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Comments

Bob Marvin

Most comments I've read on this building have been favorable and the rendering in the NYT Magazine ads, which simulates a photograph taken at dusk, is beautiful, but, to me, this looks like the dreary glass boxes on Park Ave. N. of Grand Central (except, in this case, even uglier because it's so out of context).

The best thing I can say about this boring building is that it didn't displace anyone because it's built on the site of a parking lot.

t

I dont think GAP was lacking any life based on what people pay to live there, the park, the farmers market, the library, first saturday etc.............

t

I dont think GAP was lacking any life based on what people pay to live there, the park, the farmers market, the library, first saturday etc.............

PLG rez

Aesthetically GAP has lacked the variation in architecture that makes NYC a visually interesting place. So does PLG for that matter...

Mr. T

You down with OPP?

Ed

Although architectural reactionaries who whined about the facade added to the Brooklyn Museum will probably conjure similar arguments when discussing Richard Meier's building, I think this building is a brilliant, vital addition to Brooklyn's cultural center (museum/library/Botanic Gardens/GAP/Park area). LOVE IT!!!

Bob Marvin

Personally I really like the glass front of the Brooklyn Museum (although I'm enough of an architectural reactionary to think that re-building the original steps would've been even better (although probably not very practical--from what I've read they were so steep that hardly anyone used them).Still, I think a great location like GAP deserves something better than this mediocre building. What's original about a glass box with setbacks?

Charles

Meh. Very uninteresting - and it will loom over the much more interesting S&S Memorial arch.

As for the glass front on the Museum, it is neat as an independent piece but looks tacked on to the rest of the building. Bad match. That said, I love that the plaza in front is very user friendly.

babs

It doesn't really loom -- I was there last night and think it looks good. I'm with Ed on this one -- I think it's a nice addition, and if it turns out like the Meier buildings on Perry and Charles in the West Village it'll be great. And again, as Bob pointed out, no-one was displaced for this, it's one building, and a nice-looking one at that.

snowpoof

Um, the building looks very ugly.

I walk by it everyday and wince. What happened to the rule of architecture that respects and is organic to its surroundings?

Ed

I don't find his buildings to be ugly at all, but then, I don't equate "different" with "ugly." I find Meier's building to be quite original for a residential building. It's much more conceptual than standard residential construction. It's also much more than just a glass box - it's a building with its skin completely removed, such that there seems to be no external walls between the inside and outside world, thus articulating changes in our notions of intimacy and boundaries and how we define public vs. private space. It also has lots of virtues from the insider and outsider viewpoint. Perhaps not every residential building should be a Meier glass tower, but in a land of red brick and concrete, Meier provides a terrific counterpoint. Who knows whether this building become a classic or a novelty (or an eyesore, for that matter) - only time will tell. But I think it's a risk worth taking. Lord knows there is a dearth of attractive new residential construction in Brooklyn!

Bob Marvin

I think the emperor has no cloths (or, in this case, walls). Take a look at this article about the shoddy construction in Meier's Perry Street buildings:

http://tinyurl.com/tqnqw

(Scroll down to the article by Richard Lawrence)

Ed

Is it the same construction company, and have the problems been addressed this time around?

snowpoof

Rich and famous fall out of love with the 'Faulty Towers' of New York

By Charles Laurence in New York

(Filed: 09/05/2004)

Draped in glass with a soft aquamarine tint, and commanding uninterrupted views of the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, the twin towers on Manhattan's waterside Perry Street should rank among the most desirable homes on earth.

The towers were designed by the leading architect Richard Meier, and a who's who of the rich and famous - including Calvin Klein, the actors Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, and the disgraced home guru Martha Stewart - rushed to buy flats at $1,000 per square foot.

Martha Stewart paid $6 million for two floors of the north tower
Klein, the designer, paid $20 million (£11.2 million) to buy and decorate a three-floor penthouse in the south tower, making him the biggest investor in the project. Before signing the cheque, he even went up in a helicopter to check out his views.

For four years the apartments have been the talk of the town, ever since New Yorkers driving past the towers on the banks of the Hudson first saw their revolutionary glass "curtain" walls, and wondered what it might be like to live with the glitterati in such a place.

