Viñoly in the Bronx    
February 10 - May 20, 2009

Bronx County Hall of Justice, 161st and 162nd Streets between Sherman and Morris Avenues, 2001-2006

Bronx Hall of Justice is a visually dynamic glass building in which judicial transparency is both a metaphor and quite literal. With 47 courtrooms, seven grand jury rooms, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Probation and the Bronx District Attorney’s office, it is one of the largest courthouses in the country. The building’s main entrance parallels the street conventionally, but from the back courtyard the Hall of Justice opens up into complex cascading forms. Angular stairways inside connect the floors visibly through sheets of glass and cantilevered floors break up the rhythm of the long horizontals of the corridors. A cylindrical juror’s assembly hall with a spiral ramp punctuates the courtyard plaza — an area that offers a tranquil retreat from the street with trees, space for community activities, and a sculpture by Cai Guo-Qiang. A rooftop Zen garden, visible from the upper floors, sits atop the juror’s assembly hall. The building incorporates a number of “green” technologies, among them the folded glass planes at the front of the building that offer passive solar light and climate systems.

Copyright Paul Warchol and Rafael Viñoly Architects
Bronx Housing Court, 1118 Grand Concourse, 1997  

The 1997 Housing Court of Rafael Viñoly is one of the few contemporary buildings to appear on the Grand Concourse in an area known for its concentration of Art Deco and Art Moderne apartment buildings. Forced by a narrow site to rise considerably above the ordinary building line, it makes amends by trimming its southern wing to the height of an older six-story apartment house alongside, and tucking in its north frontage to match that of its other neighbor. Asymmetrically poised above the entrance is a broad window four stories high in a frame that stands forward from the building’s interior wall. Its function is to bring light into the stacked public lobbies inside. An abstract clock is oriented to be visible to traffic crossing the Harlem River from Manhattan to the Bronx as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.

Copyright Rafael Viñoly Architects and Jeff Goldberg / Esto Photographics, Inc

APEX (Athletics and Physical Education Facility), Lehman College, Bedford Park Boulevard West, 1994

The APEX forms the northern boundary of the Lehman campus and serves as a gateway to the college along “college walk,” a tree lined sidewalk that runs north to south through the campus. Like other Viñoly buildings, the street side has been left intentionally plain. From the campus there is a dramatic arc of the reflective stainless steel roof, penetrated in the center by the passageway from the street. Within the passage Viñoly has anchored a two story “grand staircase” and rectangular, asymmetrically located lobby. In addition to housing gymnasiums and training facilities, the center features an Olympic size swimming pool, offices, and classrooms.

Copyright Peter Margonelli