3 Hudson Boulevard is “another phoned in high-rise”: Architecture review, PHOTOS

FXFowle-designed tower will be years in the making
By James Gardner | June 14, 2013 01:30PM

Architecture is always a thing of the past: The architect conceives his structure in the present and then the builders erect it when they can, to plans concocted months, years or even centuries before. So it is with 3 Hudson Boulevard, the Moinian Group’s mixed-use tower planned for the far West Side.

Though the developer released slightly revised renderings, the building looks largely as it did when the first renderings appeared in 2007. That means that, if the construction is completed on schedule in 2015 and the move-in date is planned for 2017, the first residents will occupy a structure that was conceived fully a decade before. In the case of the 12th century cathedrals of Chartres or Amiens, ten years was nothing at all. But in the modern world, several stylistic trends can come and go in the space of a decade.

And so it is that 3 Hudson Boulevard, which was designed by the firm of FXFowle and looked a little tired in 2007, seems even more unimaginative today. I confess I cannot recall if, back in 2007, the building’s deconstuctivist vocabulary still retained any whiff of that subversive freshness that is the entire point of the deconstructivist style. If it did, however, that whiff has long since dissipated.

Back in 2007, this 66-story project was known as Girasole, the Italian word for sunflower. The name was doubtless intended to allude both to the environmental virtues of the building and to its slightly torqued shape.

Aside from that twist in the shaft, however, this office and residential tower, clad in a pale curtainwall, has a few things going on at the summit and the base: several bays protrude from the base of the structure, while the top looks as though a chunk of it has been gouged out. The whole building is crowned by an insubstantial flourish of steel and glass that serves only a decorative function.

But even with those insufficient flourishes, the resultant building will doubtless end up looking like yet another phoned-in high-rise in Manhattan. And though the 1,000-foot height of the building may make sense in real estate brokers’ terms, by itself it is hardly enough — in this age of One57 and 432 Park Avenue — to merit the attention of the average New Yorker.