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Real Estate

That Zaha Moment: New York Finally Gets the Avant-garde Buildings It Deserves

When the High Line first opened in 2009, many of West Chelsea’s new buildings felt like glamorous interlopers on the neighborhood’s still somewhat-gritty streets—sleek, incongruous showplaces whose sophistication often came across as borderline awkward. The neighborhood was gaining a reputation for high design, but its early exemplars still seemed ill at ease. Frank Gehry’s IAC headquarters, whose eye-catching opaque glass panels rose up, lovely but alien, above the exhaust fumes and grime of the Westside Highway, for example, was a beacon of architectural brilliance in a stretch otherwise populated by self-storage facilities and warehouses.

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