In the dreary world of New York City architecture, one is rarely surprised, let alone pleasantly surprised.
But so I was the other day when I passed a new building that has just arisen at 949 Park Avenue,
between 81st and 82nd streets. Designed by C3D Architecture, it is being developed by VE Equities
and marketed by Prudential Douglas Elliman.
This project is the latest and possibly the best of three similar buildings that have gone up on the east
side of Park Avenue between 81st and 87th streets in the past few years. The other two are 985
designed by Costas Kondylis, and
1055 Park Avenue, designed
by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. All three occupy a single lot, but rise to the canonic height, roughly
12 stories, of their neighbors. Whereas 1055 Park occupies the southeast corner of 87th street, the other two buildings are shoe-horned
in between two long-established structures.
The architects of the latest addition to the avenue, C3D Architecture, also designed the new Gotham hotel in Midtown, on which I wrote
last summer. What is striking about their new Upper East Side project, now all but complete, is that
it contains only six units, each a duplex, which is surely the best use to make of such narrow lots. The
abundance of glass on the pale façade makes no attempt to harmonize with the more traditional red-
brick neighbors on either side, but the general tastefulness and elegance of the project causes it to
seem entirely appropriate to such an established part of the city. And this notwithstanding that each
unit comes with a balcony arrayed in somewhat syncopated fashion across the glass and steel front. The
renderings promise a protruding metallic canopy which, when it materializes, will cause the results to
seem more distinguished still.
As for the interiors, they too appear — once again from the renderings — to be very promising, with
broad floor-to-ceiling windows that allow the lucky inhabitants to feels as though they are hovering over
one of the better stretches of Park Avenue.
James Gardner, formerly the architecture critic of the New York Sun, writes on the visual arts for