South Street Seaport

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Carter Uncut, Features, New Developments, opinion, Starchitecture, Urban Design

frank gehry bilbao museum

Image: Frank Gehry against his design for the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain

The Foundation Louis Vuitton in the Bois de Bologne in Paris recently opened and was another kudo for architect Frank O. Gehry whose Bilbao, Spain, branch of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1999 was widely regarded as the most important architecture project since the opening of the Pompidou Center in Paris in 1975. All these projects are Deconstructivist; they don’t fit easily into boxes and are not symmetrical. Their aesthetic tends to be chaotic, disorganized, aggressive, random and definitely unconventional, but also absolutely heroic, proud and defiant.

The Pompidou Center was huge and intimidating, a gargantuan power plant for some unfinished but gaily painted super ocean liner. By comparison, the Guggenheim was a shiny swirl of silvery metal cascading by its riverfront location in a staccato flurry of flamenco stomps. Vuitton is a whole other gesture altogether; an organic amorphous form about to devour a city, formed of glass, wood and concrete in rearing and overlapping fashion, a mad dash about enclosure.

All of these might just amount to a sophisticated bowl of cherries for architecture aficionados, except that this project was a baby of Bernard Arnault, the head of the luxury conglomerate that runs not only Louis Vuitton, the purser, but also bubbler Moët & Chandon, sipper Hennessy, dazzler Bulgari and fashionistas Dior, Fendi and Givenchy—all One-Percent darlings. These, of course, are not the only platinum brands but they’ll certainly do in an all-so-sizzling and svelte pinch.

You may now ask what has all this to do with our city.

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Real Estate Wire

One Vanderbilt Avenue by kpf and sl green
  • Manhattan Community Boards 5 and 6 want to redesign SL Green’s 67-story One Vanderbilt tower. [NYP]
  • Fresh Direct breaks ground for its South Bronx headquarters, but locals protest that it will further damage the area’s air quality. [NYT]
  • An opinion on why the proposed megatower on the pier would ruin the South Street Seaport. [NY Mag]
  • Long Island City sees a rise in condo development. [Bloomberg]
  • West Village townhouse at 79 Horatio Street sells for $21 million, double what it sold for two years ago. [Curbed]

Images: One Vanderbilt (L); Long Island City (R)

Featured Story

Features, holidays

NY Stock Exchange Christmas Tree

New York Stock Exchange Christmas tree via Mille Fiori Favoriti

Last week, we took a look back at the history of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree to mark the annual lighting celebration. Though this is probably the most famous Christmas tree in the world, many of us jaded New Yorkers would rather not deal with the crowds and traffic jams that come with visiting Rock Center. So as an equally festive alternative, we’ve rounded up some of the other huge trees illuminating the city this holiday season.

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Architecture, Major Developments, South Street Seaport, Urban Design

REVEALED: SHoP’s Scaled-Back South Street Seaport Tower

By Dana Schulz, Fri, November 21, 2014

SHoP Architects, Howard Hughes Corporation, South Street Seaportal

This week, the Howard Hughes Corporation gave a presentation to the South Street Seaport community about their residential tower planned for the waterfront beside Pier 17. The original design by SHoP Architects was 52 stories and 650 feet, but to satisfy concerns by neighborhood residents and elected officials about the tower’s appropriateness, the firm scaled back the design to 42 stories and agreed to also build a middle school and waterfront esplanade. But even this revised plan was met with much criticism at the community meeting; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council member Margaret Chin both expressed that they would not support the tower and likened it to plopping a high-rise in the middle of Colonial Williamsburg.

The luxury residential tower is part of Howard Hughes’s overall $305 million plan for the Seaport, which, if approved, would include a restoration of the historic Tin Building and a new home for the Seaport Museum.

More details on the project and revised design

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