Tag Archives: 2010

The Laureate

The Laureate is a modern condominium in a neighborhood dominated by landmark buildings almost a century older. The building is striking for its rounded corner, plentiful, ornate balconies, and sparkling white facades.

The Laureate Vital Statistics
The Laureate Recommended Reading

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Three Sisters – Downtown Brooklyn Apartment Towers

These three neighboring Brooklyn apartment towers along Flatbush Avenue Extension aren’t actually called the Three Sisters, but maybe they should be. From north to south they are: Oro (Gold), Avalon Fort Greene, and Toren (Tower). Besides proximity, they are similar in height (40, 42 and 38 floors, respectively), have similar luxury amenities, and have glass corner designs (wraparound corner windows) for spectacular views.

For each of these towers, check out the developer’s website, of course, but also the City Realty articles. This real estate broker has its own architectural critic, Carter B. Horsley, who was a real estate/architecture reporter and critic for The New York Times and the New York Post.

C_IMG_6880_1_2Adjust [4/4/2012 9:04:57 AM]Oro, designed by Ismael Leyva, Architects, is the eldest sister, completed in 2008. The 40-story building contains 303 condominium apartments, with asking prices reported in the range of $365,000 to $1.2 million for studio through 3BR units. Apartments have nine-foot ceilings (eight feet is the norm), floor-to-ceiling windows, granite countertops and other luxury features. The building’s amenities include a health club with indoor pool and basketball/racquetball court. Oro’s irregular shape allows five of the seven or eight apartments on each floor to have wraparound corner windows. The condo’s name has a double meaning: Oro (Gold) of course implies luxury; but it so happens that the address is 306 Gold Street.

Oro website: www.orocondos.com

City Realty architectural commentary: www.cityrealty.com/nyc/downtown-brooklyn/oro-306-gold-street/42134

D_IMG_6937_8_9Adjust [4/4/2012 9:12:45 AM]Avalon Fort Greene – the middle sister – is a rental building offering 631 studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments at monthly rents of $2,180-$5,000. Perkins Eastman Architects designed Avalon Fort Greene, which was completed in 2010. Like Oro, this 42-story residential tower has floor-to-ceiling windows and other luxury features.

Avalon Fort Greene website: www.avaloncommunities.com/

City Realty architectural commentary: www.cityrealty.com/nyc/fort-greene/avalon-fort-greene-343-gold-street/45851

B_IMG_6868_69_70Adjust [4/4/2012 9:02:21 AM]Toren is the smallest sister – just 240 apartments and 38 floors. Designed by Carl Galioto of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, it was completed in 2010. This is a condo development, also offering studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units at prices of up to $1.2 million. Toren’s unusual non-rectangular shape creates some odd-shaped living and bedrooms. Kitchens are open to the living/dining rooms – not even an “island” stands between sink, stove and sofa.

Toren website: www.torencondo.com/

City Realty architectural commentary: www.cityrealty.com/nyc/downtown-brooklyn/toren-150-myrtle-avenue/40806

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Cassa NY

Cassa NY is a slender white hotel/condominium tower that might remind you of those computer punch cards of the 1960s – rectangular windows appear to have been punched right out of the aluminum skin.

Cassa NY Vital Statistics
  • Location: 70 W 45th Street, just off Sixth Avenue
  • Year completed: 2010
  • Architect: TEN Arquitectos
  • Floors: 43
  • Style: Postmodern
Cassa NY Suggested Reading

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Trump SoHo

After unveiling plans on prime time TV (The Apprentice, June 2006), The Donald’s Trump SoHo lurched from one controversy to another. Having survived the gauntlet, the 46-story mirror-glass box now commands the local skyline – almost daring other developers to match it.

Of course anything that wears the Trump name is a lightning rod for criticism, but Columbia University architecture professor Mitchell Joachim is quoted (Wikipedia) calling Trump SoHo “one of the ugliest buildings in New York.” Architectural Record‘s Michael Sorkin stated, “As urbanism, it’s vandalism.” Sorkin sides with Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and others who sued to block the building, claiming it violated zoning restrictions. Trump prevailed, claiming the building was for transients, not permanent residents.

