One Mad Madness
As some of New York’s avid construction watchers have noticed, something is afoot at One Madison Park. Specifically, on the 22nd Street side of the site, where Rem Koolhaas and his firm, OMA, were once tapped to build a staircase-like 22-story tower, which was to rise from the townhouse-sized site and cantilever over the building to the east.
That plan is no more, done in by the recession and the original developers’ spectacular bankruptcy. Something is, however, now rising from the site, and the neighbors are wondering, what’s up?
Curbed published a tip in January suggesting that the building now rising will be six stories, which The Observer has confirmed with an executive from the Related Companies this afternoon. We also learned that the lobby, as the relatively squat structure is being called, will feature two full-floor duplex units, starting on the third floor and rising to the sixth. The architect, however, has not yet been named.
With the choice of four of the world’s greatest architects, how could David Levinson ever settle on just one to build a new tower at 425 Park Avenue?
“That’s my next job, to find three more sites so I can build all these buildings,” Mr. Levinson joked, seated at a conference table inside his sleek white offices on 57th Street on Monday. He was surrounded by renderings and models by Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers, Rem Koolhaas and the winning architect Norman Foster.
“For us, it was really a blend of what’s the right concept for Park Avenue, a place that has not had a new building for almost 50 years, an avenue that is quite possibly the most important commercial boulevard in New York City, quite possibly the United State, and what is the place of a new build down the street from Seagrams and Lever House, two of the greatest buildings ever built,” Mr. Levinson explained. “We had to determine for that setting what’s the right firm. So really, it’s a blend of the concept and the firm we can work with.”
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).
In what sounds like a cross between a party and a design crit from architecture college, L&L Holdings held four marathon sessions last week to explore proposals for replacing the tower it owns at 425 Park Avenue with a new modern office building.
Last year, L&L revealed it planned to tear down the 1950s office block and replace it with something new. A complication in the zoning meant L&L had to keep the bottom 25 percent of the building intact, otherwise the developer would be forced to replace the current building with something smaller. It tapped 11 of the world’s top architects to come up with their own plans, then chose four to present preliminary designs, which took place last week.
It is one of the stranger developments in the city, but it could also prove to be one of the most spectacular. David Levinson is poised to tear down most, but not all, of 425 Park Avenue—were he to totally demolish the tower, what he could replace it with could be quite a bit smaller, given a quirk in the 1961 zoning that reduced the density of the site, where a rather unremarkable and outdated 1958 tower now stands.
To fix this problem, L&L Holdings, Mr. Levinson’s development firm, tapped 11 of the planets top architects to sort out this challenge. He has now winnowed the designers for 425 Park down to four, according to The Times, with an unveiling expected shortly. All of them are Pritzker Prize winners with a mixed history in the city.
Silicon Alley U
The innovation offered by a new tech campus on Roosevelt Island is not limited to New York’s technology sector but the design one, as well. Almost every bid had soaring renderings and flashy flythroughs, most notably the winning entry from Cornell. Now the upstate university has announced six of the world’s top firms, including a few local favorites, are in the running to design the new tech campus.
Twelve percent of the Earth’s landmass is untouchable by Rem Koolhaas’ count. Whether a U.N. World Heritage site, plush nature preserve or lowly landmarked brownstone, architects are running out of room, with only 44,700,815 square-miles left to build. It is for this reason that the severe Dutch architect–The New Yorker once accused him Read More
A 13-year-old forgery ring busted in France, a ten-year restitution debate resolved, and the 400-year-old mystery of the Medicis’ death solved. This week in art news: It’s about time.
1. Brits Fight for Arts Funding
British art-world heavyweights have begun a letter-writing campaign to the government protesting proposed budget Read More
Once upon a time, two young men named Ira Shapiro and Marc Jacobs left Rockland County for the isle of Manhattan to build a tower all the way to the sky. Day by day, week by week, their tower at One Madison Park rose. New York’s glitterati took notice. Parties were held. Photographs flashed. Messrs. Read More
It’s been a tough couple months for two of New York’s most glamorous clothing retailers. While the weather is just warming up, they’ve already been feeling the heat.
First, the Rem Koolhaas-designed Prada store was engulfed by flames earlier this year. And now: Intermix.
In January, we reported that Intermix temporarily Read More