This week Two Trees Management revealed a new vision for its conversion of the Domino Sugar factory site in Williamsburg. Designed by SHoP architects, the revised plan has generally received positive, even enthusiastic reviews. Part of this response was a sense of relief, as the original proposal, designed by Rafael Vinoly, was roundly condemned for its dullness and insensitivity. [more]
Posts Tagged ‘james gardner’
Poor Edward Durell Stone!
Though Stone was one of the most original American architects of the post-war era, his name is heard these days only when someone is trying to tear down or efface his buildings in Manhattan. [more]
From the November issue: Columbia’s Manhattanville expansion. NYU’s superblock redevelopment. Cornell’s new Roosevelt Island campus. If it seems as though this column has been devoted to discussing an abundance of new academic buildings recently, it may be because there are few areas of the New York real estate market in which the expansion has been so striking.
Indeed, the growth of New York’s infrastructure for higher education is almost as energetic as its development of condos and hotels (see related story: Dorms and the city). And it is far more energetic than the expansion of its museums. [more]
From the October issue: Whatever else might be said of the new hotel that is planned for 6 Platt Street, there is something uplifting in the spectacle of what had once been a parking lot now on its way to becoming a high-rise.
In all cities, but especially in New York, parking lots serve as a symbol of urban failure; of dissipated interest, if not of downright decay. As a result, few things attest more eloquently to the turn in our city’s fortunes than the gradual disappearance of these asphaltic pits once omnipresent in Midtown, Chelsea and Lower Manhattan. [more]
As regards the redevelopment of Columbus Circle that was unveiled five years ago, I was spectacularly wrong. When the project was still in the planning phase, renderings were published in which, amid fountains and flowers, dozens of New Yorkers could be seen sitting in that illustrious traffic circle in a state of manifest happiness. At the time, it seemed evident to me that, with Central Park half a block away, no one would ever brave the onrushing traffic to sit in the middle of a roundabout. [more]
200 East 79th StreetAs long as developers are building “as of right,” as long as they do not need to win some variance, they seem increasingly apt to hold their cards close to their vest and not to publish any renderings of how their project will look upon completion. And so it is with 200 East 79th Street (not to mention 127 East 79th Street, just up the block.) For almost a year now, something has been rising on the site, but there was no way of assessing it, other than to say that it would result in a somewhat boxy structure.
Now, however, the 200 East 79th Street project — brought to us be The Wilf family’s Skyline Developers — is sufficiently far along, and a 3D rendering of sorts has appeared on the building’s scaffolding, to give a far better sense of what, for the next century or so, will occupy this important corner of the Upper East Side at the intersection of 79th Street and Third Avenue…. [more]
From the August issue: Just opposite the Museum of Modern Art, a new hotel and condominium is set to rise over the site of the former (and future) Donnell Library. The project is to be called the Baccarat New York.
Following the lead of the Bulgari hotel chain, it seeks to invoke a storied name from luxury retail — in this case, one that has been synonymous with elegant crystal products since before the French Revolution. But the building, judging from a recently released rendering, promises little beyond its name to suggest the beguiling brightness that we associate with crystal. [more]
From the July issue: There is a certain building on East 79th Street — I will not single it out by name, but it’s closer to the East River than to Central Park — that is so ugly as to fill all decent and sensitive souls with a feeling of reflexive loathing. Doubtless it is pleasant enough to inhabit, largely because, as long as you are inside it, you cannot see the unlovely exterior of the building. It is also in a good and desirable location.
The problem is that it will stand there, a hulking high-rise, more or less forever. [more]
From the May issue: It seems to be part of the very destiny of New York institutions, at least in recent years, to wish to expand, as though in obedience to the injunction of the poet Goethe that “you must rise or sink.” Standing still, in New York, is no longer an option.
And so, just as our museums are expanding, Columbia University yearns to double its campus in Harlem, while New York University, with the 2010 announcement of its bold initiative NYU 2031, wants to increase the amount of real estate it occupies by about 2 million square feet. [more]
From left: Citizen and the Harsen House (click to enlarge)In its modest, soft-spoken way, “Citizen” is one of the weirdest names that a developer, in this case Anbau Properties, has yet bestowed upon a Manhattan residential development. True, this is an election year, but next year will not be, and the building in question, at 124 West 23rd Street, will still be there. Come to think of it, 2008 — when plans for the site first emerged — was also an election year. In any case, it is hard to divine the purpose of the name.
The 16-story tower, flanked on its eastern side by a building of roughly equal height, contains 34 residences, as well as 4,000 square feet of retail at street level. It was designed by BKSK Architects, who worked with the same developer to create Harsen House, at 120 West 72nd Street. And like that building, it rises over what was once a group of row houses…. [more]
Hyatt Union SquareUnlike Paris, whose magistrates have enforced a general unity upon their architecture, especially as regards the height of contiguous buildings, the streets of New York tend to be a jagged tumult of two-story taxpayers vying with soaring high-rises.
