New York

Two-Dozen List, Tropolism Editor's Edition 2008

TWO-DOZEN-LOGO.gif

Two Dozen List, Tropolism Editor's Edition, 2008. Subject to change. Click Continue Reading for Full Annotated Edition.

1. 40 Mercer: Jean Nouvel
2. 40 Bond Herzog & DeMeuron
3. 100 11th Avenue: Jean Nouvel
4. 524 West 19th Street, Metal Shutter Houses: Shigeru Ban
5. 515-517 West 23rd Street, HL23: Neil Denari
6. 366 West 15th Street, The Porter House at : SHoP (aka That Stripey-Light Building)
7. 165 Charles St: Richard Meier (aka Meier3)
8. Perry Street South and North Towers: Richard Meier (aka Meier1 and Meier 2)
9. 109 Norfolk Street, Switch Building: nArchitects
10. 385 West 12th Street: FLAnk
11. 290 Mulberry Street: SHoP
12. 184 Kent Avenue: Arquitectonica (aka The Illinois Institute of Technology)
13. One Kenmare Square: Richard Gluckman (aka Gluckman Wave)
14. 48 Bond: Deborah Burke
15. 15 Central Park West: Robert A.M. Stern
16. One York: Enrique Norton
17. 497 Greenwich Street: Winka Dubbeldam (aka Winka Wave)
18. 33 Vestry Street, V33: Winka Dubbeldam
19. 330 Spring Street, Urban Glass House: Phillip Johnson
20. West 11th Street, Julian Schnabel Palazzo Chupi
21. 166 Perry Street: Asymptote
22. Lower East Side, Blue: Bernard Tschumi (aka TschumiBlu)
23. Astor Place, Sculpture for Living: Charles Gwathmey
24. Highline 519: Lindy Roy

Notes On The Two Dozen List

twodozen.jpg

In 2005 I fleshed out an idea I first proposed in 2004: that a slew of midsized residential buildings would be built, all designed by celebrity architects. And so the Two Dozen List was born.

The mid 2000's in New York City have seen a unique confluence of money, skyrocketing real estate prices, hyper-demand, and cheap credit. The competition between developers, combined with a rise in interest in architectural design by the general public, has led to the hiring of our beloved celebutantes as brand novelties to distinguish one development from another. The moment is now passing: credit is tight, leading to projects down the pipeline being shut off. While the competition for buyers will certainly continue, it is likely that high-priced talent, or at least the famous names, will not be invited to create design masterpieces quite as often.

The similar size, shape, and sites give us a unique opportunity to compare these talents, and ask some great questions. How powerful were these architects in the development process? How well did they redefine what is possible in this context? How many boundaries did they push? How did they approach, and solve, the great problems of the New York Skyscraper: the slab and the curtain wall?

I will post my personal version of this list this week. Tropolism will begin to review the projects on my list that have not been reviewed to date. In addition, guest writers will post their own lists, here and elsewhere. Finally, we invite you to submit your own entries for a reader's choice list, which will of course be published here. Enjoy!

Maps Of Manhattan: Culturenow.org

culturenowmap.jpg.jpg

Maps Of Manhattan combines two of our obsessions: the representational power of maps and the density that is our home base. The Skyscraper Museum's Manhattan Timeformations remains one of our favorite online versions of this genre (and we will dare to date ourselves by reminding you that this project existed on paper/mylar long before it was put it into a computer).

So you might imagine our delight when we came across the online home for culturenow.org's physical map of Manhattan, locating all the public artworks on this fair island. What started out as (I think) an LMDC funded map to attract tourists to Lower Manhattan has blown up into an encyclopedic go-to for public art. Of course, the only way to improve upon it is to make it a searchable database, which it what gives it a place here at Tropolism.

Maki Makes Sculpture For Living

cooperunion2_1.jpg

Fumihiko Maki has designed a building to replace the beige-brick Cooper Union Engineering building at 51 Astor Place. We want to see more renderings and details before commenting further. But from this picture alone we can say that this is what the Sculpture For Living should have been in the first place.

Via Curbed.

SHoP Brick Undulation

shop1.jpg

SHoP designed yet another building that may be eligible for the ever-outdated two-dozen list, once it's built: 290 Mulberry Street. Curbed gives us an overview today on the building's highlights. We would also like to point out a couple of great images from a lecture announcement last summer (given by their "Director of Design Technology and Research", I kid you not); the undulation looks like it's made out of prefabricated brick panels. We are looking forward to seeing this one in cover.

PS1 Goes Agricultural, Finally

2248861967_d5aaf464ee_o.jpg

Work Architecture won this year's PS1 Warmup Series installation with their cardboard-tube urban farm. While the New York Times gives us some back story (heavy on the Barry Bergdoll, obviously the driving force behind the change of direction), we think that Pruned says it best:

Where sightseers once splashed about in silly algorithmic frotteurism, they will be treated this summer to an $85,000 community garden, whose “rural delights” will probably not go to supplement the nutritional needs of the disenfranchised but rather will go to make bloody marys and beer for architecture students.

Seriously folks, "silly algorithmic frotteurism" pretty much says a lot about a lot these days. That, and Pruned's brilliant comparison to Wheatfield by Agnes Denes.

We see this one as the successor to PS1 Warmup Series' last successful installation, the one in 2004 by nArchitects. The intervening years can now be forgotten, just as we forgot Lindy Roy's whatever install.

UN Studio's VilLA NM Destroyed By Fire

NM1.jpg

We start off the day with sadness; UN Studio's VilLA NM was destroyed by fire during the night of February 5th. The house was completed last year. Full story at Daily Dose.

