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Thread: 56 Leonard Street - 57-story tower - by Herzog & de Meuron

  1. #151

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    ^
    Ditto on that. The State Insurance Fund building is quite nice.

  2. #152
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post

    ... New York State Insurance Fund Building at 199 Church ...

    Cold War Bureaucratic Design at its best and most basic. It's A KEEPER.




















    199 church

  3. #153

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    To each his own. Moodys and LCOR's 545 Madison were much better buildings than this in my opinion.

  4. #154
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Agreed ^ Moody's was a terrific jewel-box of a building -- the high end of that same period of Cold War design.

  5. #155

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    I can't find it, but I have a photo somewhere taken from the east on Duane St, showing the contrasting deep red brick, and the inverted-tapered metal roof-building enclosing the mechanicals.

  6. #156

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    One of the things that I hate about this building is that, unlike many 1950's white brick structures that actually have really nice shapes, this is a box.

  7. #157

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    It has lots of detail. Also not shown in Lofter's photos is the large sculpture on the southern wall.

  8. #158
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    It also has a nice little pocket park just east of it, yes?

  9. #159
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Yes ^ it backs up onto the Tribeca Tower -- which was allowed to go taller via an infamous zoning "bonus" plaza.

    Since the H&dM tower won't be rising too soon it seems quite OK to allow this thread to meander towards a discussion of neighboring buildings.

    Agreed that the mechanical housing on the roof of 199 Church is fantastic (akin to those atop the Washington Square Village towers).

    More pics of 199 Church are in order -- and I'll do my best ...

  10. #160

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    ....Since the H&dM tower won't be rising too soon....
    I assumed that 56 Leonard was a fully-financed done deal that already was under construction. Is that not the case?

  11. #161
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    They're working on the foundation -- they recently laid the rebar for the floor of the sub-basement. What I meant was this: It will be some time before there's anything of much interest to post on that development because it probably won't even hit street level for a few more months.

  12. #162

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    They're working on the foundation -- they recently laid the rebar for the floor of the sub-basement. What I meant was this: It will be some time before there's anything of much interest to post on that development because it probably won't even hit street level for a few more months.
    Thanks for the info.

  13. #163

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  15. #165

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    One’s Huge, the Other’s Crazy

    A pair of showcase skyscrapers, ready to rise, give us a taste of the architectural delirium we crave.

    NYMag.com



    Normally this city frowns on building shapes that do anything more daring than go up and down or side to side. Sure, we have a venerable corkscrew in the Guggenheim, but we don’t have much truck with blobs, birds’ nests, leaning towers, or glass pretzels. A pair of soon-to-be-built condos nudge at that resistance to foreign forms, though, and suggest that even a weakened housing market still has some architectural kick. These two projects—one by the Swiss wizards of the Beijing stadium, Herzog & de Meuron, the other by the Dutch swashbuckler Rem Koolhaas and his Office for Metropolitan Architecture—keep their radicalism quiet, and both spring from the city’s heart as well as its turf.

    The more dramatic tower, if only because of its size, is Herzog & de Meuron’s 56 Leonard Street, which, at 821 feet, will be a gangly outlier in the low-slung skyline north of the financial district. It wears its solitude well. Any single floor evokes Mies van der Rohe’s masterpiece of almost-nothingness, the 1951 Farnsworth House, in Plano, Illinois—a transparent slice of space sandwiched between slender white slabs. Here, the architects offer a hectic revision of Miesian asceticism, adapted for a site where the Manhattan grid slackens into Tribeca’s loose weave of streets. They churn out dozens of variations on the Farnsworth idea, then take all those horizontal nests and pile them giddily toward the clouds. The shaft bristles with irregularly arranged balconies. Floor heights vary and the corners keep cutting away. The tower appears to get simultaneously narrower and wider toward the top, where the blocks are fewer but bigger and set more askew. It has a purposefully haphazard look, like a stack of books of different sizes that haven’t been aligned.

    There’s a canny intelligence behind the mess. From far away, the building looks like a pointillist notion of a skyscraper, with smudgelike windows and decks threatening to flee the lines. Zoom in on it, though, and the details snap into focus. Volumes interlock with satisfying precision, deep balconies create a painterly contest of highlights and shadows, and the tower appears to be resting nonchalantly on a shiny steel pillow sculpted by Anish Kapoor. As a gentle jab at Mies’s obsessions with rectilinear smoothness, Herzog & de Meuron have scattered soft convexities in every custom detail: The steel balcony railing has a fleshy curve, as do the voluptuous bathtubs and the window frames. (It’s all on view at 56leonardtribeca.com.) Even the concrete slab edge between floors will get dressed up in precast curves. And who could resist the textured walls around the pool, a continuous mosaic of coin-size metal tiles with a mix of tiny mounds and little depressions, like so many shiny navels?

    In modifying Mies with a touch of the baroque, the architects have also adapted the suburban home to a vertical habitat without losing its uniqueness. The tower’s shape broadcasts an anti-cookie-cutter aesthetic; no two floor plans are identical, which will complicate the lives of construction workers and real-estate brokers but act as a potent tonic to New York’s standardize-or-die commandment. Rem Koolhaas’s 25-story condo in the Flatiron district commits a similar act of affectionate subversion.

    In 1978, the same year that Herzog & de Meuron hung up their shingle, Koolhaas published his rhapsodic and epoch-making ode Delirious New York. In that book, he argued that this was a city of extremes, formed by constructive chaos and a fertile “culture of congestion.” But while Koolhaas has since dotted the globe with hallucinatory structures, here his extravagant designs—for a hotel at Astor Place, for the Whitney, and for MoMA—never progressed beyond the seductive scale model. Perhaps he has learned something about the limits of lunacy: His first freestanding building in New York, a mid-rise condo at 23 East 22nd Street that will shortly go into construction, is more sober but not more timid. Rather than impose an auteur’s vision on a recalcitrant town, he riffs imaginatively on the city’s vocabulary—specifically the classic New York setback, which was devised to safeguard light and air. Rather than moving toward each other as they go up, the two sides of the building lean eastward in a dance of setback and cantilever, like partners doing a tango dip. The move produces some minor showstoppers, such as a glass-bottomed bedroom and some similarly vertiginous balconies. But for the most part, the effect is admirably restrained. Koolhaas’s building acts as the mid-rise entry to a much taller tower on 23rd Street, an unremarkable glass pillar by Cetra, and it peeks around behind its oversize partner with a silent reproach: Couldn’t you do anything more interesting with New York’s nifty constraints?

    Half a block from the Flatiron Building, hard by Madison Square Park, and within spitting distance of the Met Life Building, 23 East 22nd Street occupies an architecturally sensitive node. Koolhaas has looked around with a panoramic eye and saluted much of what he saw. Partly for structural reasons, he opted for a solid skin with punched windows, giving the tower a feeling of old-fashioned thickness. The double-height windows on the penthouse floors, for instance, echo the arcade in Met Life’s crown. And the façade of concrete panels embedded in polished steel frames lends a little Chryslerite twinkle to the gabardine-gray exterior. Only the building’s upper and lower ends are unsatisfying. The top cuts off without ceremony or embellishment, like a joke without a punch line; the bottom meets the street with the same old glass wall. This is where Koolhaas might have indulged in another wild stroke or two.

    These two buildings won’t open Manhattan up to a generation of rococo skyscrapers. This isn’t Dubai. But they are hardy, quirky, and local enough to help future architects negotiate the relationship between their fancy and the strictures of New York. We’ll take our delirium a little bit at a time.

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