Public Design Commission of the City of New York
Art Commission of the City of New York
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Submission Guidelines - Architecture and Bridges

All buildings, major infrastructure, master plans, other large-scale or complex projects and those that are subject to the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) are submitted for conceptual review and approval by the committee early in the design process when drawings are at the pre-schematic level. For private projects on public property that are subject to ULURP, conceptual review occurs when the ULURP application is submitted to the Department of City Planning. If a master plan is reviewed and approved at the conceptual stage, individual phases are only submitted for conceptual review if they are large-scale and/or complex.

Preliminary review and approval by the Design Commission occurs at the end of the schematic design phase. If any significant design changes are made in design development subsequent to preliminary approval, the project must be submitted for committee review and approval prior to proceeding to final drawings. Final review and approval is based on the submission of construction drawings. Please note that, if a project is submitted for preliminary and final approval simultaneously, the submission must comply with all requirements for both levels of review, not just final review.

Before preparing a submission for a pedestrian bridge, please review the Design Commission's General Information on Pedestrian Bridges.

Conceptual Review (All projects)

  1. A brief statement that describes the project scope (no more than one page for each):

    a. Design intention: architecture and engineering concepts (Please include diagrams.)
    b. Community/neighborhood context
    c. Sustainability objectives
    d. Estimated project cost
  2. A minimum of eight (8) loose 8” x 10” color photographs of the site and surrounding area.1
  3. Pre-schematic design drawings at 5% completion of total design at the minimum scales indicated below.2

    a. Location plan
    Scale: neighborhood and borough
    b. Existing and proposed site plans
    Scale: 1” = 40’
    c. Typical existing (where applicable) and proposed floor or bridge plans, elevations and sections
    Scale: 1/16”= 1’-0”

A massing or study model is encouraged, particularly for large-scale or complex projects.3

Preliminary Review (All projects)

  1. Two copies of the Application Form signed by the Commissioner or designated City agency representative.
  2. A comprehensive list of any design revisions since conceptual review.
  3. A narrative description of modifications to the brief statement (see Conceptual Review item 1) and more specific information on the following items as they affect the appearance of the building exterior.

    a. For buildings: engineering and façade systems.
    b. For bridges: traffic and construction planning, protective guard rail and fencing systems.
  4. 100% schematic design drawings (approximately 20% completion of total design) at the minimum scales indicated below.2

    a. Location plan    
    Scale: neighborhood and borough
    b. Existing and proposed site plans     
    Scale: 1” = 40’
    c. For buildings: Floor plans, including ground floor, typical floor(s), roof plan
    For bridges: Plans, including approaches and main span
    Scale: 1/16” = 1’-0”
    d. Building or bridge elevations  
    Scale: 1/16” = 1’-0”
    e. Building or bridge sections   
    Scale: 1/16” = 1’-0”
    f. For bridges: Lighting design and details 
    Scale: 1/8” = 1’-0” 
  5. One (1) or more renderings that clearly depict the design in its context, including accurate representation(s) of the exterior from 5’-0” viewpoint.
  6. Site landscape design, if relevant (see Landscape Architecture Submission Guidelines).
  7. A preliminary material list and samples of non-standard materials.4
  8. A model for large-scale or complex projects.3
  9. Written confirmation of community board review. (Agencies are encouraged to submit the community board’s resolution.)

Preliminary approval is conditioned upon submission of the project for final review and approval within two years.

Please note that, if any significant design changes are made in design development subsequent to preliminary approval, the project must be submitted for committee review and approval prior to proceeding to final drawings.

When there have been no substantive changes beyond those required by the Commission and the project is submitted for final approval within one year of preliminary approval, a second hearing may not be required. In such cases, the Commission may vote to give final approval without affording an additional opportunity for public comment.

