Architecture Review: Studio V’s 600 West 58th Street

New Durst project is “well-behaved”

New York /
Feb.February 27, 2015 02:00 PM

For those of us who grew up in New York in the 1970s, few transformations of the city seem quite as amazing at the development of the Far West Side, especially around 57th Street and 12th Avenue. Once a dangerous and undiscovered country, it is now awash in new buildings.

Bjarke Ingels’ pyramid at 627 West 57th Street is surely the headline-grabber, but it’s only one of three neighboring developments by the Durst Organization. The other two are The Helena at 601 West 57th Street and the newly-announced 600 West 58th Street, which will rise directly east of the Ingels creation.

It would be hard to imagine two structures more essentially different than the Ingels building and 600 West 58th Street. The Ingels tetrahedron is almost a textbook example of deconstructivist architecture (although, when I stated this opinion within earshot of Mr. Ingels’, he vehemently rejected the label): its form is torqued, with what looks like a great big chunk gouged out of its center.

By contrast, 600 West 58th is discreetly well-behaved, strictly rectilinear and fastidiously symmetrical. According to the rendering, the 10-story building (with 65 apartments, of which 12 will be affordable) will consist of two contrasting sections, a bright, pale, curtain-walled four-story base and, resting on top of it, a nearly slab-like dark mass that is slightly cantilevered over the underlying building and whose windows are arrayed in bays.

These dark, slate-like passages will be enlivened by what look like thin, barely- discernible pinstripes across the surface. That the designers know what they are doing is suggested by the similarly conceived dark band that runs across the length of the entire building, just above the ground floor, which links the two halves of the development and provides a certain ballast to the pale base. It promises to be an elegant and attractive building.

600 West 58th is being designed by Jay Valgora’s Studio V Architecture. The firm’s other projects in the city include the Empire Stores in Dumbo and 155 Attorney Street, both for Midtown Equities’ Joseph Cayre, and the Astoria Cove megadevelopment.

 

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