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Thread: Harvard Club Expansion

  1. #1
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI

    Default Harvard Club Expansion

  2. #2
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

    Default Harvard Club Expansion

    This is nearing completion, isn't it? *If it is the building I think it is, it is actually quite striking on that block - very effective & dramatic.

  3. #3

    Default Harvard Club Expansion

    Yea, it should be done

    The Harvard Club of NY Expansion
    33-35 West 49th Street
    Davis Brody Bond
    8 stories
    Completed August 2001-Spring 2003

    Here's an old article from the NY Observer:

    In Roiling Coup at Harvard Club, Board Blasted Over Glass House
    by Alex Ulam

    There’s a coup d’etat brewing at the Harvard Club. The membership is squabbling over a modern, glass-sheathed addition to the club’s stately home on West 44th Street, near Fifth Avenue. Critics feel the addition, currently under construction, will wreck the aesthetic of the red- brick, 1894 neo-Georgian edifice. Some members gripe that the Harvard Club board rammed the design down the throats of the membership at large, and many are furious that the board sold a beloved John Singer Sargent oil painting to help finance the $25 million project.

    Now a group of these critics are taking aim at the Harvard Club board itself. A band of disgruntled members—who call themselves the Committee for HCNY Choice—have launched a bid to overthrow the current board. Set to come to a boil at a club meeting later this month, the insurrection is dividing the membership more than the tempest over admitting women in the early 1970’s.

    “The Yale Club and other clubs would die for what we now have,” the upstart *committee’s presidential nominee, Tim McLaughlin, wrote in a letter sent earlier this year to the club’s current president, Kenneth Standard, “and we are about to DESTROY it!”

    The HCNY Choice committee’s maneuver is unprecedented; never before has the Harvard Club witnessed such a brazen attempt to topple its reigning leadership. But HCNY Choice’s ranks include some heavy hitters, like Richard Jenrette, a founding partner at the Wall Street powerhouse Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, and C. Dixon Spangler, who has participated in some of the biggest corporate takeovers in history. Mr. McLaughlin, the would-be president, is a 1971 Harvard Business School graduate who is the chairman and chief executive of Westminster Publications, a publisher of scientific and medical journals. Leading the committee’s campaign are two young, tenacious business-school grads: Seth Faler (H.B.S. ’90) and Lloyd Zuckerberg (H.B.S. ’90).

    The HCNY Choice committee’s fundamental mission: kibosh the modern addition and replace it with a design more in keeping with the club’s old, red-brick exterior. Over the past year, the committee has taken several dramatic steps to re-examine the controversial glass-and-concrete structure, designed by the architect (and Harvard graduate) Max Bond of the firm Davis Brody Bond. The committee challenged the club’s board in State Supreme Court, wrote exhortatory letters to the membership lambasting the plan, established a Web site to do the same, and forced the club’s board to hold a rare “special meeting” to discuss the project.

    And they continue to press on, even though the addition is underway; it’s up to three stories, with five more to go. Mr. Zuckerberg—a freelance real-estate investor who has been convening weekly war councils on the balcony of Harvard Hall for the last several months—is readying the committee for a board-election showdown, expected to take place at the club’s annual meeting on Jan. 30. If successful, committee members pledge to democratize the club’ decision-making—and to poll the 11,000-plus members as to what kind of design they’d like to see. If the members reject the current design, HCNY Choice *will push to start over.

    How do they intend to make their case? Mr. Zuckerberg, like other members of the HCNY Choice *committee, declined to speak to The Observer about the committee’s plans; club rules forbid members from discussing club plans with the media. But the committee’s candidates face formidable challenges in attempting to overthrow the current rulers of the Harvard Club. Throughout the club’s history, the succession of power has always been handled through a process more typical of the old Soviet Politburo than a democratic state. A nominating committee, appointed by the club’s board, picks a single slate of candidates for the membership to choose from—and that cozy procedure has traditionally ensured an orderly and uncontested chain of authority. Never in its history has there even been an alternate slate of candidates to vote for.

    Privately, parties on both sides of the dispute say it’s too early to predict whether they stand a chance of winning election to the board. While the insurgents have big names and big bank accounts behind them, many of the club’s retired officers take a dim view of the challenge and have closed ranks behind Mr. Standard, the club’s current president.

    “I think that they’re totally uninformed; they’re nuts,” said former club president Walter N. Rothschild Jr., Harvard ’41. Mr. Rothschild, the former president of Abraham & Straus, added: “They should be ashamed of themselves.” (To be sure, the Harvard Club’s current board has its own formidable resources to draw on. The board retained Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, the law firm of former club president J. Dinsmore Adams, to handle the dissidents’ challenge.)

