The NY Times has a glimmering review of Frank Gehry’s first New York structure to actually get built. Architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff calls the IAC building, the headquarters for Barry Diller's media empire, “elegant” and “a much-needed touch of lightness” to the city’s skyline. Gehry’s latest, writes Ouroussoff, reflects how developers are paying closer attention to design.
Boasting “strangely chiseled forms that reflect the surrounding sky,” the IAC, one of several new towers along the West Side Highway, features more symmetrical forms to the north and more blocky ones to the south, he writes.
Here's more on the exterior:
The sail-like curves of the west façade seem to be braced against the roar of passing cars. The blockier forms in back lock the composition into the lower brick buildings that extend to the east.
Ouroussoff praises the interior, with its “smooth, uniform” lobby entries and the windows’ “horizontal, fritted white bands,” prefabricated panels and aluminum frames. He calls the 10-story staircase at the back of the building – the one that overlooks the Empire State Building – possibly “the most gorgeous service staircase anywhere in New York” but adds this parenthetical gem: “It has now been painted various shades of yellow, however, dulling the effect.”
There’s one feature Ouroussoff doesn’t like: the “bloodless” two-story atrium with stiff and flat glass partitions and a curbed staircase made of tigerwood and brushed stainless steel handrails, which “may qualify as the most blandly corporate space Mr. Gehry has created."
Okay, maybe two. Ouroussoff also blasts the sixth-floor corporate terrace for its messy geometry.
Joints don’t line up perfectly; corner look hurriedly patched together. At certain points the unusual curvature of a window, created by the building’s odd geometry, makes it impossible to span the opening with a single piece of glass, and the additional mullion creates an odd, patchwork pattern.
We need to see Gehry's building firsthand to make an assessment, but we wonder whether it merits the use of the words "odd" or "oddly" four times in one review.
For analysis of Gehry in New York and more on IAC, read New Yorker architecture critic Paul Goldberger's "Gehry-Rigged."
Photograph of the IAC Building by ranjit on Flickr