As a fellow Torontonian, I have naturally had an affinity for rock star architect Frank Gehry. Since he completed Bilbao’s Guggenheim, he’s been on top of the world and amassing a huge following. Recently, one of his designs was inaugurated in Chelsea.
Its been a long time coming for Gehry…his downtown Guggenheim design was axed post-9/11–people said it resembled the WTC wreckage. Thankfully, the new InterActiveCorp headquarters (a Barry Diller company) is less disaster-laden and resembles a “ship of glass” in a sea of rectilinear forms.
In the last five years, Norman Foster added his two-cents to the architectural dialogue of Manhattan with his 46-story Hearst Tower (quite elegant), Renzo Piano had his go with the New York Times building (an abysmal failure), and Fox & Fowle found a plum spot to display their talents on the Conde Nast building (just plain boring). Now it’s Gehry’s turn.
Five thoughts about Gehry’s latest and greatest:
- Its plastic sheath and frosted windows ignites my futuristic imagination.
- Up close the building is less impressive than from afar (and it looks better in photos than in real life).
- Gone is the shock and awe of Gehry’s earlier architecture and what remains is the refined sculptural forms of a 78-year-old veteran.
- The building is simply cool and seems fitting as the home base of an internet/retail empire.
- The night I stood in line for the Roxy nightclub’s closing night (earlier this month), I noticed (as the line snaked around the building) there was something inviting about the building’s curves…even during that wet and nasty night, it was infinitely more friendly than the boxy buildings next door.
Now, let’s see if Gehry’s upcoming downtown Brooklyn makeover is anything to blog about.