The Increasingly Complete Two-Dozen List


Somewhere at a previous writing job, I mentioned the possibility of compiling a list of about two dozen celebrity-architect-designed luxury condominium buildings in New York, all between 20 and 40something units. It's a moment, with many similarities to when Mies was hired by Herbert Greenwald to develop then-unknown modernist glass boxes for Chicago's booming housing market. Like that moment, there is money, and therefore appetite, for experimentation and star branding.

My invitation to you, dear reader, is to point me in the direction of something missing. FYI, there are a few that I know about it, but I cannot talk about it. Non disclosures, yo.

The incomplete list after the jump.

(all namings are my nicknames, which all my friends have been hearing me call these buildings since i saw the first renderings).

1. Meier3 at 168 Charles. I know it's cool to rip on Richard Meier. Particularly after that article about the ketchup he uses when grilling. But living next to 168 Charles when it was going up changed my mind about him. As long as I skip future ketchup articles.

2. Calatrava at 80 South Street. A great answer to a Managing Director of Goldman Sachs' question "what shall I do with my $29m bonus this year"? The only problem: not built yet, the developer sold the land they are going to develop (chew on that for a while) and they need $7m downpayments for this collection of renderings and watercolors. But rock those renderings.

3. Nouvel at 40 Mercer Street. Because the website for the project is so annoying, I'll just point you to TripleMint's analysis. The sliding curtain wall panels alone get us to this number.

4. Gluckman Wave at One Kenmare Place. Would be higher on the list, but the wave is just a hair generic, and not sun/site specific (or did the fact checker miss a rendering?).

5. Meier1 The North Tower at Perry Street. I like the smaller one better, so it's higher on the list. Its floorplate appears to be even more useless. Useless the way the Farnsworth House is useless. If you can deal, Meier can deal. Deal?

6. Meier2 The South Tower at Perry Street. More useful floorplate. If you're going to drop $5m for a pad, a little element of architect-induced uselessness (the century's new bling, yo) is very apropos.

7. Enrique Norten in Tribeca. The fact checker is working on this one. This slot may change.

8. Winka Wave at 497 Greenwich Street. Walked by this one every day during its construction. Panels of curved glass appeard to crack several times and had to be replaced during construction. Mies had the same problems with his curtain wall, too. The curved glass is gorgeous. Then, they clipped on these annoying aluminum trim elements and covered it all up. Still, the architect experimented with the curtain wall, so I put it a little above the average mark.

9. (lines intentionally left blank).





14. Switcheroo nArchitects at 109 Norfolk. If this is real, I'll move it up on the list.

15. Winka Vestry Street. Have no idea what this actually looks like, but the developer seems crazy enough to make it interesting. If only in how they spend a zillion dollars and not make any money interesting.


17. Phillip Johnson at 330 Spring Street, The Urban Glass House. I've probably mentioned somewhere that I worked on the interiors of this when it was in the hands of Rogers Marvel Architects, and we had something of a detente with Johnson's office. I did better Johnson plans than his office was churning out, and I used his own Glass House as a reference image, to boot. Annabelle Selldorf is doing the inside now. But the building is low on the list because I am familiar with the developer's commitment to good architecture, and the inside-outside architect weirdness. Not because of the interior design.



20. Gwathmey at Astor Place, The Sculpture for Living. or whatever my former editor liked to call it. I've written so much about this, a simple search should give you a rough picture of what I really, really think.

21. Lindy's baby Highline 519. Kidnap this building, please. Watch for falling clip-on grilles, which if removed would render it...even less interesting. We'll take the esteemed Triple Mint's word for it that this looks better in model than it does in rendering.



24. TschumiBlue on the Lower East Side. Look, for the longest time, I totally thought Gwathmey had the last position locked up. But this one takes the cake. It's exactly the same trick as Arquitectonica's Westin Hotel (look! multicolored curtainwall glass!!) minus the groovy light-up strip. Waiting for that interior rendering which makes me wrong, wrong, wrong, but everything my former dean says about the project screams lazy. Please, I like to be wrong.


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