Cultural and Institutional Projects
Public Sector and Infrastructure Projects
Prototypes Regarding Technology and the City
Urban Master Planning
Radical Mixed Use
Transit-Oriented Office, Housing, Retail and Hotel
Public Space Design
Social Impact Projects
Strategic Advice and Advocacy
Establishing Overarching Project Narratives
Single-Family Suburban Homes
Suburban Subdivisions, Malls and Office Parks
Work for Autocratic/Dictatorial Nations
Work for Nations with Unacceptable Labor Practices
Work for Clients with Unacceptable Environmental Practices
Casinos / Facilities for Slot-Machine Gambling
Facilities that Manufacture Arms
For us architecture and urbanism are inextricable – the structure of city blocks, the use of ground floors, the intensity of infrastructure, the connections of public space, the extensive network of space, materials and systems that comprise architecture – these factors help determine whether a city is indeed the platform for a shared, vibrant and diverse culture that our times demand.
PAU therefore designs architecture that builds the physical, cultural, and economic networks of our cities, with an emphasis on beauty, function, and user experience. We seek out projects that celebrate the capacity of cities to delight. At the forefront of our process is a constant focus on the lived experience of our work, with the goal of uplifting both the inhabitants of our projects and the city’s passersby. The joy of architecture lies in its response to human agency, which is why the lasting use of our buildings and the degree to which they age thoughtfully in their context is central to our definition of success.
PAU simultaneously advances strategic urbanism projects, typically with an embedded architectural component, in the form of master planning, tactical project advice, and advocacy. In this capacity, we help clients plan and advocate for density and infrastructure where they belong at an urban scale, while helping to define, intensify and enhance the culture of the city at the architectural scale. Our team has unrivaled experience in implementing innovative plans, not just writing them. We work with our clients and the communities they serve to guide change as it occurs. Towards this end, we deploy our deep expertise working with government to obtain entitlements for projects we believe in, projects that help our cities grow in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sound.
We pride ourselves on guiding design projects from conceptualization to implementation, with a proven history of making the improbable possible. With our architectural commissions, planning projects, or in combination, our work aspires to be a form of built thought leadership, in which we hope to create tangible prototypes of how cities can and should evolve in response to the challenges before them. For this reason, we are as careful about the nature of the commissions we respectfully decline as we are about those we enthusiastically accept.
A Letter to Mayor De Blasio
Safe Spaces for Demonstration
New York City-Wide
In partnership with twelve other local architecture, urban planning and public space advocacy organizations, PAU helped draft a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio recommending seven actions the city can take to support and encourage demonstrations, political speech, and other expressions of civic engagement in the city’s public spaces. The letter emphasized the importance of both policy initiatives as well as the physical characteristics of public space in fostering an environment of free expression in the public realm. In addition to helping with the letter itself, PAU produced a series of maps analyzing the demographics around the nodes in new proposed network of protest sites in the five boroughs. The maps demonstrate accessibility of the network to a broad cross-section of New Yorkers, rather than relying solely on traditional, centrally-located sites like Union Square.
Safe Spaces for Demonstration
New York City-Wide
New York, NY
New York’s Pennsylvania Station is much more than a transit hub. It is the busiest transportation facility in the Western Hemisphere, it is at the heart of our city and region, and it is the lynchpin to reimagining its neglected surroundings. But beyond these significant concerns, Penn Station is also a symbol, from the extraordinary engineering feat it and its trans-Hudson tunnels represented in 1910, to the demolition of McKim, Mead & White’s beaux arts spectacle in the 1960s, to its future disposition in the coming years. Penn Station symbolizes, for good or bad, who we are as a society. Its future asks whether we still believe in the idea of the public, whether we believe in a shared civil society, whether we can still come together to imagine a future as collective as it is bright.
Our proposal imagines the station as a new public commons, a civic space both sober and soaring, an idea born out of architectural restraint during a time that asks us to do more with less. By proposing to recycle the superstructure and foundations of Madison Square Garden once the Garden has a beautiful new home 800′ away in the west end of the Farley building, our proposed station creates a grand commuter pavilion at minimal public cost and disruption. This new commuter pavilion reinforces other proposals for the area, including an Amtrak station in the east end of the Farley building, improved entrances and concourses to the north and west, and most importantly, the tracks and platforms proposed to be built to the south as part of the Gateway tunnel project. The definition of success is new capacity, a new station, and a new neighborhood.
Architecturally the proposal builds upon the palimpsest that is Penn, with layers of history revealed from McKim’s original balustrades, to the reuse of the original station’s mezzanine levels, to the reimagining of the Garden’s roof as a hovering mural of New York. Building upon the circular precedents of Philip Johnson’s New York State World’s Fair pavilion and Pan Am’s “Worldport” building at JFK, the structure of the Garden is reclad in a double-skin glass wall that transmits light but not heat. A sawtooth pattern in the glass picks up changes in light through the day, acting as a sundial for travelers as they ascend from the platforms. The station is passively heated and cooled, allowing for a 25′ high open entry threshold around the entire perimeter of the cylinder, which will enable far better emergency egress. Blast proof glass will protect the new station, and smoke can be purged quickly through the oculus in the ceiling in the event of a fire.
Beyond the specifics of the building however, this proposal provides the opportunity to reimagine the entire neighborhood as a destination rather than a repellent, with a new Madison Square Garden, new office, housing and hotels, new eateries, a small public park, all at the heart of our city. At the center of the new district will be a grand public space without a grand public price tag, a chance to reaffirm our belief in civic infrastructure and our shared public realm.
Collaborators: Thornton Tomasetti, Level Agency for Infrastructure, Dharam Consulting