One Kenmare Square


Our friends at Curbed have adequately documented the history of the weirdness of creating an address like "One Kenmare Square" on a street that is clearly labeled "Lafayette". They also picked up a few of the typical reactions from around the Lower Kenmare Square 'hood. Behold the genius of off-the-cuff remarks from people who complain for a living: The project is too modern! Why doesn't it fit in more?! The neighborhood has red/brown brick, but they used black. Like, totally yuk!

(What is tiresome about on-the-street reactions is that they are just reactive, and as such generally sound like someone talking to the camera on the latest reality TV show, especially when they are about buildings, for which there are only two stock reactions from almost everyone on earth. Why is it so modern? Why doesn't it fit in more? Luckily, you have people like us who occasionally make up something new. New, not necessarily interesting. You be the judge!)


I think the building is f***in' fabulous. Gluckman Mayner took a typical New York development strategy (hint: rhymes with "extrusion") and shaped the space of the street out of it. It's particularly satisfying from the approach down Kenmare, one of the few mid-block building lots in Manhattan that also has an axial approach. The sculptural wave is a wonderful solution, because it shakes us out of our extrusionphilia (a modern take on Borromini's gesture for the Oratorio Filippino. The gesture is original but not overwrought. The materials are rich and interesting. The curtain wall is well-detailed with a beautiful glass. I'm resisting another longer dig at Gwathmey's Sculpture for Living, but I'll settle for this apophasis instead.


This building will be somewhere behind Meier3 on my list of celebrity-designed development buildings, but not very far.


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