Yesterday, they got an answer when the new issue of Vanity Fair landed on the news stands with a shocking headline: Faulty Towers.

There is, it turns out, a giddy price to pay for architectural fabulousness and social prestige. The monthly service charge for doormen and cleaning has recently doubled from $2,000 to $4,000 (£2,200) - a significant increase even for multi-millionaires.

Worse still, the very fabric of the glass-clad apartments appears to be failing. According to the increasingly irritable apartment owners, the ceilings leak, the heating fails and the balcony floors buckle. Perhaps inevitably, lawyers are said to be circling, ready to deal with residents' grievances. As if Ms Stewart, who paid $6 million (£3.3 million) for the top two floors of the north tower, did not have enough to cope with after her recent conviction for obstructing justice, she has also suffered flood damage.

In a recent rainstorm, the magazine claims, her balcony overflowed, sending water cascading down the tower. Six levels below, Joe Castaldo, owner of the Style Council textile company, discovered that his expensive rosewood floor was so badly damaged in the downpour that it had to be ripped up and replaced. Some apartments are already on to their third new floor, the magazine claims.

"You won't believe what's going on in these buildings. It's a microcosm of everything ugly in human beings - beautiful, beautiful architecture desecrated by scandal, greed and gluttony," Vincent Gallo, the film-maker and actor, told Vanity Fair.

The towers were developed by the team that made a fortune in the 1990s with a series of Manhattan "boutique" hotels.

"It felt like Star Trek: you know, going where no man has gone before," said Richard Born, one of the developers.

Yet the excited owners were later taken aback to discover that the building's plumbing was set in concrete. They could not so much as move a sink or a bidet without drilling a hole in their downstairs neighbour's ceiling.

When Michael Jackson, the British-born head of Universal Television and former chief executive of Channel Four, wanted to do just that, Mr Gallo - whose own apartment was newly decorated - firmly said "No". Many other residents have taken the same line.

Paul Sinclaire, a friend of Calvin Klein, was the first to move in and had to walk a plank over an open drain to reach his door. When winter came, he discovered that the builders had forgotten to fit wall insulation. It was so cold that he "could not get out of bed".

According to Vanity Fair, he was offered a discount to move temporarily into a hotel. While he was there, he says, someone stole his watch and television set. He also discovered that the building's doorman had been charging curious tourists to tour his home.

Mr Castaldo recalled how he stood by his glorious glass wall one morning, admiring the rain streaming down it like a waterfall - and then reaching out a hand to discover that the water was flowing inside. "I fail to see how this is not going to go before Attorney General Eliot Spitzer," he said, referring to the legal official responsible for property laws and disputes.

The problems continued. A gunman who has never been caught began taking potshots at the towers. Though the glass panels cracked, bullets did not penetrate them.

It was enough to make even the most modest of homeowners complain, and the residents of the Perry Street towers are hardly that.

Many had already made exceptional demands of the developers. Kidman, for example, begged them to install a secret passage between her apartment and the parking garage next door so that she need never appear in public. The request was turned down.

Ms Stewart demanded that a special area be designated where her limousine drivers could wait for her. She, too, was refused and is now trying to sell her penthouse for $7.2 million. As for Klein, he has allegedly been pushing for doormen to be armed, for staff to wear designer uniforms, and for the gym to be moved to create more space for residents' mailboxes. Mr Gallo told the magazine: "I do object if Calvin suddenly wants an armed doorman, and I'm supposed to pay for it." Other concerns sound more petty. There have been complaints, for example, that Rita Schrager - the former wife of the hotelier Ian Schrager - has defied house rules that preserve the uniform appearance of the glass walls by hanging up white curtains.

More and more original residents are moving out. According to estate agents, they may sell in disgust but they should make a profit. The design of the buildings still mesmerises New Yorkers, and the value of the apartments is assured.

"The waterfront is becoming the new Fifth Avenue," confirmed Ron Teitelbaum, an estate agent. Some comfort, at least, for the disgruntled Perry Street residents.

Keely Weiss

No, no, no!

I've finally decided that I like the look of the building in the area. Somewhat. But isn't the building going to be luxury housing? We don't really need any of that in any borough of NYC... all living spaces already cost over $1 million (and sometimes they're nice, too).

What about low-income housing? An artists' hostel? Something we need more of?

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