer at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Viñoly settled in New York City.
In 1983, he founded Rafael Viñoly Architects PC, with offices in Lower Manhattan and London. The firm's work has been unusually diverse, including award-winning courthouses, museums, performing arts centers, convention centers, athletic facilities, banks, hotels, commercial, industrial and educational facilities, laboratories, and recreational and residential commissions.
The Lehman College Art Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, call 718-960-8731.