At first glance, I was thinking pretty much the same thing as you but upon further contemplation, I realized exactly why this is.Originally Posted by londonlawyer
First, we know Foster doesn't usually do boxes. Just look at some of his work mentioned in that article: HSBC in HK, Commerzbank in Frankfurt, Swiss Re in London and of course, our beautiful Hearst building to name a few.
These buildings are hardly what you would call boxes. In fact, I would even call them to be cutting edge.
So why I asked myself, would he do a simple box design here?
Again, it comes down to this being NY.
Abey Rosen, like any other developer in this city knows all too well how a proposed project can be easily rejected and knows how many hurdles he must overcome in order to get this (air-rights transfer) approved.
You've got the community board, this commission, that commission (even now there is supposed to be one last approval required from the Planning Commission).
He figured that in order to have the best chance to get through all this red-tape, would be to do an elegant but low-key building.
These organisations are not known to look favourably upon flashy or radical designs. Remember, this city has very conservative skyscraper tastes. Anything more elaborate is looked upon as threatening and out-of-context.
The second reason I could come up with is that Foster doesn't want to upstage the much-revered Seagrams.
Imagine the outrage it would cause here on this forum let alone the public, if he were to do something to the contrary.
Knowing this now, I have the utmost respect for him. Truly an admirable designer with tremendous foresight.