The critical reaction to Jean Nouvel's mountain of broken glass at 100 Eleventh Avenue has been mixed so far, but here comes a heavyweight to shape the discussion moving forward. The New Yorker's Paul Goldberger, author of one of our favorite architecture takedowns of all time, sizes up Nouvel's Vision Machine in West Chelsea, and...he likes it! In a piece that's also a Nouvel career retrospective as well as a public spanking of the City Planning Commission for decapitating Nouvel's MoMA Tower ("The commission wanted, in effect, to landmark the sky"), Goldberger explains why the facade gets him hot:
When the whole thing is put together, it looks like a vast, reflective Mondrian, or like huge glass shingles, randomly assembled. Each of the angled windowpanes—there are more than sixteen hundred—reflects light slightly differently, making the building glitter like sequins in the afternoon sun. If you are tired of the way every modern building feels flatter and thinner than the one before it, well, so is Jean Nouvel.
And, kaboom, he also got inside!
We've been repeatedly rebuffed in our attempts to sneak into 100 Eleventh, but Goldberger flaunts his access in our faces with this passage on the building's innards:
The apartments are awash with light, arrestingly refracted by the irregular pattern of the windows, and Nouvel designed every detail, from squared-off sinks and bathtubs, with faucets that operate by touch, to rolling stainless-steel kitchen cabinetry. There is a dark, serene lobby with windows giving onto a garden at the rear, in which trees sit in midair on planters built into the main structure. There is a seventy-foot swimming pool that is both indoors and outdoors: it starts in the basement and extends into the lower level of a garden courtyard.We've had a look at renderings of that crazy pool before, but Nouvel-designed kitchen cabinets?! Now we understand where that $50 million went!
· Surface Tension [New Yorker]
· 100 Eleventh Avenue coverage [Curbed]