Work was stopped briefly in December 2006 when the excavation unearthed human remains – graves from beneath the former Spring Street Presbyterian Church. Work stopped again in 2008 when a concrete form collapsed, killing a worker.

The condo/hotel’s developers and interior design firm sued and countersued over payment/performance issues, and some condo buyers claimed that they had been tricked into purchasing units.

The architect, Handel Architects, points out that guests will have fabulous views in all directions. “The intent of the building design is to express the internal, dynamic life of the hotel and its relationship to its urban surroundings. The public theater of the hotel public spaces are revealed through clear glass, while the more private functions are concealed behind translucent glass.”

Preservationists point out that 46-story Trump SoHo is blatantly out of scale with a neighborhood of six- to 15-story buildings.

On the other hand, it does provide an interesting kaleidoscopic effect for sky photos.

Trump SoHo Vital Statistics
Trump SoHo Suggested Reading

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Langham Place

Langham Place (formerly Setai Fifth Avenue) is a towering grid of limestone, concrete and glass with emphatic vertical lines that mimic the nearby Empire State Building.

The 57-story building is a mix of retail (floors 1-3), 214-room hotel (4-26), and 164 condominium apartments (28-56). The 10-story limestone base has a rounded corner; a 46-story sheer concrete tower sits atop that. Unusual floor-to-ceiling windows – two panes angled with the bottom pane facing down, top pane facing up – are paired in columns all around. On the residential floors, corner apartments have wrap-around windows. The windows give Langham Place’s facade a unique faceted texture – quite striking from nearby.

The two-story flared stainless steel crown hides water tanks and other mechanical details, and elevator machinery. The crown is illuminated at night.

Among other notable projects in New York City, Gwathmey Siegel & Associates designed the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, W New York Downtown, and Astor Place Tower.

Langham Place Vital Statistics
Langham Place Recommended Reading

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Eventi Hotel-Beatrice Residences

Eventi Hotel-Beatrice Residences is a recent 53-story mixed-use tower at the edge of Chelsea. The lower 24 floors are the 290-room hotel operated by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants; floors 25 though 53 contain 302 luxury rental apartments and a residents’ lounge. The Eventi Hotel lobby opens on Sixth Avenue, while Beatrice Residences lobby opens on W 29th Street.

The facades of the hotel floors are precast concrete panels interspersed with large floor-to-ceiling windows in alternating patterns; the apartment floor facades are almost solid glass; the two sections are separated by a black band – a mechanical floor.

The hotel’s restaurants face the mid-block plaza – which is dominated by a jumbotron display. Windows in the four-story base can be lit with LEDs for a colorful display at night. A three-level, 500-car garage sits under the hotel.

Eventi Hotel-Beatrice Residences Vital Statistics
Eventi Hotel-Beatrice Residences Recommended Reading

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245 Tenth Avenue

Hovering over New York’s High Line in Chelsea, 245 Tenth Avenue is a shining example of metallic architecture. Or is it?

The stamped-steel and glass luxury condo (apartments at $5 million) presents complex facades: Stark stainless walls overlooking the corner gas station, random glass and steel patterns on the Tenth Avenue and High Line facades. The effect, according to the architects, is meant to evoke images of smoke puffing from the steam locomotives that once chugged along the High Line’s rails.

Real estate blog The Real Deal sniped, “To say that 245 10th Avenue is Manhattan’s latest contribution to the cult of ugliness is not necessarily as disrespectful as it sounds. Like the rebarbative High Line 519 one block south on 23rd Street, 245 10th Avenue is a particularly eccentric example of Mod-meets-deconstruction, with retro-glances to the aesthetics of the 1960s and forward glances to what we must pray is not the future of architecture.”

But the Empire Guides blog said, “245 10th Avenue is a stunning building overlooking the High Line Park and is one of the most impressive architectural spectacles along the length of the green space.”

Metal panels are becoming more common as architectural skin, but they invite comparison to elegant Deco-era classics like the Socony-Mobil Building and the Chrysler Building.

What’s your take?

245 Tenth Avenue Vital Statistics
245 Tenth Avenue Recommended Reading

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