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Thread: InterActiveCorp HQ - 555 West 18th Street @ West Street - by Frank Gehry

  1. #1
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    Default InterActiveCorp HQ - 555 West 18th Street @ West Street - by Frank Gehry

    October 14, 2003


    Ship of Glass for Chelsea Waterfront


    Frank Gehry's design for InterActiveCorp's New York headquarters, to be built on the West Side Highway near the Chelsea Piers complex.

    The proud city sails on. Frank Gehry has designed a New York headquarters for Barry Diller, the media and e-commerce mogul. The new building will be opposite the Chelsea Piers sports complex, on the West Side Highway between 18th and 19th Streets. It will also be on the East Side of Bicoastal City, the dual metropolis that has emerged from the symbiotic cultural competition between Los Angeles and New York. Buda, meet Pest.

    Looking something like a tall ship in full sail, the nine-story glass building will house offices for Mr. Diller's InterActiveCorp, a group of Internet businesses with a focus on travel. They include Expedia,,, Citysearch and Ticketmaster.

    With typical Gehryesque frankness, the design appears to reflect New York's present preoccupation with ornamental building tops. If the top is what counts, why bother with the base and shaft? Just go for the crown! Seen in this way, the low-rise Diller building evokes the grand tradition of skyscraper design epitomized by the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and 70 Pine Street. It has all the romance of those towers, but at a more human scale, as befits the horizontal sweep of the riverfront location.

    The articulation of the glass facades also breaks down the bulk. From the West Side Highway, the building appears to be composed of individual modules, stacked in two tiers. Each of the modules is formed by giving a five-story rectangular solid a one-quarter twist. The edges of the rectangles become curves.

    Mr. Gehry has used a single example of this module once before, for an office building in Hanover, Germany. Here, he groups them together to fill the zoning envelope of allowable bulk. On the side facing the river, the elevation will resemble a row of five glass town houses, crowned with three stretch penthouses. The upper tier is set back from the lower, to allow open, rooftop terraces.

    The facades are nearly plumb with conventional building lines, especially along the side streets, where the walls are again broken down into smaller envelopes. Undertaken by InterActiveCorp in partnership with the Georgetown Company development firm, the building, scheduled for completion by early 2006 and with 165,000 square feet, will eventually provide quarters for about 500 employees. There will be underground parking for 70 cars. Though Mr. Diller will retain offices in Los Angeles (in a building to be remodeled by Mr. Gehry), the new building, signifies a shift in his business interests from entertainment to tourism, which has itself emerged as a leading form of entertainment in the era of globalization.

    Glass is the key feature in this design. Indeed, even more than Christian de Portzamparc's LVMH Tower on East 57th Street, the Gehry design could radically transform the use of glass in New York buildings. The design employs super-clear "white" glass, etched with a white pattern that helps reduce energy costs. Visually, the effect is somewhat ectoplasmic, as if to denote that more and more of us have two addresses now: one on the street, the other in cyberspace.

    I have my own version of the "broken windows" theory of urban decline. It's called the "cheap glass" hypothesis. Both concepts deal with the power of small causes to produce big effects. The broken-windows theory, which got great play in the Giuliani administration, states that when smashed panes aren't quickly repaired, it signals neglect and decline. Neighborhoods become targets for burglars, who beget drug dealers, prostitutes, muggers, murderers.

    The cheap-glass theory states that when so-called "value engineers" are hired to reduce building costs, mirror glass quickly follows. Mirror glass induces low self-esteem, depression, poor citizen morale, reduced productivity, strained personal relationships and ultimately broken windows of the soul. This is not the way to go.

    New York has missed out on glass. People came to associate it exclusively with International Style office towers of the postwar decades. In response to a glut of that architecture on the market, architects and clients began to look nostalgically toward pre-war masonry buildings. The glut now is of brick and cast-stone buildings that appear entirely constructed of processed cheese.

    Perhaps it was good to get away from glass for a while. A design like Mr. Gehry's gives the material some of the novelty it possessed early in the last century. Because of technological advances, glass should be seen as a luxury material, not as a cheap way to enclose space. Its use should be encouraged by government agencies with the power to grant financial incentives to developers.