    The coming showdown was foreshadowed at a “special meeting” in August, when about 400 members packed Harvard Hall—an immense room with cathedral-high ceilings, stuffed animal heads, dark paneled walls and portraits of former graduates like Theodore Roosevelt—to air their differences on the club addition. During the session, which ran late into the evening, sources said that many members took turns at the microphone challenging Mr. Standard and the board, charging them with acting in an arbitrary manner.

    Mr. Zuckerberg, who had shown up with the proxies of 2,300 members opposed to the Bond design, was ruled out of order when he attempted to take a vote to determine how many members present wanted to consider an alternative design. Another member, Lawrence Lader—one of the founders of the national abortion-rights movement in the 1960’s—had his microphone turned off before he finished his tirade.

    “I said, ‘I am a 60-year member. Look, I went to Harvard; I thought we learned something about democracy there,’” Mr. Lader recalled. “‘Why don’t you just send out a ballot’—and I was cut off. Mr. Standard just turned off the mike. So I just used my old army drill-sergeant voice until they made me sit down.”

    Reached at his home on a recent afternoon, Mr. Standard—recently retired from the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius—cited club bylaws prohibiting members from discussing club business with the press and declined to comment. But other senior members rose to the club president’s defense. Former Harvard Club president Peter S. Heller said, “You cannot have 11,000 members voting on what style of architecture they like.” Mr. Rothschild said that Mr. Standard was working too hard to explain the board’s decisions, adding, “I told him he shouldn’t be having all these meetings to try to get people to like him.”

    Meanwhile, controversy over the new addition has spilled outside the walls of the Harvard Club. Commodore Charles Dana III and the officers of the New York Yacht Club—a neighboring landmarked Beaux- Arts building—are also miffed about a flashy glass-and-steel neighbor. “If you look at the [rendering of the] building at night with lights on, it’s pretty strong,” Commodore Dana said. “With this considerable controversy, there are going to be a lot of unhappy people—they [the Harvard Club board] have acted in a pretty arrogant fashion.”

    Within the architectural community, reaction to the Harvard Club addition was decidedly mixed. “The architecture of the new building is itself a historical style—it recalls in large part the corporate architecture of the late 1950’s,” said Richard Wilson Cameron, co-founder of the Institute of Classical Architecture. “From my point of view, it is hypocritical to say that it’s not legitimate to do a neo-Georgian-style building, but it is legitimate to do a building in an early Modernist or International style.”

    Robert A. M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture, questioned the need to diverge from the inspiration of the club’s original architects. Mr. Stern pointed out that reviving the Georgian style as an architectural identity for Harvard was a central theme of McKim, Mead & White, the firm that built many of the university’s buildings in addition to the original clubhouse. Mr. Stern also *said that he didn’t understand the need for a dramatic change: “Why is the addition so different from the main building, which had already been added to in a complementary way?”

    Mr. Bond, the addition’s architect, didn’t return The Observer’s telephone calls. Steve Fisher, a senior associate at Davis Brody Bond, also refused to discuss the controversy surrounding the project, though he did note in a Sept. 6 letter to The *New York Times that “the issues facing the club are multifaceted, many of them having little to do with the design,” and that “communication is as much an issue here as whether a contemporary addition is more palatable than a faux neo-Georgian pastiche.”

    Adding to the dissidents’ ire was the sale of one of the club’s most famous paintings, The Chessplayers by John Singer Sargent, to help bankroll the project. The $12.5 million realized from the painting’s sale to an unidentified buyer in December 1999—a record price for a Sargent painting at the time—is being used to finance the design and initial stages of construction of the new building. Many members were upset that they were not initially consulted about the sale of the painting. (News of the painting’s sale didn’t even make the club’s annual report for 2000, where the only evidence of its actually being sold is the listing of proceeds for an unidentified “sale of an asset.” Later, in an August 2001 letter to the membership, the club’s board referred to the painting’s sale as having come about due to an “unexpected opportunity.”)

    Some of the HCNY Choice committee’s candidates feel that the new building project has jeopardized the club’s financial health. There is worry about one-time assessments on members to help subsidize the addition; one committee member also expressed the concern that this controversial addition is just the beginning, that the club may even consider letting outsiders join.

    “Our fear is that a board that’s capable of selling off the artwork and building an inappropriate addition may be capable of making other changes, like admitting graduates of other universities,” said this committee member, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He added darkly: “As the Yale Club and Princeton Club have done.”

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    The Nation's Capitol (DC)

    Default Harvard Club Expansion

    I like that a lot. *Very cosmopolitan.

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