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Thread: 524 West 19th Street - Metal Shutter Houses - by Shigeru Ban

  1. #76


    That ‘shutter’ concept is brilliant: innovative architectural design – beautiful AND functional.

    Speaking of ‘shutters’ – thanks for the amazing photograph below: in addition to the artfull photographic compostion, something looks different about that shot. I am guessing: very high-end digital camera. Nice.

  2. #77
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    "The view from the bathroom" - woah (and LOL)!

    Shigeru Ban in New York

    Mark Lamster

    In a few short years, Nineteenth Street between Tenth and Eleventh avenues has become a block-long showroom for contemporary architecture in New York. The western end has its starchitectural Scylla and Charybdis in Frank Gehry's IAC building and Jean Nouvel's mosaic-windowed condo tower, 100 Eleventh. At the east end is DS+R's reconfigured High-Line, and now in mid-block, between the Gehry and a crisp modern block by Anabelle Selldorf, is Shigeru Ban's recently completed Shutter House condo.

    Neil Denari's nearby HL23 has commanded a lot more ink than Ban's building—it hangs out over the High Line on Twenty-Third, begging for attention, and its protracted tale of construction, combined with Denari's slim portfolio and big LA reputation, have generated heat. Ban's building is better. Unlike HL23, which is merely a stack of floor plates, the Shutter Houses were conceived in section, each apartment being a complex set of duplex spaces running from front to rear. The building gets its name from the rolling metal shutters on its front facade, inspired by the industrial pull-down security gates familiar in the area, which shield ample terraces from the elements and prying eyes. Behind those screens, double-height windows create remarkably airy spaces with views looking across what's left of industrial Chelsea and out toward midtown.

    I am admittedly not the world's number one fan of Japanese minimalist chic, and some of Ban's decisions here I found perplexing. The lobby—and this is a problem with many upscale modern condos—is utterly sterile and banal, and no place for a guest to wait. The cantilevered balconies at the rear of the building are actually set on a slight angle, for drainage, and the result is that they feel flimsy and vertiginous, as do some of the interior spaces. Most creepy are master bathrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that afford those working at the extremely proximate IAC with a show.

    The view from the bathroom.

    It is, generally, hard for me to get excited about another new condo for the exorbitantly wealthy. Ban, however, is famously a good citizen, and this project hardly seems like a work of cynical profiteering or formalistic toying about. It would be nice if more buildings in this city, and not at just the very high-end, reflected so much creativity in the construction of spaces and in their reckoning with their urban heritage.


  3. #78
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    Big Deal | Restoring a Vision


    The penthouse at the Metal Shutter Houses, a condominium designed by the architect Shigeru Ban and located at an epicenter of modern architecture, on 19th Street in West Chelsea, was snapped up immediately after it went on the market in 2007.

    That was not unusual during the real estate boom. Many apartments, particularly those in buildings designed by celebrity architects, were sold sight unseen. To the left of the Ban building is a condo by Annabelle Selldorf; across the street is one by Jean Nouvel; and Frank Gehry’s IAC building is so close one could almost touch it from the terraces.

    Developers often needed only to show buyers a floor plan to secure a signed contract. And with the sale of the other seven duplexes in the condominium, it seemed the Metal Shutter Houses would avoid the financial wreckage that lay ahead in the 2008 housing market crash. The buyer, however, pulled out after signing a contract on the penthouse, which was listed for $10.5 million, and the deal fell apart in early 2010. (Developers would not identify the buyer or disclose what he had agreed to pay.)

    Before the closing the buyer had already remodeled the three-bedroom four-bathroom apartment, which has about 3,300 square feet inside and almost 2,000 square feet on terraces, balconies and a roof deck. The remodeling lent a decidedly traditional aesthetic to the minimalist space. This was not exactly reflective of Mr. Ban’s clean, high-tech style, which draws on traditional Japanese architecture and the International Style of Modernism.

    So after the deal fell apart, Mr. Ban, who is based in Tokyo but has offices in Paris and New York, came to Manhattan and spent several months redesigning the penthouse with Dean Maltz, the architect who runs Shigeru Ban Architects America.

    The two architects restored the penthouse’s original details and added some new ones. They replaced, for example, a wood-burning fireplace with a colorfully decorated flue that rises from the hearth to the 20-foot ceiling — in the middle of the stark, white-walled space between the living room and the dining room, Mr. Maltz said. They replaced hanging light fixtures in the kitchen with the original recessed halogen lighting and removed extensive paneling.