    After Richard Meier's two new residential towers on Perry Street, the Diller building will be the third great piece of glass architecture to arise on the West Side Highway. The project arouses visions of a strip of first-rate contemporary design stretching alongside the new promenades of Hudson River Park. Perhaps nothing can fully compensate for the loss of the great trans-Atlantic liners that sailed off in the early 1970's. But it helps immensely to see the architectural imagination at work in a design that captures the lure of faraway places.

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

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    "Gehryesque frankness"

    Get over yourself, Herb!

  3. #3


    Though he would loathe the comparsion, Muschamp's prose resembles the interior of an overblown Baroque church, filled top to bottom with ornament and curlicues. There's a message in there, but you have to look past a lot of frippery to find it.

    The fellow should take a step back from from all the hyper-modern architecture he's constantly overpraising and seek in his writing to emulate Mies van der Rohe. Simple, clean lines go a long way.

  4. #4


    Ha Ha Ha.

    And it can't be all that great because Herb isnt euphoric. And Herb is always ecstatic over architectural stardom, just like a giddy school girl...

  5. #5


    Oh; actually I just saw a picture of it. I love
    Munch...could'nt you have just wrote it looks like the top of

  6. #6


    I can't wait to hear what the NIMBYs complaints about this one will be.

  7. #7


    Easy. NIMBY complaints can be summarized as follows:

    1) The structure is far, far too large. The building's bulk will blot out out the sun and lead to chronic health problems for both humans and Hudson waterfowl;

    2) The entire neighborhood of Chelsea should be declared a "World Heritage Site" by UNESCO;

    3) The several hundred new workers the building will house will dangerously overburden the city's transportation and sewer infrastructure;

    4) Those same workers' craving for overpriced beverages will lead to rampant gentrification, destabilizing the neighborhood and leading to chaos that will ripple through all five boroughs;

    5) The battered warehouses that would have to be razed were once visited by Edgar Allan Poe in 1845.

    But one of these concerns would be enough to delay the project for months, if not years. All five...foggedaboutit.

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    Really funny, JD. You completely summed it up!

  9. #9

    Default Godzilla-sized

    Mmmm....SASHIMI :P

  10. #10


    Perfect location for a signature building. I like to see the waterfront developing as a showcase. Hurry before Trump-like development oozes south.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Godzilla-sized

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasonik
    Mmmm....SASHIMI :P
    Indeed, it resembles a vertical display of thick slices of fish. Bravo.


  12. #12
    Senior Member JonY's Avatar
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    Sydney Australia


    Mmmm, Gehry desiiiiiigned sashimi :shock:

    Quote Originally Posted by JD
    Easy. NIMBY complaints can be summarized as follows:

    4) Those same workers' craving for overpriced beverages will lead to rampant gentrification, destabilizing the neighborhood and leading to chaos that will ripple through all five boroughs
    Comment on point 4. I thought NIMBYS were already the rampant gentrified lol.

    Franky's architecture is not liked by everyone, but I like his work. However, the render of InterActiveCorp's New York HQ looks more conceptual than an actual planned structure. Needs a couple of obvious windows at least.

    His monumental works are often likened to ships/liners (as the article states about IAC N.Y. HQ) eg. Bilbao Guggenheim (BTW It does have windows and skylights):

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    Could be nice. Love seeing the continued "glassification" of the West Side Highway. This will be one hell of a postcard someday.

  14. #14
    Senior Member JonY's Avatar
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    Sydney Australia



    The former showing vague window outlines (I just thought they were horizontal features) and the latter showing more obviously, the windows.