Beautiful At Barnard

AR080101076L6.jpg

Recently the P/A Awards were announced, by whatever magazine is announcing them these days. Our enthusiasm for these awards faded not because of some nostalgia for the days of Progressive Architecture magazine. It's simply that the cutting edge of architecture has gone blog viral. By the time the print media gets to it, it's old news. The newest of the new gets chewed up and tested by the internets, and the increase in chaff is easily matched by the increase in voices talking about design.

The one highlight in this year's P/A award comes from old-fashioned great building design, from Weiss/Manfredi. It's their Barnard Nexus project, at Barnard College in Manhattan. It's not just a pretty rendering: the details of the glass curtain wall, mimicking the brick and terracotta of Barnard's and adjacent Columbia University's main building cladding, is sophisticated, beautiful, and yes, progressive.

Master Disaster Architects 4

DSCF0032.jpg

[Editor's note: Our correspondent Saharat Surattatnont had so much fun at Tuesday's Fourth Annual Master Disaster Architects duel that his post on the evening showed up last night. Enjoy!]

Click Continue Reading for Sah's complete review.

Gwathmey's Promise

IMG_2975.JPG

I know that we started our career as a writer publicly slamming Gwathmey Siegal Associates for the Sculpture for Living, and because of that, you might think that we have something against the firm. Particularly since we basically didn't let the issue to rest for two years. Three, if you include this paragrph, which borders on apophasis.

7002_pe06.jpg

But the core point we wish to make is that the firm does great work in non-NYC cities, at times, and the promise of Gwathmey's early work, the stuff that made him one of the New York Five, is simply unfulfilled. Projects like Whig Hall addition/renovation of 1972 shows an out-of-the-gate appreciation of the surreal tension created when Corbusian modernism stitched into American urban and rural contexts. It's a project that presages not pomo kitsch, but what happened after pomo, when 1920s modernism became just another historical meme to be played with, creating something entirely new. Or, viewed differently, that all historial memes would lose their historical significance, and everything from caves to pediments to s-curves and ship's handrails all were simply legitimate tools for the expression of architectural ideas. Some bigger projects (the addition to the Fogg at Harvard included) are extensions on this theme.

IMG_2974%282%29.JPG

Unfortunately, until the firm stops doing these segmented curved corners out of cheap aluminum curtainwall systems, with 80s-grid spandrel panels, with another blocky volume stuck on top of the building, as they are doing at 240 Park Avenue South, we are going to have to keep waiting for Gwathmey's promise to be fulfilled.

NYC Bookstores

event062.jpg

Awesome NYC bookstore alert: Storefront for Art and Architecture is having a micro-bookstore in the "eastern end" of the gallery. The bookstore is curated by Storefront luminaries known for their amazing book collections (ie Beatriz Colomina).

NYC has a dearth of great Architectural bookstores, at least in terms of the scale of those to be found on the west coast. Daily Dose, which pointed us to the Storefront bookstore, has also compiled a list of NYC bookshops.

Urban Age

03_UACD.jpg

We have long known about the conferences sponsored by Urban Age, but only recently did we discover their wonderful website. It's a handy repository of all the data generated do date from their conferences and research. Some of this work undoubtedly shows up in their new book (note to Phaidon: send us a review copy already), but it is irresistible to flip through it online.

Not only do they have pretty, if simple, comparisons of basic information of their key cities. They also have some extensive raw data from each city collected in both PDF and protected spreadsheet formats. Happy reading.

Every 15 Minutes Of Beauty

standard.jpg

New York City's Standard Hotel, the gorgeous building going up in New York City's Meatpacking district, proudly straddling the High Line as it rises, now has a website to match the building's awesomeness. The construction photo updates every 15 minutes.

Via the ever-vigilant Curbed.

Olafur's Waterfalls Revealed

2008_1_waterfall1.jpg

Pictures and coverage of Olafur's New York City Waterfalls were published by Bloomberg yesterday. Curbed tipped us off to this, and to a photo gallery of Olafur and the mayor doing official announcing stuff.

Our favorite part: that the waterfalls are not only powered by the river current, but they are supported by exposed scaffolding mimicking the kind used to build New York over the last century. Looks like we won't be traveling away from NYC this summer.

Eliasson Tops The Gates

eliasson_reversed_waterfall.jpg

Up for tomorrow: Mayor Bloomberg will announce Olafur Eliasson's city-sponsored installation "New York City Waterfalls", consisting of four waterfalls near lower Manhattan, in the East River. Until we get renderings, we will picture "Reversed Waterfall" from 1998.

Special add-on Olafur bonus for this summer: "The Parliament of Reality" at Bard College, a circular lake opening in June.

Quote Of The Week

kimmelmanspan.jpg
“One should be practical and not too pious,” he told a conference of art historians some years ago. Commercialism pays the bills, he said, and museums are not churches. But “it is the mystery, the wonder, the presence of the real that is our singular distinction and that we should proudly, joyfully proclaim.”
--Phillipe de Montebello, who announced this week he is stepping down as director of the Metropolitan Museum Of Art after 30 years.

Observations On Unhelpful Architectural Writing

hearst13.jpg

Architectural critics, like all art critics, are stuck between bald snap judgment and the extension of art history known as architectural history. It's a strange place to be, and the critics we admire tend to create new conversations about architecture in general, through their insightful opinions (IE Paul Goldberger) or their insightful riffing on architectural history (IE Robin Evans, RIP).

Click Continue Reading for the rest of the critique of the critics.