    The penthouse went back on the market in June, with an asking price of $12.95 million, and went into contract on July 23, according to Neither brokers with the Corcoran Group handling the listing nor the developers would disclose the sale price or the identity of the new buyer, and the developers also declined to say how much had been spent on the renovation.
    Mr. Maltz said that after the architects looked at the penthouse with fresh eyes, the changes they had made, among them adding a spiral staircase, “exceeded our original vision” of the design.

    The exterior has drawn much of the attention. The building has motorized, perforated shutters that residents can raise and lower, thereby constantly changing the look of the facade, or what Mr. Ban calls the removable skin of the building. When the shutters and giant windows open, they create Mr. Ban’s intended effect of living in a space that exists somewhere between indoors and outdoors.

    The 11-story building replaced a two-story space that had an art gallery on the first floor and a home for the gallery owner on the second. It was developed by the art dealer Klemens Gasser and Jeff Spiritos, the principal of Spiritos Properties and a partner in HEEA Development. They commissioned Mr. Ban, who is also known for designing emergency refuges in global crisis areas like Haiti and Rwanda, and who created thick paper walls and curtains for privacy in the shelters that were set up after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March. (Paper is one of Mr. Ban’s signature materials; he makes it durable by rolling it into logs.)

    The metal shutters were inspired by the rolling gates of the galleries and delis around West Chelsea. But Mr. Spiritos said that when the building first went on the market, the windows that open almost an entire wall of an apartment to the elements raised a few eyebrows.

    “People thought we were crazy to try this,” he said, adding that the developers were warned of potential lawsuits over water leaks and winter air blasting through the windows. “But we’ve been through two winters so far.”

  4. #79
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    Interest in a Property Grows With One Key Addition: An Architecture Prize


    When he won the Pritzker Prize on March 24, the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban had a very busy day. As the 37th winner of architecture’s biggest prize — the profession’s Nobel — Mr. Ban made all the major papers, had appearances on CNN and NPR, and even sat down with Charlie Rose.

    The day after Mr. Ban won the Pritzker, the Douglas Elliman broker Holly Parker had a very busy day, too. “The phone started ringing, and it just hasn’t stopped,” said Ms. Parker, who, thanks to Mr. Ban, has won a prize of her own.

    Since October 2012, she has been trying to sell a three-bedroom condominium inside the Metal Shutter Houses in West Chelsea, Mr. Ban’s only completed project in New York. The $7 million duplex already had Mr. Ban, one of the world’s best known architects, behind it, even before he won the Pritzker. The honor is not only for his distinctive homes across Japan and a branch of the Pompidou in Metz, France, but also for disaster housing utilizing unusual materials like cardboard tubes and shipping containers.

    Metal Shutter Houses

    The building is named for the individual perforated shutters that slide over to conceal the balconies and double-height living rooms of the apartments. In addition, floor-to-ceiling bi-folding glass doors completely open the interior space to the exterior.

    Karsten Moran for The New York Times

    Just as when an author wins a Pulitzer and suddenly a stack of books appears at the front of Barnes & Noble, bearing golden stickers, Ms. Parker’s listing was now on many buyers’ minds.
    “It’s like winning the Oscar,” said Michael Sorkin, the designer, critic and director of the Spitzer School of Architecture at City College. “You get showered with work and your fees go up.”

    “At least for once the Pritzker folks have honored someone who has a socially based practice,” he added, “even if it appears it’s the luxury side of his work that’s benefiting more.”

    In this second age of high-flying real estate, brand-name architecture and globe-trotting wealth, the identity of a designer has taken on ever-increasing value to ensure that a project’s multimillion-dollar homes stand out. Anyone can install waterfall showers and Wolf ranges. A Pritzker is harder to come by.

    Even for an architect who is as modest as he is inventive, it will be almost impossible for Mr. Ban to avoid the glare from the medal soon to hang around his neck.

    “Shigeru has been very clear that we should remain humble in this moment,” said Dean Maltz, the partner in Mr. Ban’s New York office. “I actually think it’s quite inappropriate to speculate about what could happen with our work.”

    But at his two projects in Manhattan — where Mr. Ban once studied architecture at Cooper Union under Mr. Sorkin and alongside Mr. Maltz — the sudden clamor for a piece of the prize is palpable.

    The Metal Shutter Houses, center, on 19th Street in Chelsea, was Mr. Ban's first condominium project in Manhattan.
    Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times

    This is true even as nothing has changed about these properties.