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    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – October 14, 2003 – IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:
    IACI) today announced that the Company’s new headquarters, designed by Frank Gehry,
    will rise in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. The IAC Building will begin construction
    by early 2004 and is expected to be fully completed by end of year, 2006. IAC is
    developing the building in partnership with The Georgetown Company (TGC), a
    privately-held diversified real estate company based in Manhattan.
    Barry Diller, Chairman and CEO of IAC/InterActiveCorp, said, “As our need for space
    grew, we began to think it might be advantageous to create our own working
    environment. While much about the future is always unknown, we’re confident that
    InterActiveCorp is at its early growth in a business sector that is at its beginning…and
    we’re at a stage where it’s sensible to put down roots in a buoyant and exuberantly
    imaginative way. With more than 25,000 employees and 116 locations in 31 states and
    20 countries, and operations spread out across Manhattan, we wanted one place where all
    our activities could find common ground, tailored to the particular needs of a company
    engaged in the cutting edges of Internet ecommerce life. Three things came together that
    made the decision for us. The first was being able to work with Frank Gehry, the second
    was finding a unique location, and the third was finding a trusted building partner in The
    Georgetown Company.
    After months of planning, we have a design for a new building we believe will not only
    be great to work in, but will delight all who come within sight of it, in an area of the city
    that is just beginning its reformation. As part of the building’s core concept there will be
    a ground floor public space and a restaurant that will reflect and utilize all of the IAC
    brands and be as interactive as we and Frank Gehry can conjure.
    We are very committed to growing our corporate headquarters concurrently with the
    growth of our many businesses, and we are pleased that New York City both affords us
    the opportunity to build a unique and landscape-defining edifice, and benefits from the
    investment IAC is making in developing a corporate presence in Chelsea.”
    Eminent architect Frank Gehry said, “We're really excited to be working in New York
    City with Barry Diller and The Georgetown Company to create the new global
    headquarters of InterActiveCorp. The chance to create a culturally relevant corporate
    presence in Chelsea is a great opportunity for all of us and we intend to do something
    really special.”
    About The Georgetown Company
    The Georgetown Company (TCG), founded in 1978, is a privately-held, diversified real
    estate company. As an owner/developer and development manager, Georgetown and its
    principals have developed, own, and oversee in excess of 15,000,000 square feet of
    office, residential, retail, and recreational properties. For more information, please visit
    About GehryPartners and Frank Gehry
    Gehry Partners, LLP is a full service firm with broad international experience in museum,
    theater, performance, academic, and commercial projects. Founded in 1962 and located
    in Los Angeles, California, Gehry Partners currently has a staff consisting of over 125
    people. Every project undertaken by Gehry Partners is designed personally and directly
    by Frank Gehry. The staff of Gehry Partners includes a large number of senior
    architects who have extensive experience in the technical development of building
    systems and construction documents and who are highly qualified in the management of
    complex construction projects. In addition, the firm relies on the use of CATIA, a highly
    sophisticated 3-dimensional computer modeling program originally created for use by the
    aerospace industry, to thoroughly document designs and to rationalize the bidding,
    fabrication, and construction process.
    Raised in Toronto, Canada, Frank Gehry moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1947.
    Mr. Gehry received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern
    California in 1954, and he studied City Planning at the Harvard University Graduate
    School of Design. In subsequent years, Mr. Gehry has built an architectural career that
    has spanned four decades and produced public and private buildings in America, Europe
    and Asia. In an article published in The New York Times in November, 1989, noted
    architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote that Mr. Gehry’s “buildings are powerful essays
    in primal geometric form and.. . materials, and from an aesthetic standpoint they are
    among the most profound and brilliant works of architecture of our time.” Mr. Gehry
    has received more than 100 awards from the American Institute of Architects to honor
    outstanding architectural design.
    About IAC/InterActiveCorp
    IAC/InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IACI), formerly USA Interactive, consists of IAC Travel,
    a division of the company that encompasses Expedia, Inc., which oversees Interval
    International, TV Travel Shop, and IAC has entered into an
    agreement to acquire Hotwire, which is expected to close during the fourth quarter of
    2003, subject to customary regulatory approvals. The other operating businesses of IAC
    are: HSN; Ticketmaster, which oversees Evite and ReserveAmerica;, which
    oversees; Entertainment Publications; Citysearch; Precision Response
    Corporation; and LendingTree. The goal of IAC is to be the world's largest and most
    profitable interactive commerce company by pursuing a multi-brand strategy.
    IAC Corporate Communications
    Deborah Roth, IAC Corporate Communications, 212/314.7254
    Gehry Partners
    Keith Mendenhall, 310/482.3000

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