Architecture Enthusiasts Crowd Gehry Buiding for MAS Awards

Livable-city activists celebrated the latest, coolest additions to the city’s urban landscape on Thursday inside the stark white interior of Frank Gehry’s first building in New York City, the IAC headquarters on 11th Avenue.

The occasion was the Municipal Art Society’s 2008 MASterwork Awards, which, according to the program, “honor the year’s top projects for their excellence in architecture and urban design, and their contribution to New York’s built environment.”

A motley assortment of New York boldface names showed up for the event, including Diane Von Furstenberg, there to receive a Best Historic Preservation award for the DVF Studio Headquarters at 440 West 14th Street in the meatpacking district.

So did developer extraordinaire Jerry Speyer, who served on the awards committee and who presented the Best Building awards; and Ann Buttenwieser, who accepted a Best Neighborhood Catalyst award for her Floating Pool Lady, that pool-in-a-barge parked last summer at the foot of Brooklyn Heights.

Her remarks were short, and appropriately idiosyncratic: “In my experience, people with obsessions are either excoriated or punished. How refreshing that I should be [honored] for mine.”

The other award recipients included:

The New Museum, which took the other Best Neighborhood Catalyst award; the IAC Building and the new New York Times headquarters, which took the Best Building awards; and the Museum at Eldridge Street, which took the other Best Historic Restoration award.

“All of the awards given tonight are in what might be considered bad neighborhoods a few years back,” said Kent Barwick, the society’s president. “It’s a testament to the vitality of New York that every inch of this city is being reclaimed. We’re living in one of the most exciting times in the history of New York.”

Architecture Enthusiasts Crowd Gehry Buiding for MAS Awards