    “It was always one of the most spectacular buildings in Manhattan, and having him win the Pritzker validates that,” Ms. Parker said. Using a tried, and in this case perhaps true, apartment-as-art sales pitch, she added, “It goes from an appealing piece of real estate to a living sculpture.”

    At the Metal Shutter Houses, Mr. Ban and Mr. Maltz created unusual pairs of duplexes, eight in all. The homes are full of swooping lines, a Ban signature. Corners, cabinets and vanities are rounded rather than angled, and walls seem to float above the simple oak floors. Marble, brass and other hallmarks of ostentatious living are at a minimum.

    But who needs them when each unit boasts what might literally be called a parlor trick?

    The 20-foot double-height living rooms along West 19th Street are hidden behind the project’s namesake shutters, which roll up just like those on the galleries and warehouses across the street. Behind those are floor-to-ceiling windows, which flip up at the press of a button. With sliding doors out back, the entire space opens to the breeze off the river, and highway, half a block away.

    The owner of Ms. Parker’s listing, an entrepreneur from Miami, bought his unit in 2007, just as construction was beginning.

    Another early buyer was Jonathan Shia, a magazine publisher and son of a San Francisco businessman. The family, already fans of the architect’s work from his Nomadic Museum, erected on Pier 54 in 2005, bought a four-bed unit on the fourth and fifth floors for $5 million in 2009.

    Twin duplex penthouses designed by Mr. Ban are currently under development for the top of
    the Cast Iron House, a 132-year-old landmark building at 67 Franklin Street.
    Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times

    Now they are selling the apartment, having listed it for $8.5 million in February, so that the whole family can move in together in a townhouse. It is not an easy decision, but the Pritzker has made parting no different. “We always knew we loved the apartment — we don’t need an award to tell us why,” Mr. Shia said in an email.

    Janice Chiang, the Shias’ broker, had actually cut the price of the apartment two days before the Pritzker announcement, to $8.25 million. They have since discussed raising the price but decided to stick with the lower one in the hopes that, combined with the building’s new fame, it will sell quickly.

    “Especially with the new rich in Asian countries, it’s very common for people who are doing well financially; they do not want to be perceived just as rich but as someone with culture,” Ms. Chiang said. “It’s like buying an Hermès bag but better.”

    And also harder to come by, which has the developer Jourdan Krauss grateful for his decision a decade ago to hire Mr. Ban. He is helping Mr. Krauss’s Knightsbridge Properties transform a former textile factory at Broadway and Franklin Street in TriBeCa. Now that his 13 condos, with swooping lines and retractable walls in the penthouses, are coming to market this spring for $5 million to $15 million, buyers have been queuing up, with even more joining the waiting list since the Pritzker announcement, he said.

    “We haven’t changed the pricing, but there are only 13 units, each one one of a kind, so as they sell, we’ll be adjusting the prices accordingly,” Mr. Krauss said.

    Though Mr. Ban’s Pritzker could make it costlier to hire him in the future, some developers find a laureate worth the expense. “You can save a lot on plans, because you only have to change 10 percent of the project, instead of 90 percent; the vision is just so complete,” the developer Aby Rosen said. “And you also save a ton on the marketing. People want to write about these Pritzker projects, and an article is way better than an ad.”

    Gilbert Gomez, the superintendent at Metal Shutter Houses, said more people had been stopping by to inquire about tours (he politely turns them away). Page views for the building more than quadrupled on the popular listings site, to 1,042 in March from an average of 246 per month in the past year.

    Yet brokers on both available apartments are still holding out for their first offers, and as Ms. Parker knows, the Pritzker can be both a blessing and a curse.

    Just across the street, Ms. Parker ran sales at 100 11th Avenue, a 21-story tower with faceted windows that ripple in the sunset, designed by the 2008 Pritzker laureate Jean Nouvel. “We got a lot of so-called buyers who would schedule appointments just so they could brag about being inside a Jean Nouvel,” Ms. Parker said.

  5. #80


    That perforated slide-down metal gate is a great feature to add on to those large outdoor terraces: when using the terrace it can serve a purpose like a screened-in porch, or just a bit of added privacy, or simply a 'breeze blocker'. The glass wall that opens up the entire heigh and width of the room is another story; seems a bad idea to me - I personally can not imagine ever wanting to use that feature of the apartment.

    The architect should have quit while he was winning with that great idea for enclosing the terrace with a perforated metal'shutter.'

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