Daily digest: L.A. fast food joints with minimal makeovers, New York City launches environmental justice report and database, and more

“Getting Stuff Done”

Daily digest: L.A. fast food joints with minimal makeovers, New York City launches environmental justice report and database, and more

Happy almost Friday! Here is a round up of some of some of the latest and greatest, in the opinion of our editors, architecture and design news, including an NFT collection designed with the metaverse in mind, the renovation of fast food restaurants in L.A., and new bike lanes in New York City.

Former fast food restaurants become local food joints in California

In Southern California a number of fast food chains of hunger past have closed up shop, leaving their recognizable architectural masterpieces, synonymous with the burgers, hot dogs, and other greasy grub they cook, empty, but not for long. In a growing trend, local restaurateurs are buying up and moving into the bygone buildings, often leaving the notable architectural features and swapping out only the menu offerings and branding.

Examples include several Wienerschnitzel locations—Alpine-style huts that once dished out sausages—now serving everything from Brazilian steaks to boba tea. An article published by Eater lists several of these conversions in and around Los Angeles, including a former KFC that creatively refashioned the large chicken basket sign into a coffee cup.

H/t to Eater

PLP Architecture announces it will launch an NFT collection

PLP Architecture’s research and innovation team and metaverse platform VerseProp are partnering on a project which will allow Internet users the ability to purchase a non-fungible token (NFT) of a concept skyscraper building. The London-based architect firm has designed work for the digital collection in hopes to understand, and establish, the relationship between architecture and the metaverse.

“[The project] raises key questions such as: Can design services be tokenized or distributed through smart contracts? To what extent is the Metaverse a space for real-world designers?” PLP Architecture said in a project description.

Sales will officially launch this summer when the digital work is available for purchase on the blockchain. For updates on the project and its development
check out VerseProp and PLP Architecture on social media.

Buro Happold partners with New York City to design a portal for reporting environmental injustices

Engineering firm Buro Happold and urban design nonprofit Hester Street will team up with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice on a report and data portal that will map locations across the city where policy, infrastructure, and investments negatively impact the community.

The portal, which will be available to the public online, was designed in response to Local Laws 60 and 64, environmental justice legislation passed in 2017.

“The Environmental Justice for All report and data portal is a critical step in assessing the cumulative impacts of environmental hazards on communities of color and low-income communities, and identifying the City of New York’s contributions to environmental justice,” said Chris Rhie, Associate Principal at Buro Happold.

More information about the new program can be found online.

New bike lanes and green space unveiled for New York City’s Hudson Square

In other New York news, earlier this week the Hudson Square Business Improvement District (BID) unveiled the newly renovated Hudson Street streetscapes. The $13 million project was completed using primarily minority- and women-owned businesses. It will add dedicated bike lanes, bike parking spaces, new seating areas, over 8,000 square feet of green space, and over 2,000 square feet for sidewalk cafes.

At the unveiling this week Mayor Eric Adams spoke about the project and the impact it will have on the community. The project is a component of a larger scheme to redevelop Manhattan’s former Printing District, south of Houston Street and east of Canal Street.

The project is a full team effort between the Hudson Square Business Improvement District, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), and the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT).

“With this partnership, our city and our community are working together to make New York City safer, cleaner, and greener,” said Mayor Adams. “This project has transformed Hudson Street into a model of urban design — securing roadway space for cyclists, enhancing the pedestrian environment, and unlocking public space. We are taking the dream of a livable and sustainable city and turning it into reality, making major investments in safety on our streets and in the quality of life that draws so many people to live and work in New York City. That’s what we call ‘Getting Stuff Done.’”

Engineering giant Page buys EYP in $70 million deal

There’s a new “powerhouse firm” in town: After filing for bankruptcy in April, it looks like architecture and design firm EYP, Inc. has joined forces with global architecture and engineering firm Page. After Page purchased EYP in a $70.4 million acquisition, the new combined firm is now over 1,300 employees strong with offices across the U.S., Latin America, and the Middle East.

The joining of the two architecture-giants means that Ault Alliance, Inc., a branch of Bitcoin mining company BitNile, will not acquire EYP after all.

“Bringing together our two firms allows us to work on increasingly complex projects that benefit from our expertise across disciplines and market sectors,” stated Page Chief Executive Officer Thomas McCarthy. Both firms boast impressive portfolios featuring large projects in diverse sectors, from academic to cultural to civic.

Such sentiments were echoed by Kef Mason, who served as interim chief executive officer at EYP: “Combining our expertise is a winning formula for our clients and our employees. It offers us the ability to provide growth, mentorship, and training for our employees that translates to cutting-edge design in our projects. This agreement supports the natural growth trajectories and strategic vision for both firms by unifying our efforts to benefit our clients and staff.”