Download the Application Form

 

Final Review (All projects)

  1. Two copies of the Application Form signed by the Commissioner or designated City agency representative.
  2. A comprehensive list of any design revisions made since preliminary approval. (As noted above, if any significant design changes are made in design development subsequent to preliminary approval, the project should have been submitted for committee review and approval prior to proceeding to final drawings.)
  3. Construction drawings at 90% completion.2

    For all projects that require a permit from the Department of Buildings, please note that all construction drawings must conform to the Department of Building’s requirements for its B-SCAN system (see B-SCAN Requirements).
  4. A complete list of materials, colors and finishes.
  5. Material samples, including types, color and finish.4
  6. An updated model is encouraged for large-scale or complex projects.3
  7. Written confirmation of community board review of any design revisions made since preliminary approval, as needed.

Final Approval is conditioned upon commencement of work within two years of the final approval date and the submission of comprehensive photographic documentation of the completed project consisting of 8" x 10" color archival-quality photographs for the Design Commission's archive of the City's built environment.

Please note that final photographs should include the Department of Buildings’ job number on the back if final sign off is required. 
Download the Application Form 

1 All photos must be clearly labeled on the back. Polaroids or color photocopies will not be accepted. If using a digital camera, photographs must be printed on photo-quality paper.

2 Drawings must be submitted in the following formats:

a. Two complete sets of unmounted drawings, properly collated and stapled, must be submitted. All drawings must indicate scale. Plans must include a north arrow, and elevations must indicate façade orientation. Drawings should not exceed 36" as the longest dimension to comply with Department of Buildings requirements. Half-size drawings are preferable as long as they are legible. Any reduced drawings must include a graphic scale.
b. Critical drawings, including renderings, must be mounted on one (1) or more 30" x 40" boards for presentation (see Presentation Guidelines) and/or included in a PowerPoint presentation. All PowerPoint presentations must utilize .jpg images only that have been resized before being inserted in the presentation, so the completed presentation is limited to 30 MB. Additionally, PowerPoint presentations must be formatted for Windows XP or an earlier version with no automatic slide advances, and submitted on a CD and as duplicate print-outs at a legible size, properly collated and stapled.
c. For conceptual and preliminary review, PDFs of drawings must also be provided on a disc.

3 A minimum of eight (8) loose 8” x 10” color photographs, including close-ups, of the model is required. Photographs must show the model from different viewpoints and be clearly labeled on the back.

4 One (1) or more 8” x 10” color photographs of each non-standard material sample are required. All photos must be clearly labeled on the back. 

5 Please do not use plastic binding or sleeves.



General Information on Pedestrian Bridges

 

In order to maximize unobstructed views of the city and the water, the Design Commission encourages lightness, simplicity and transparency in the design of pedestrian bridges. When multiple pedestrian bridges cross a roadway, the Commission generally supports consistency, such that the design and color of the bridges should be sympathetic to one another.

Strategies and interventions that seek to improve pedestrian bridge design and are encouraged by the Commission include:

  • Minimizing the visual impact of all railings, including handrails and guardrails, by using minimum dimensions that meet ADA requirements (i.e. 1.25” diameter handrails).

  • Utilizing materials for handrails and other design details, such as steel, glass and wood, which are unobtrusive and sympathetic to the overall bridge design.

  • Concealing any variation in the slope of a ramp (i.e. landings) behind the girder, so the profile of the ramp appears to be a continuous straight line.

  • Using the minimum number of structural supports possible, specifically one column (instead of twin columns) under an expansion joint, and detailing accordingly.

The Commission also supports limiting the use of protective 8’ fencing to those bridges where there is clear potential for vandalism, and fencing is therefore required by code and recommended by AASHTO guidelines. If it is unclear whether there is potential for vandalism, the Commission encourages developing bridge designs with the ability to add fencing, if and when it becomes necessary.

Strategies and interventions that minimize the visual impact of the 8’ protective fencing and are encouraged by the Commission include:

  • Using consistent fence details throughout, particularly at the connection between the bridge and the ramps.

  • Maximizing the size of the fence opening (preferably to 2” wherever possible, but when a smaller opening or solid panel is required, such as for fencing over an electric rail line, written documentation of the requirement should be provided as part of the submission package).

  • Utilizing a vertical profile, or if a horizontal member is necessary, making it as minimal as possible.

  • Minimizing the framing structure.

These recommendations are meant to encourage light, simple and transparent pedestrian bridge designs, but are not intended to discourage bolder design statements when appropriate or the use of innovative materials.