Many of the locals insist that this clamorous variety is what gives the city is honky-tonk charm: in fact, the results more often than not are quite ugly. A case in point is 132 Fourth Avenue, a two-story classical structure clad in limestone and not a bad-looking building in itself. Its neighbor, at 77 East 12 Street, is a pallidly functional exercise in red-brick rationalism from the 1960s. Now a new, 12-story Hyatt Union Square hotel, designed by Gene Kaufman, has risen over the scrupulously preserved façade of the two-story classical structure at the corner of Fourth Avenue and 13th Street and is set to open in the fall of this year…. [more]
The TouraineAbout a year and a half ago, I wrote an article in The Real Deal about 535 West End Avenue, a fine example of contextualism by the Chicago-based architect Lucien Lagrange. It was the architect’s first building in Manhattan and, I assumed, his last: citing a growing disenchantment with the profession, a downturn in the Chicago market, and impending bankruptcy, Lagrange had just announced his retirement at the relatively young age (for an architect) of 69. But, after Lagrange closed his own firm, he went on to join VOA Associates, also of Chicago, which describes itself as specializing in “luxury residential, hospitality and commercial mixed-use markets.”… [more]
One does not usually speak of commercial real estate in terms of the miraculous, but as regards the Apple’s iconic flagship on Fifth Avenue between 58th and 59th streets — which just got an overhaul of its façade– the term is almost appropriate. For 40 years prior to Apple’s arrival in New York City in 2007, this area was a commercial disaster, first as a sunken pit whose varied businesses enticed few to descend, then, in developer Donald Trump’s reworking, as a marble-encased hole in the ground that no business could be induced to lease.
Only a business founded on the notion of “thinking outside the box” could possibly make a go of it, and no business fits that description better than Apple…. [more]
The Park Avenue Armory, which takes up the entire east side of Park Avenue between 66th and 67th streets, has just announced plans for a $200 million renovation of the site. This news is wonderful, but hardly unexpected. It has been quite clear for some time that this former military structure was meant for better things.
What is remarkable about the 643 Park Avenue structure’s resurrection — for it is nothing less than that — is that the building represents a typology that, like an abandoned bank or a deconsecrated church, would seem ill-suited to any function other than the one for which it was originally intended, a function no longer needed. The building, designed by Charles Clinton in the Gothic Revival style and opened in 1881, consists of a five-story front section along the avenue and, behind it, a cavernous 55,000-square-foot enclosed area, known as the Wade Thompson Drill Hall. … [more]
One of the lesser known examples of collateral damage that resulted from the events of Sept. 11,
2001 was the destruction of Fiterman Hall, a 15-story building located at 30 West Broadway that
belonged to the Borough of Manhattan Community College, a City of New York school. Originally an
office building from the 1950s, it stood in the shadow of 7 World Trade Center. And when 7 WTC fell –
itself collateral damage of Tower One — it fell on top of Fiterman Hall, which was crushed under 7 WTC’s
Photographs of the damage at Fiterman Hall are astounding: all that chewed up glass and steel, an
icon of rationalism laid waste by the vindictive madness of the bombers. The building was not entirely
destroyed, however, and had to be demolished some years later and the site decontaminated. It is a sad
irony that the entire building had been largely renovated only a short time before Sept. 11, 2011…. [more]
The 18-story Wyndham Garden Hotel is approaching completion at the intersection of the Bowery and Hester Street in Chinatown. Though the structure is already topped out and much of the glazing is in place, the renderings give a clearer idea of how it would ideally look, and that is none too promising.
The base of the building, at 91-93 Bowery Street, glazed and framed with masonry, occupies its lot completely. But then the structure rises up as a series of modest setbacks away from the Bowery and culminate in a fairly unimaginative summit defined by two balconies on different levels, as well as a sequence of columns, all cast in a stridently modernist idiom. This summit in turn is capped by a masonry-clad mechanical core.
Phase 2 of the High Line opened yesterday, and it is a great advance on the already substantial achievement of Phase 1. While the latter, which opened in 2009, two years earlier to the day, stretched from Gansevoort to 20th streets, the new extension takes us half a mile further, all the way up to 30th Street. Much is the same and much is different.
The Mod aesthetic favored by the architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro is exemplified
in both cases by the grayish concrete pavers flanked by plantings and relieved by wooden
benches in odd shapes and a variety of coves. But while the earlier and more southern stage
generally stands apart from the large neighboring buildings, even as it passes under them, the
newly unveiled segment skirts so close to the generally diminutive buildings in its stretch that
the idle stroller can peer impertinently into the windows of the inhabitants… [more]
There are few parts of Manhattan that have gone through as much hell
as Peter Minuit Plaza, which cozies up to Battery Park to its west as
it expands due north of the newish Staten Island Ferry Terminal. For
years now, thanks to a fundamental overhaul of the South Ferry subway
station, the place has looked like a war zone. And even when the
station itself was completed about a year and a half ago, Peter Minuit
Plaza remained in chaos as construction crews mulled about behind
their impenetrable fences…. [more]
The diminutive stretch of Manhattan known as Bond Street has seen some feverish development over the past few years, including Deborah Berke’s 48 Bond Street and Herzog & de Meuron’s 40 Bond Street, developed by Ian Schrager. And yet, the best building on the block is 25 Bond Street, by a somewhat less well-known firm, BKSK Architects. The virtues of their design, its energy and its classical calm, are in evidence in one of their newest projects, at 77 Reade Street, developed in the Tribeca South Historic District by S. Myles Group and Harshad Lakhani…. [more]
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…. [more]