When Governor Cuomo revealed his plans for a new Penn Station-Moynihan Train Hall complex early last week, things seemed to be moving full steam towards a 2020 completion date thanks to flashy renderings and the selection of a high-profile developer-builder team. But architect Vishaan Chakrabarti was not convinced, and he and his firm the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism decided to create their own vision, one that repurposes Madison Square Garden, a facet of the plan he feels Cuomo failed to address.
Vishaan Chakrabarti reveals idea to repurpose Madison Square Garden as part of the Penn Station overhaul, Fri, September 30, 2016
Earlier this week, Governor Cuomo revealed plans to transform a revamped Penn Station-Moynihan Train Hall complex into a “world-class 21st century transportation hub.” Despite the flashy new renderings and promise of a 2020 completion date, not everyone is sold on the plan, including Vishaan Chakrabarti, former principal of SHoP Architects and founder of the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism. As outlined in the Times, he feels that Cuomo’s scheme has one glaring omission–Madison Square Garden. Instead of demolishing the arena, as earlier plans had called for, Chakrabarti proposes repurposing it and “using its stripped skeleton to make a glass pavilion, which becomes a neighborhood gathering spot, not just a station.” The venue would then move to the west end of the Farley Building.
Image: Vishaan Chakrabarti image © Henry Hung Photography superimposed on a model unit image
Vishaan Chakrabarti is closing out 2015 with a bang. After not only making a $4.995 million sale on his Flatiron loft earlier this month but also leaving his position at SHoP Architects to start his own firm, Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), the starchitect has just closed on a $5.78 million unit a FXFowle’s dramatic Flatiron tower, 35XV. According to the Post, Chakrabarti’s new pad measures just slightly smaller than his last at 2,324 square feet, but hosts three spacious bedrooms, each with en suite baths, and comes outfitted with a Lutron home automation system that includes touch-pads, remote controlled shades, lighting systems and temperature control.
Less than a month ago, 6sqft noticed that prominent architect Vishaan Chakrabarti, a principal at starchitecture firm SHoP, had sold his Flatiron loft for $5 million. We speculated as to why he was selling the massive pad, and though we’re still not sure, we do know he won’t be departing NYC any time soon. A press release put out today announces that Chakrabarti is leaving SHoP (he’s already been removed from the website’s staff page) to start his own firm, called the Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), which will focus on the advancement of cities. According to the statement, the new NY-based firm will work “to advance groundbreaking architecture and urbanism projects to build the physical, economic, social and cultural networks of cities with an emphasis on beauty, function and user experience.”
SHoP Architects is known for its cutting-edge designs, from supertall towers like 111 West 57th Street to massive schemes like the Domino Sugar Factory. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that one of the firm’s principals, Vishaan Chakrabarti, chose to settle down in a rather traditional Flatiron loft. But perhaps he’s looking to get in on the luxury condo trend that SHoP is such a part of, as he and his wife Maria Altaris (also an architect) have unloaded their massive pad at 12 West 17th Street for $4,995,000, according to city records released today.
Chakrabarti previously served as the director of the Manhattan office for the Department of City Planning, as well as a senior executive at the Related Companies. In addition to his current role at SHoP, he is a professor at the Center for Urban Real Estate at Columbia. The architect couple bought the full-floor, three-bedroom unit in 2012 for a significantly lower price of $2,725,000 after moving from a duplex in Tribeca with their young son and daughter. Chakrabarti told the Times at the time, “When I decided to become an architect and a professor instead of a real estate developer, it required a little lifestyle shift. More work for less pay.” Not deterred, however, they undertook a gut renovation, clearly referencing their design history books and outfitting the 2,500-square-foot space with modern Chesterfield sofas, a Saarinen dining table, Eames chair, and Barcelona bench.