Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ouroussoff, Frank Gehry, BIG -New residential buildings of New york city

Nicolai Ouroussoff not only calls Gehry's new tower the finest in NYC since Eero Saarinen's CBS, but also names the new age we are in as the "Digital Age"... "the turning point from the modern to the digital age"...

Frank Gehry's new downtown Manhattan residential building 8 Spruce Street, previoulsy called the Beekman Tower, and BIG's conceptual design for a geometrically striking courtyard residential block on West 57th street are the first residential buildings in New York City to catch my attention. They are both feats of digital means of form making in contemporary architecture. Despite this common feature, the ways in which the computer generated geometries have been conceptually employed are quite different. Gehry's facade ripples, in contrast to BIG's formal gymnastics are a decorative effect. BIG's optically engaging form is of a different upbringing, one that is three-dimenssional.

What I admire most in both buildings is what they were able to acheive with New York City and its buroctrats, real estate developers and community groups. Convincing a real estate developer to invest in a creative form in a city where creativity has been hindered for many years is not every architect's cup of tea. Fighting conservative community groups is another acheivement. Urbanistically what gains them an additional level of noteriety is their respective locations - the former in the devasted lower Manhattan and the later in the grit of mid town west.

What New Yorkers have to hope for now is that their feats spur future creativity in a city which has not managed to architecturally keep up with the energy of its residents and other participants.