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Thread: Charles Gwathmey Modernist Architect Is Dead at 71

  1. #16


    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    Actually, it has some things in common with Pei's apartment buildings of the Sixties.

  2. #17


    ^ Yeah, plus the ones he built on Philadelphia's Society Hill and Boston's Waterfront.

  3. #18
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    A nod to Richard Meier?

    Gwathmey's Parting Gesture at Crocker Art Museum

    The Sacramento museum unveils one of the final projects designed by Charles Gwathmey

    Lydia Lee

    The simple geometric forms are arranged to create a double-height entry rotunda and galleries generously lit by saw-tooth skylights.

    Yesterday, Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum unveiled its new expansion by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates of New York. At 125,000 square feet, the $75 million addition becomes a new architectural identity for the oldest art museum in the West. Yet it also represents one of the last major works by Charles Gwathmey, who passed away last summer.

    “Charles said that everyone has a little bit of a desire to be an architect, and he wanted everyone to have that experience,” said Lial Jones, director of the Crocker. “He was very open to taking ideas from others and it was a terrific collaboration.”

    The new structure is interconnected with the Crocker's two Victorian buildings.

    The firm has been responsible for several other high-profile museum expansions—most famously, an addition to the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed Guggenheim in 1992—and was selected to prepare a masterplan for the museum in 2000. At that time, the museum’s main display space was the portrait gallery in one of its two 1860s Victorian buildings, which meant that over 95 percent of its 15,000-item collection was sequestered away in storage, including an extensive collection of master drawings.

    Connections between the addition and the victorian buildings are reinforced by dramatically framed views.

    On the exterior, the new structure is a massing of simple geometric forms. Interlocking cylinders create a dramatic double-height entry rotunda. “Because the new building is three times the building we were connecting to, we tried to break down its scale, expressing it as a series of mini-buildings using zinc, white metal panels, and glass, so that it didn’t appear as one big bulky mass,” said Gerry Gendreau, the project architect.

    “We tried to develop a dialogue between the modern and historic elements in the most sympathetic way we could.”

    An expansive glass wall faces a courtyard between the new and historic structures.

    To bridge the contemporary addition with the interconnected Victorian buildings, the firm worked to match up the floor levels. To that end, it sunk the auditorium below grade, placed the administrative offices on the second floor, and placed the galleries on the third. The 35,000 square feet of galleries are primarily daylit, using sawtooth skylights. To showcase the old gallery’s ornate form, the entrance leads to a hall with a 120-foot-long window wall that frames the historic building across the courtyard.

  4. #19


    Nod ? Hmm… I’d call it a steal frankly, albeit between friends.

    In fact, IMHO much of Gwathmey’s work through the years has looked somewhat Meier-“inspired”, but blander.
    Of course with clients like David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg he didn’t run the risk of being called “the poor man’s Richard Meier”…

    Meier’s Smith house, 1967 :

    Gwathmey’s Cooper house, 1969 :

    Meier’s Saltzman house, 1969 :

    Gwathmey’s Katzenberg residence, 1993 :

    Meier’s Old Westbury house, 1971 :

    Gwathmey’s Bel Air residence, 2001 :

    Last edited by neuman; November 11th, 2010 at 01:33 AM.

  5. #20
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Charles Gwathmey and Robert Siegel's bold vision for the city is celebrated in two new works

    One of the first 'starchitecture' firms had a dramatic impact on NYC skyline with creations like 'Sculpture for Living' and Jewish Children's Museum

    By Matt Chaban

    Paul Warchol
    The U.S. Mission to the UN by Gwathmey Siegel

    The work of architects Charles Gwathmey and Robert Siegel seems ill-suited to New York. Their love of brash geometric buildings mixing sharp angles and swooping curves is at odds with the city’s rigid grid.

    But Gwathmey Siegel & Associates was, and is, one of the city’s most successful and influential architecture firms of the past half-century. To see its indelible impact on the skyline, look no further than a pair of new monographs just released by Rizzoli.

    Gwathmey, who died of cancer in 2009, was often described as macho, and his work with Siegel has a certain swaggering elegance. Take, for example, the undulating “Sculpture for Living” condos that ripple above Astor Place.

    “We always felt there was an abstract and artful nature to making buildings, going back to ancient times, but it should never be abstract for its own sake,” Siegel tells The News.

    It’s larger buildings like the glassy Astor Place tower that are the focus of “Gwathmey Siegel 3: 2002-2012” — and it’s in those projects that their suave strut sometimes comes off as out of step with the surroundings.

    The “Sculpture for Living” was a shock when it opened in 2004. Yet the project heralded two important changes: the coming transformation of Astor Place and the rise of starchitecture as a selling tool in the city.
    “It’s a major downtown intersection, deserving of a major work of architecture,” Siegel says. “We wanted something that floated over the space, rather than occupying it.”

    More successful is the similarly curvaceous Jewish Children’s Museum, which brought just the right amount of whimsy to staid Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights.

    The same spirit can be seen in a penthouse for hedge-fund titan Stephen A. Cohen at the Bloomberg Building, or a duplex for an apartment collector where the piano hangs over a balcony.

    Even at the bunker-like U.S. Mission to the United Nations — one of the first federal buildings commissioned after 9/11 — Gwathmey Siegel creates an inviting entrance with a sweeping roof and well-placed Alexander Calder sculpture.

    A frequent challenge for the architects has been marrying their work to that of others, whether it’s building across the street from the U.N., creating an addition to the Guggenheim, or constructing a tower two blocks north of the Empire State Building.

    But that high-rise is one of the firm’s finest large-scale works, and it gets a loving survey in “400 Fifth Avenue,” shot by star architectural photographer Evan Joseph.

    “Doing a book about a single building is a huge challenge, but they created so much variety at 400 Fifth, it’s hard to know what to shoot,” Joseph says.

    The 60-story tower is home to 214 hotel room, 157 condos, a restaurant, spa and just about everything else that has come to define modern New York City living.

    A mix of prewar shapes and 21st-century materials, the tower zigzags into the sky. Inside, guests and residents twist and bend their way to the unusual rhythms of the city.

    “We’ve always been building among landmarks,” Siegel says. “Hopefully we’ve created a few, too.”

    David Sundberg
    The 'Sculpture for Living' on Astor Place

    Kayleigh Jankowski/Rizzoli
    Steven A. Cohen's apartment, by Gwathmey Siegel

    David Sundberg
    The Jewish Children's Museum

    Paul Warchol
    Art collector's penthouse duplex by Gwathmey Siegel

    The '400 Fifth Avenue' monograph on the architects' work

    Evan Joseph Images
    The dramatic lobby at 400 Fifth Ave. by Gwathmey Siegel

    Evan Joseph
    A bedroom at 400 Fifth Ave.

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