Thursday, September 11, 2008

New York looking more like Chicago

Posted By on 09.11.08 at 01:15 PM

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I haven't been to New York in a few years, but according to this piece by Justin Davidson in New York magazine (h/t Apartment Therapy) it's starting to look like Chicago.

Well, that's not actually what the piece says. It says that "New York is shucking off its aging walk-ups, its small and mildewed structures, its drafty warehouses, cramped stores, and idle factories," and that "in their place, the city is sprouting a hard, glistening new shell of glass and steel. Bright, seamless towers with fast elevators and provisional views spring up over a street-level layer of banks and drugstores." 

The essay's broken up by a 50-some-building side-by-side comparison of the new glass structures and what they replaced. The ones that remind me most of home, unfortunately, are the undistinguished ones, but a handful are pretty interesting, including Norman Foster's super-green Hearst Tower,  Tod Williams and Billie Tsien's American Folk Art Museum, Sanaa's New Museum of Contemporary Art, Bernard Tschumi’s admittedly clunky Blue, and (my fave of the bunch) Winka Dubbeldam's crumpled 497 Greenwich Street. (P.S. NY Mag: why no slideshow?)

The essay does mention Chicago, in noting that change doesn't have to be bad: "The most admired, most architecturally resplendent cities are the products of major destruction: Paris, gutted by Baron Haussmann in the mid-nineteenth century, Chicago and London, leveled by fire; Rome, radically reorganized by Pope Sixtus V in the late 1580s; San Francisco, flattened by an earthquake in 1906. I’m not advocating growth through trauma, only pointing out that periods of rapid change can be spectacularly constructive and that the results outlast the pangs."

 

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