Design for 10 Bond St. beguiles: architecture review

Annabelle Selldorf's work may be her best ever -- if the bean-counters don't get at it

Rendering of 10 Bond Street
Rendering of 10 Bond Street

For the past decade, Bond Street in Lower Manhattan has been a byword for architectural display. It all began with Herzon & De Meuron’s 40 Bond Street, followed by BKSK’s 25 Bond Street (still the best building on the block) and then Deborah Burke’s 48 Bond Street. All of these, however, stand on the block bordered by Lafayette Street and the Bowery. Now a new project, designed by Annabelle Selldorf at 10 Bond Street, promises to be the first to rise along the block between Lafayette and Broadway, specifically at the northwest corner of Bond and Lafayette.

On the basis of the renderings, it also appears to be one of Selldorf’s best works to date. Developed by SK Development, Ironstate Development and the Chetrit Group, it is scrupulously modular and rectilinear in a way that recalls Jean Nouvel’s 40 Mercer Street, though it also puts one in mind, through its geometric purity, of The Urban Glass House, which Selldorf designed together with Philip Johnson at 330 Spring Street. Certainly its chaste design is a great improvement over her 200 11th Avenue.

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The seven story building, comprising 11 residences and scheduled for completion early next year, consists of seven bays along Lafayette and five along Bond Street, defined by dark and energetic coursing lines between the stories. Between these lines, each window is defined by three articulated panes. Only at the corner windows do these boundaries evaporate. The top floor consists of a penthouse slightly recessed from the main mass of the building, with trellised canopies covering two terraces facing north and south.

A great deal of the ultimate success of this building — and of any building whose aesthetic is one of geometric probity — will consist in how well it is made. One recalls that, although the Urban Glass House looked wonderful in the renderings, it was marred by a certain cost-effectiveness in its realization. If that sense of shoddiness can be avoided on Bond Street, Selldorf’s new project may prove to be her best work so far in Manhattan.