James Gardner --
Nasty, brutish and tall
42nd Street Yotel is cynically drab March 01, 2011 07:00AM By James Gardner
In the past generation, few areas of the five boroughs have developed faster or more fundamentally than the three-quarter-mile stretch of 42nd Street that extends from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson River.
Some of the high-rises that have sprung up along that stretch are fairly good, at least by the rather low expectations that one brings to New York real estate: among these are the Silver Towers, the Atelier and the Orion. But truth be told, as you pass in review of this entire thoroughfare, from one river to the other, there is no architectural firm that has done quite as much damage to its two-mile expanse as the firm of Arquitectonica. The parti-colored, Bozo the Clown façade that the firm designed for the Westin Hotel, completed in 2002 at 42nd and Eighth, is so incompetent in conception, and so poor in execution, that the only thing more astounding than its having been realized in the first place is the fact that the very same firm has now been suffered to design a brand-new hotel, the so-called Yotel, only two blocks west, at 440 West 42nd Street.....
....But even within the context of this new development's severity and simplicity, the architects appear to have little faith in the internal logic of their vision. It has been fatally betrayed by the six-story base of the building. Though this is every bit as boxy as the rest of the development, it has been improbably clad in a tawny, porous limestone that would not look very good on any building, one suspects, but certainly is wrong, both chromatically and texturally, when placed in such close juxtaposition to the black boxes that sit atop it. With the possible exception of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, these two hues are not usually seen together. There is a reason for that, and only the people at Arquitectonica seem not to have discovered it....
Haha. Read the rest of the review here:
I agree, can't see Arquitectonica getting too many more commissions in NY after this. I understand there was probably a very small budget for exterior flourishes, but all the moves they did make are awful. Such a waste of a large site.
Some past designs. The first and fourth are also Arquitectonica.