As previously noted, the developers of Essex Crossing will unveil final renderings this week for the first buildings on the former Seward Park urban renewal site (SPURA). It will be the clearest indication yet that the large residential and commercial project is going forward after almost a half-century of contentious debate on the Lower East Side. But even today there is no shortage of opinions about what should happen. One new opportunity to explore the issues around SPURA is coming up this spring. A local architect, David Bench, will be teaching a class beginning next month called, “Lower East Side Architecture: Re-Design Essex Crossing.” It’s offered through the The School of Making Thinking and will take place at Abrons Arts Center Feb. 3-March 31. Here’s the course description:
This course will look critically at the pending development in the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) at Essex Crossing and guide participants to the formation of their own unique vision for the site. Each student will design their own alternative proposal for Essex Crossing which will begin with design research techniques such as site visits, historical and sociological research and interviews with stakeholders but move quickly into massing and site design. The challenge of design is in synthesizing complex issues into a set of forms- and should be fun! The goal of the course is to produce innovative schemes that interrogate the prerogatives of the current development. Models, hand drawing, and rendering techniques will be utilized (no prior experience necessary).
Click here for more information. Bench works for Selldorf Architects and with the non-profit collaborative inca.org. He is a graduate of the University of Texas and Yale University.