WATCH: JDS’ Stern and SHoP’s Pasquarelli on shaping the skyline

Top developer-architect duo Michael Stern and Gregg Pasquarelli sat down for a Coffee Talk to explain their partnership and top projects

On the latest episode of TRD’s Coffee Talk, publisher Amir Korangy sat with top architect Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects and major developer Michael Stern of JDS. The pair met while working on the American Copper building at 626 First Avenue. “I had just seen [SHoP’s] work on the Barclays Center,” Stern said. “I said, I have to meet the guy with the balls to do that.”

The group talked about the “responsibility of the skyline,” as Stern called it, in building and designing in New York. Pasquarelli and Stern have worked on one project that’s altered the Manhattan skyline: 111 West 57th Street, a luxury residential supertall atop the landmarked Steinway Hall. On designing the structure, Pasquarelli observed, “Several dozen extraordinarily wealthy people are going to live inside this building … but 8 million of us have to live with this building every single day.”

The duo noted that while they love working with their other partners, they both find something “special” about working together.

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“I don’t know what other architect could have given us the integrity of design with all the obstacles on that site,” Stern said of another project, 9 Dekalb Avenue. That building, when finished, will be the tallest in Brooklyn.

When asked if he anticipated that designing real estate would be different following the pandemic, Stern said he has “utmost confidence in people’s inability to remember anything very long.”

“If anyone thinks they’re gonna write New York off, or thinks that the trend towards urbanization and density around transit is just gonna stop and reverse, they’re wrong,” he added.