History and Culture of Beyer Blinder Belle
Beyer Blinder Belle was founded in 1968, in the wake of the urban renewal movement in the United States, when the social fabric of cities, communities, and buildings was compromised by the prevailing attitudes about planning and architecture. We pioneered and defined a different approach to the design of the built environment that focused on architecture empowering people — their interaction with each other on streets and in neighborhoods, their pleasure in moving through the city, and their connections to the surrounding physical fabric.
This mission has guided us for more than five decades and has shaped a broad and award-winning practice — now 190 professionals in New York City, Washington, DC and Boston engaged in architecture, planning, and interiors. A persistent exploration of historic, cultural and civic meaning guides our work, while our design is contemporary and reflects the materials and technology of today.
Planning, restoration and the design of new buildings are the fundamental underpinnings of our practice. Many of our projects involve the stewardship of historic buildings in sensitive urban sites — the work for which we have become best recognized. Our deep sense of identity and evolving perspectives on design have guided our practice in new construction as well as master planning and urban design. With our clients and friends, we continue the dialogue.
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In 1968 John H. Beyer, Richard Blinder and John Belle met in New York as young practicing architects and founded an architecture and planning firm with a decidedly social mission.
Beyer Blinder Belle was created in response to the urban renewal movement in the United States, during which the social fabric of cities, communities, and buildings was compromised by the prevailing approaches to planning and architecture. The firm’s founding ethos focused on the social integrity of communities and institutions as a means to better the daily life of people; their interaction with each other on streets and in neighborhoods; their potential to take pleasure in moving through the city; and their memories and associations with the surrounding physical fabric. This mission has guided Beyer Blinder Belle for more than five decades and has shaped a broad and award-winning architecture, planning, and interiors practice.
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Beyer Blinder Belle Selected Projects
Once the country’s top shipbuilding facility, the Navy Yard is now slated for redevelopment as a 21st-century industrial park. Located at the compound’s main entrance, the Center occupies the historic US Marine Corps Commandant’s residence, which was fully restored, and a new 20,000 square-foot addition that achieves LEED platinum certification with sustainable technologies. Inside are exhibition areas, space for job training programs, offices and cafe.
Photos by Beyer Blinder Belle
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL) is New York’s new central circulating library. Built within the 1914 shell and steel frame of the Mid-Manhattan Library which it replaces, the 16,722 m2 (180,000 sq. ft.) building is topped with a spectacular angular roof and public rooftop amenities to make a new urban icon on Fifth Avenue.
A vertical library with a welcoming ‘street’ and an airy atrium. SNFL’s ground floor is arranged around an internal street that runs beneath a floating linear canopy of wood beams, from the Fifth Avenue entrance to the welcome desks. Located on one side are elevators, stairs, and a mezzanine balcony. On the other side, a rectangular opening in the floorplate reveals the lower ground floor, which houses a Children’s Library and Teen Center. The Children’s Library play area enjoys natural light, and the Teen Center has a dedicated staircase and study and media rooms decorated with bold and whimsical commissioned murals by artist Melinda Beck. An internal window on the lower ground floor allows visitors to see SNFL’s book-sorting machine in action.
Corte is located in Long Island City, a district in New YorkCity right across the river from Midtown Manhattan. This neighborhood, which was once home to factories and bakeries, is now undergoing a fast transformation driven by its residential growth. It also has a high concentration of art galleries and institutions, and art studio spaces.
The spirit of the project is to create private outdoor venues that are reminiscent of sidewalk life in New York City neighborhoods in the early 1900s. A feeling longed for by those who decide to leave the city center. These outdoor spaces expand the residential units and provide an additional exterior room that adapts to multiple uses.
Do not forget that we will be posting more work by Beyer Blinder Belle in the coming weeks and months, so keep an eye out for more of their incredible work!! Every Friday we will be posting a new Featured Company, so join us again next week!