Thursday, July 28, 2005
Dog Bites Man
VIA Curbed and Triple Mint we have another exercise in graph-paper origami. Every other New York City building announced these days seems to be one of these "folded plane" glass-skinned things (Frank Gehry's Atlantic Yards, Gehry's InterActivCorp headquarters, David Childs' Freedom Tower, Childs's TimeWarner center, the Bank of America building, Bernard Tschumi's Blue, Christian de Portzamparc's 400 Park Avenue South, Zaha Hadid's Olympic Village...) but this won't stop New York Times
architect's agent architecture critic Nicolia Ouroussoff from saying these buildings "aim to challenge the formal order that has ruled mainstream architecture for a century" — or something like that. Somehow we will understand that they are avant-garde and daring and socially revolutionary.
Even though every architect is designing one of them and most people think they look like Houston on steroids. How revolutionary is that?
And how revolutionary that they're designed to sell to Yuppies for $1,200 per square foot?
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Say what you will about the cliche-ness of this building (hopefully it won't look too much like an out of date architecture/design magazine in ten years), but it seems from the pictures that it does a pretty good job meeting the street.
It looks like it matches almost exactly the horizontal rythyms of the neighbouring buildings, echoes their relationship to the street (the podium, at least, is of a similar volume and height as its neighbours, thus creating a similar height-width ratio), and it even looks like it'll accomodate ground-floor retail or services (unless that's just a grotesquely over-sized lobby).
I think the tower's actually kind of neat. Who knows if it'll age well, if it will ever even look like this sexy rendering, or if the windows will start popping off in a few months. But at least from an urbanism point of view, the wacky stuff's up high, and not interfering with the creation of a truly urban environment in harmony with area precedents.
I'd cut these guys some slack- it looks like a good adaptation of contemporary archi-dogma to the New York context. Maybe Frank Gehry ought to be taking notes on this.
Posted by: Desmond Bliek at Jul 29, 2005 11:02:17 AM
Most New York developers will force their architects to meet the street: they've paid too much for the lot to waste any of the building envelope. Of course there are situations in which the zoning gives other solutions, but apparently this wasn't one of those.
I said very little about the aesthetics of this particular building, but I find the relationship of the top to the bottom schizophrenic.
Posted by: john massengale at Jul 29, 2005 4:12:10 PM