Open House New York (OHNY) promotes broad, unparalleled access to the city—to the places, people, projects, systems, and ideas that define New York and its future. Every October, OHNY Weekend takes center stage. This annual festival opens the doors to hundreds of significant places across NYC to deepen the public’s understanding of how design can strengthen communities. This year, OHNY Weekend turned 20, and Dattner Architects was proud to participate in this milestone celebration with tours at Manhattan Districts 1/2/5 Garage, Spring Street Salt Shed, Chestnut Commons, and Riverbank State Park.
M125 Garage & Salt Shed
On October 22, Principals Paul Bauer and Gia Mainiero led tours at M125 Garage and Salt Shed alongside members of NYC’s Department of Sanitation. A staple site during each OHNY Weekend, these critical civic architecture buildings remain popular with OHNY visitors. The in-person tours included discussions about the design and construction of both buildings, the difficulties of safely storing 5,000 pounds of corrosive material, and addressing the community’s previous concerns about safety and aesthetics.
“Like many of the OHNY attendees, this was also my first chance to get a glimpse into the celebrated work that allows our city to support its essential functions. Hearing firsthand from the users of the space and seeing our design in action was an opportunity that underscored the importance of the work we do every day and how it contributes to a better NYC.” — Gabriella Orsi, Dattner Architects’ Designer and first time OHNY Weekend volunteer
Chestnut Commons recently opened their doors to the community this year, and we were happy to provide behind-the-scenes access to OHNY visitors. One of the first developments stemming from the East New York Neighborhood Plan, Chestnut Commons is a new Passive House, mixed-use development providing affordable housing, a community center, and retail space. Principal John Woelfling and Senior Associates Keith Engel and David Levine led visitors through the residential lobby and up to the roof, stopping at the second floor roof terrace and some apartments along the way. The group also went to the community center, learning about the rich array of programming the center offers including a satellite campus for CUNY Kingsborough Community College, a construction-oriented job training center, gym, café, and a food manufacturing incubator that also provides culinary training. Visitors on the tours also heard from two of our clients, MHANY Management and Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation.
Riverbank State Park
For the second year in a row, our founder Richard Dattner led OHNY visitors through Riverbank State Park—NYC’s first public green roof, and one of the largest still today. Richard was joined on the tours by Leslie Wright, NYC Regional Director for New York State’s Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. Together, Richard and Leslie discussed Riverbank’s inception, design, and construction as well as the critical importance of creating public open space accessible to all.
“It was a remarkable opportunity to tour the park with Richard, hear his stories dating back to the very early days of the park as a community ideal, and together witnessing how the extraordinary park has aged and accommodated a glorious variety of community programs and recreation opportunities for all these past nearly 30 years. Looking at the park’s past, present, and future is a testament to Riverbank’s original design success.” — Leslie Wright, New York State Office of Parks’ NYC Regional Director