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Thread: The Museum for African Art - Fifth Avenue @ 110th Street - by Robert A. M. Stern

  1. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    ^
    I like them.

    Nice scale.
    I like them too, but they're not particularly original. The same idea a century ago in Vienna:


  2. #47

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    The idea of African architecture in the US was the "original" part. Of course, one can find painted facades in Bavarian villages dating back centuries.

  3. #48
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
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    I think it works on the Viennese buildings above because the surface designs aren't fighting with the building itself. I like the idea, I just think it's execution on the Kalahari needs refinement.

  4. #49
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rapunzel View Post

    ... they should have hired the African starchitect of the African continent.
    The Smithsonian played a similar game when building the National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall in D.C., hiring as architect and project designer the Canadian Douglas Cardinal (Blackfoot).

    It was something of a farce. The design was compromised throughout the design > building process.

    Disagreements during construction led to Cardinal being removed from the project, but the building retains his original design intent, and his continued input enabled its completion.
    In the end the institution could claim -- truthfully or not -- that they had done the "right thing".

  5. #50
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    Originally Posted by Fahzee
    lofter already mentioned this, but the blank section of the wall that faces 5th Ave feels really, really cold . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Rapunzel View Post
    ^^^ Literally or figuratively?
    I guess I mean figuartively cold, because the blank wall seems like such an ignoble addtion to 5th avenue, making 5th Ave less important to overall site. I mean - 5th Ave is museum mile!

    but maybe you disagree? or maybe it's not worth it to critique the building based on two renderings (Who knows - RAM Stern may have a few surprises up his sleeve)
    And truthfully, the new building can't be any worse then the current vacant lot...

  6. #51
    The Dude Abides
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    This is disturbing, to say the least. Stern is almost universally lauded on this board as one of New York's best architects. I can't recall a similarly negative reaction to one of his designs. Is he losing his touch, or are we just not falling for his one-trick pony anymore?

  7. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianoman11686 View Post
    Stern is almost universally lauded on this board as one of New York's best architects. I can't recall a similarly negative reaction to one of his designs. Is he losing his touch, or are we just not falling for his one-trick pony anymore?
    This one's a different trick. That's why we don't like it.

    Stern's better when he's Stern, a copyist.

  8. #53

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    He has a certain over-willingness to bend over backward for clients or necessary compromises...hence the shifting of the condos toward the street. It doesn't really manifest itself in many of his buildings because they're almost universally accepted by NIMBY neighborhood groups, but when he is told to make changes, he almost overobediently complies. His dormitory project for Columbia, for example, was originally much more interesting, but a few negative comments from the M. Heights neighborhood groups and it was reduced to a similarly puke-colored, tacky box that makes more of a mockery than a complement to the local cityscape.

  9. #54

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    They should have looked at RAM Stern's previous high-rises and concluded that he is a no-talent when it comes to designing them. (His "thing" is low rises.)

    It turns out that almost all his high rises have that hospital look, and they are particularly reminiscent of Creedmoor Psychiatric Institutional Hospital. (Built in the first half of the 20th century, obviously not by him.) Take a look:


    Columbia University: Broadway Residence Hall (2000)
    You don't have to shell out for a big name architect to get something like this.

    http://www.ramsa.com/project.aspx?id=36



    Philadelphia, PA: Comcast Center, Office Development for Liberty Property Trust
    Just when you thought Philadelphia couldn't get any worse...

    http://www.ramsa.com/project.aspx?id=39


    Mexico City: Torre del Angel (2000)
    Not a hospital, but a gargantuan chunk of glitter for the Mexicans --
    because we all know those people like flashy things, right?

    http://www.ramsa.com/project.aspx?id=158


    Utrecht, The Netherlands: De Taats (Rendering, 2007)
    I hate to write in cliches, but something was lost in translation.

    http://www.ramsa.com/project.aspx?id=44


    Boston, MA: 222 Berkeley Street (1991)
    Although nicer than the others, (Stern's earlier designs generally were nicer),
    it ruins the Boston skyline and fights the old Back Bay architecture.

    http://www.ramsa.com/project.aspx?id=3



    And now, a twilight shot of Creedmoor, which is 5 miles from my house:

    A major renovation may be on the horizon. I know which architect they should call.



    All content except the last photo © 2007 Robert A.M. Stern Architects LLP, although I don't know why anybody would want to steal these ideas.
    Last edited by Punzie; February 14th, 2007 at 04:08 AM.

  10. #55
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    ^ I used to see that Creedmoor building everyday while driving on the GCP to work on LI.

    I've always thought it was some kind of prison or something like that. Its appearance was always so cold, dreary and depressing.

    Never in a million years would I have thought Robert Stern did that building.

  11. #56

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    ^ I don't think it's Stern. You're misled by Punzi's presentation.

  12. #57
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    Depends. Maybe what antinimby means is that the Creedmoor building is the opposite of a typical Stern building:

    Never in a million years would I think Robert Stern did that building.
    In any case, I think Rapunzel's comments are somewhat skewed towards the negative, but definitely echoed throughout certain circles. I've heard similar criticisms of Stern's work as being too Disney-esque, or too representational, or even just too "wimpy."

    I think we need someone like Stern out there to balance out the deconstructivist, all glass-and-steel troupe; otherwise, everything would look the same. Furthermore, he's cemented his reputation as an architect who is capable of emulating more classical building styles, by using nontraditional materials and techniques to yield a very traditional look. Overall, I think his buildings are among the highest quality around.

    Ablarc: what do you see in this latest design that's anti-Stern?

  13. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    ^ I don't think it's Stern. You're misled by Punzi's presentation.
    I didn't present anything misleading. In the beginning of my post I wrote this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rapunzel
    It turns out that almost all his high rises have that hospital look, and they are particularly reminiscent of Creedmoor Psychiatric Institutional Hospital. (Built in the first half of the 20th century, obviously not by him.)
    There seems to be a pattern of some people not reading my posts carefully enough, and then later on misinterpreting them... Keep up the good work -- Emerson said, "To be great is to be misunderstood."



  14. #59
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Rapunzel, no way that sentence you highlighted in red was there originally. You must have added that later on.

    I was indeed misled into thinking that those were examples of Stern's works.

    It's somewhat of a relief that the Creedmoor was done by someone else.

    It looks more like something out of H. Thomas O'Hara's portfolio.

  15. #60

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    The thing I donít like about Robert AM Stern is that his clients are hiring him as an A-List architect, that is they are giving him a budget that say a client that hires Costas wouldnít provide, essentially giving Stern the opportunity to use choice materials, which he does, and some freedom as to the building envelope, an exciting frontier which he rarely if ever explores or approaches. Almost all of his buildings are dreadfully dull, this one is no exception. That said Iím critical of at least 90% of new architecture in the city, acknowledging the few gems, and throwing a bone to some architects for thinking out side the box on a limited budget.

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