Charles Gwathmey’s New York Architecture

Gwathmey first attracted attention with the Hamptons home he designed in 1966 for his artist parents. The compact (1,200-square-foot) amalgamation of boxes and cylinders cost $35,000. He renovated it in 2001, adding marble floors. All-in-the-family architecture remained a specialty through the years: In 2002, his stepson Eric Steel wrote a personal essay for The Times about working with the architect to renovate a Tribeca loft.

Faye Dunaway’s Central Park West apartment in the El Dorado was the first that Gwathmey Siegel & Associates designed. Completed in 1969, the monochrome palace features wide windows to maximize the 20th-floor view, plus curving walls and mirrored doors to set the master bedroom off from the main living space.

Gwathmey’s firm was responsible for the museum’s 1992 renovation and addition, building a 10-story box alongside the original Frank Lloyd Wright structure. Museum neighbors like Woody Allen and Jackie O. may have objected to Gwathmey’s original proposal, but Architecture Magazine praised the final result as “tasteful, discrete, and logical.”


Gwathmey’s 1983 apartment for Steven Spielberg sprawls over 2,500 square feet in a midtown tower. The space is warmer than some of Gwathmey’s earlier residential work, with wood paneling galore, built-in furniture, and brown marble floors. Gwathmey also built Spielberg a vacation compound in the Hamptons.


In 1995, Gwathmey produced a big, brawny modernist tower for the bank’s headquarters. Interior Design’s 1996 praise—“confident, confidence-inspiring”—remains on the Gwathmey Siegel Web site as a reminder of bigger, brawnier days in the world of investment banking.

Renovated in 2001, the ICP space occupies the ground floor and lower level of a midtown building. Gwathmey’s design serves as a particularly sophisticated blank slate, meeting the challenge of creating an aesthetically engaging space without overshadowing the art

The 2005 condo/retail tower was the object of widespread derision—“a tubular amoeba with a membrane of blue-green reflective glass,” snarked Justin Davidson in New York magazine last year. More damning, though was New Yorker critic Paul Goldberger’s dismissal. “Mies van der Rohe as filtered through Donald Trump,” he wrote. “This building could have been one of the best new buildings in New York—if only the architect had kept it simple.”


Although Gwathmey’s proposal for the UN (slated for construction in 2010) was conceived just before September 11, it cuts an imposing, defense-oriented figure. In a 2002 article on the new emphasis on security in civil structures,
The Times described it as “massively solid, essentially a high-rise bomb shelter with poured concrete walls 30 inches thick.”

A more successful addition to a historic neighborhood: Still under construction, this residential development features a curtain wall with three types of glass, which Real Estate Weekly described as “a dazzling interpretation of the strength and simplicity of the neighborhood's classic cast iron architecture.”

We noticed you're using an ad blocker.

We get it: you like to have control of your own internet experience.
But advertising revenue helps support our journalism.

To read our full stories, please turn off your ad blocker.
We'd really appreciate it.

How Do I Whitelist Observer?

How Do I Whitelist Observer?

Below are steps you can take in order to whitelist on your browser:

For Adblock:

Click the AdBlock button on your browser and select Don't run on pages on this domain.

For Adblock Plus on Google Chrome:

Click the AdBlock Plus button on your browser and select Enabled on this site.

For Adblock Plus on Firefox:

Click the AdBlock Plus button on your browser and select Disable on

Then Reload the Page