C21 Architecture in NYC

Today I’ve been exploring modern architecture and seeking out recent applications of terracotta in the City.

A good excuse to walk The High Line, which is a disued railway line that some artists have landscaped and planted to make a walk over the streets and through the buildings in the Meatpacking District towards Chelsea. I think its fantastic.

I started with Gehry’s 2007 building, notably his first in NYC, as it is hard to ignore as you walk the High Line. I couldn’t help darting off the track to have a closer look. I would love to see inside, the glass is tantalisingly opaque.

I must return in the evening to see it glow, I have a feeling I might like it better. Here’s an interesting article describing the conversations between Architect and Client throughout the design process.

I think Gehry’s new ‘rippley’ tower is incredible. This is its smart showcase website; at 870 feet tall the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere. I’ll seek that out another day. I think it really puts into perpective the towers that we nearly had on Brighton and Hove’s seafront. They were very controversial, but I think would have been incredible and certainly put Brighton & Hove on the map architecturally.

Well I was so focussed on Gehrys building I walked right past my first terracotta sight and had to walk around the block to get my bearings (strangley walking in a circle does it for me!). Quite simpley stated, the inky blue-black ribs of this apartment work well. Although, as I found, could go unoticed, perhaps because of the design of the building, rather than the undulating terracotta. Up close the complexity and depth of the glaze is absorbing and no doubt looks interesting at various times of the day.

Here are some detail shots.

I head on to the Chesea Docks to find a luxury apartment at 200 11th that you drive your car into and it gets lifted to your floor! This building does shout of something different, luxurious and elegant. The dark, lusterous bronze glaze of the lower floors is set off by the shiney upper floors. I enjoyed the sleek form, which helps.

I decide to walk up to Columbus Circle to take a look at the Museum of Arts and Design (MADD), the artwork inside as well as the external terracotta cladding. I walk along the water and enjoy being by the water as well as the slightly industrial edge of city environemnt. There are also some lovely green spaces that are quieter, with some interesting street furniture – it is all relative however, as they are nestled under giant underpasses.  I have a quiet respect for all the runners whose skin is ebbing and silky with persepration in the midday heat.

The Museum of Art and Design building commands a central location and as a free standing block with a squareish footprint, gently curved on one elevation, perhaps could have done more to explore the space.  Instead, I would agree with Susan Tunick that the creamy- white, slightly pearlescent cladding tiles are  a little understated.

Having said that the more I look at it, the more fond I become. Perhaps there is a depth to the surface of the glazed terracotta that the glass and mirrored surrounding scraper lack, yet they are still conversing on the same subject. There is something uncompromising yet subtle about the curved block form in simple tones. But I have to ask how many people of the thousands that pass through here will notice let alone spend time enjoying it as I have. It is certainly the case that having seen the exhibitions inside MAD they will be more than a little distracted and caught up in conversation about those rather than the building, but that’ the way round it should be, correct!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: