Last night, MoMA held an event to honor Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel and his much talked-about project 53W53, which is also known as the MoMA Tower for its location next to the museum and the fact that the institution will occupy three of its lower floors. Furthermore, its developers bought more than 240,000 square feet of development rights from MoMA, as well as the St. Thomas Episcopal Church, for $85.3 million back in September, at which time they also secured a $860 million construction loan for the 1,050-foot asymmetrical tower. And now that construction has moved forward and interior renderings of the condos were revealed, what better time to pat this long-stalled project on the back.
The celebration drew a diverse crowd, including Richard Meier, Martha Stewart, and broker to the stars Dolly Lenz. In a Q&A with filmmaker Matthew Tyrnauer, Nouvel discussed his inspiration for the forthcoming project. Dressed in head-to-toe black (down to his socks and tie), he also revealed that he has “no favorite color,” according to the Observer.
When Nouvel first saw the lot at 53 West 53rd Street he was shocked at how small it was. To make the most of the footprint, he decided to put the structural supports on the outside and work on maximizing the views. “I researched air rights—how to go as high as possible—and found this system with oblique lines, like a snake, that goes up to a very sharp point. I did not want to have a traditional facade. To have the glass directly in the structure you feel really to be in the sky.”
According to the Observer, “When Mr. Tyrnauer asked how he approached designing a vertical structure, as opposed to a horizontal one, Mr. Nouvel responded that it has to be ‘very singular’ because it is visible from afar and that one needs to ‘create roots. The structure should go down into the basement and not stop at the ground.'”
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