New York developer Douglas Durst to speak at Yale School of Architecture

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Douglas Durst

Douglas Durst, chairman of the prominent New York real estate development company that bears his family name, will deliver the first lecture of the spring term at Yale School of Architecture on Thursday, Jan. 5. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, takes place in Paul Rudolph Hall, 180 York Street, at 6:30 p.m.

Durst, the Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Architecture Fellow, will speak about how The Durst Organization, founded by his grandfather in 1915, has become an international leader in sustainable development and he will share his vision for an urban future firmly grounded on environmental principles.

The Durst Organization, which is the owner, manager and builder of 13 million square feet of office space and 2 million square feet of residential rental properties in New York City, has already established itself as a pioneer in green design, building and technology. Under the leadership of Douglas Durst, the company has undertaken projects that are recognized landmarks of environmental innovation on a grand scale, most notably: the nation’s first green skyscraper, the Condé Nast building at 4 Times Square, and the 2.35 million square-foot LEED Platinum Bank of America Tower at 1 Bryant Park.

Durst sits on many boards in the city where he has deep roots, among them: the Real Estate Board of New York, The New School, The Trust for Public Land, and Project for Public Spaces. He is also the co-chair of Friends of the Hudson River Park. A dedicated environmental activist for many years, Durst created the largest organic farm in New York State.

Throughout their semester-long tenure, Bass Fellows lead a design studio with other senior or visiting faculty members organized around a development project with which the Bass Fellow is engaged. Durst will be joined by Thomas Christoffersen and Bjarke Ingels, partners in Copenhagen- and New York-based BIG, who are currently collaborating with Durst on W57, a 900,000 square-foot mixed-use development in Hells Kitchen on the west side waterfront of Manhattan.

The studio project will be to design an inhabited bridge extending 42nd street across the East River to Queens. Apart from serving as a thoroughfare for traffic, the bridge will also contain various social programs, parks, pathways and programs for residential, commercial and cultural activities. Students will reference such models as the Ponte Vechio in Florence, the piers of the Hudson River Park and the High Line in Manhattan, and they will make a study trip to Copenhagen to visit mixed-use developments and infrastructural projects around Copenhagen and Malmø.

Details of other public events at the Yale School of Architecture this term will be announced in a separate press release. Highlights include a film screening on Feb. 20 of  “Urbanized,” by director/producer Gary Hustwit; a conversation between Frank Gehry and Paul Goldberger on April 12; and a lecture by NY Times architectural critic Michael Kimmelman on April 16.

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