Lord Norman Foster, the hyper-modern British Pritzker Prize winner, is having a moment in New York, with numerous projects underway across Manhattan. But his latest hews away from the slick techno-futurism for which Lord Foster is best known, instead embracing a city landmark at one of our most famous intersections.
Last July, Spansh tile maker Porcelanosa, one of that nation’s largest producers of tiles and ceramics, purchased 202 Fifth Avenue for $40 million. Better known as the Commodore Criterion Building, the six-story granite structure once housed the Commodore Manufacturing Corp. and Criterion Bell & Specialty Co., two Brooklyn-based Christmas ornament makers (hence the building’s best known feature, a troupe of carolers permanently affixed to the second-story facade). Now, the 18,000-square-foot building will house Porcelanosa’s U.S. flagship, with interiors designed by Foster + Partners.
Those Zecekendorfs sure do love their starchitects.
From William Zeckendorf’s work with I.M. Pei and Minoru Yamaski in the 1960s and ’70s to his grandsons’ projects with the likes of KPF and, most notably, Robert A.M. Stern, who created both the brand new 15 Central Park West and the newly renovated 18 Gramercy Park South, the Zeckendorfs have a thing for high design.
Add to that now 50 UN Plaza, a 44-story condo tower on the East Side that will be Lord Norman Foster’s first residential commission in the United States. Mr. Foster is well known for his work on the Hearst Tower, World Trade Center Tower 2 and the new Sperrone Westwater Gallery on the Bowery, as well as a new commission for 425 Park Avenue for L&L Holdings. With this latest commission, he cements his place as an all-around architectural power in the city.
Who needs the Midtown East Rezoning to transform the area when you have intrepid developers and unlikely circumstances? O.K., so both of those are super-rare, so bring on the rezoning,
In the meantime, though, we can occupy ourselves with David Levinson’s daring plan to tear down 75 percent of 425 Park Avenue and replace it with a dynamic new tower by Lord Norman Foster. Foster + Partners have emerged victorious from a competition Mr. Levinson’s L&L Holdings held over the past few months between some of the world’s most high-profile designers. The British Pritzker Prize winner beat out fellow starchitects Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers (no Americans, unfortunately).
Two years ago, renowned British architect Norman Foster was tapped to design an underground expansion for the New York Public Library, a project that has seen little movement since it was first revealed. Foster + Partners may now be working on something above ground at Bryant Park as well, albeit it of an equally Read More