Nicolai Ouroussoff references Hitchcock and Uma as he concludes that sleek and stupendous living may not be so bad after all. Calling the Soho building (windows pictured, left) on Grand between Broadway and Mercer “more restrained,” the NY Times architecture critic admires Nouvel’s embrace of the cast iron-frame buildings of Soho’s manufacturing past.
Mr. Nouvel doesn’t reject this history; he tips his hat to it, showing us what can be accomplished through ingenious planning and calculated consideration of the setting. The building’s heavy steel frame, for instance, can be read as an updated version of those cast-iron structures that give SoHo its industrial character. The height of its five-story base loosely follows the cornice line of the masonry buildings along Broadway, and the upper floors are set back from the street to make room for large terraces, at eye level with the nearby rooftops.
The steel I-beamed exterior, he writes, calls to mind Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building on Park Ave. and the glass-and-steel grids of Richar Meier’s Perry and Charles Street residences – though he calls Nouvel’s touch, compared to Meier’s, “more slyly playful.”
As for the West 19th Street, it’s raucous and glitzy – and just steps from Gehry’s IAC building. The 1,650 window panes (detail, right) are set a different angles and the north and east exterior walls are made of black concrete and feature differently-sized windows.
Construction begins today at 100 11th Avenue, also dubbed the “Vision Machine."
As if the sparkling building needs two names.