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The Best New Buildings of the Decade!

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With Curbed's new look and all, we figured what better time to look into...the past. We're not ready to close the book on the decade just yet?a dizzying era that gave us wonders such as the real estate boom (born: 2001, pronounced dead: Oct. 1, 2008) and, wouldn't you know it, Curbed itself! So we're rolling out a retrospective series covering all types of '00s insanity. Top of the Aughts stories will occasionally pop up through the end of the year, but this first is the biggie.

It's no secret we've been planning a look at the decade's best new additions to the New York City built environment. We heard from Curbed readers and consulted a large panel of well known local architects, architecture critics, and experts. We tallied the votes, wrestled with the order, then cast this list. Disagree with the selections? The order? Did we leave something out? Make your voice heard in the comments. And now, without further ado...

10) Hearst Tower
Location: 300 West 57th Street, Hell's Kitchen
Architects: Foster + Partners
Year completed: 2006
The skinny: Norman Foster's headquarters for the Hearst Corporation?a tower of triangular steel and glass rising out of the preserved six-story facade of the old Hearst building?has overcome some early knocks ("A DNA strand?!") to become the unlikely choice for most appreciated final gasp of a dying industry. Take that, Times Tower!

"Nice combination of historic base and modern tower that probably won't look dated in 20 years."?Sai Baba, Curbed commenter

"It has great character and focus. The exoskeleton is such a strong graphic statement that for us still stays within a language of architecture that is restrained. It is not some contorted sculpture but it does have articulation in those large-scale screens that is dramatic and compelling."?Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, Roman & Williams

"Zig-zag deco profile with a contemporary twist."?giorgio righi riva, Curbed commenter

"The dramatic glass and steel faceted tower above the six story Art Deco base create a dynamic visual symbol. A unique vertical column-less design and a design that saves energy."?Robert M. Scarano, Jr., architect

9) Alice Tully Hall
Location: 1941 Broadway, Upper West Side
Architects: Diller Scofidio + Renfro, FXFOWLE
Year completed: 2009
The skinny: One of Lincoln Center's most visible buildings, the Brutalist (and grim, don't forget grim!) performance hall hadn't had a major renovation since opening in 1969. Ol' Alice was sliced and diced inside and out, expanded to the east and lightened up with a three-story glass curtain wall.

"Liz Diller, Ric Scofidio and Charles Renfro were a crapshoot for Lincoln Center, which had eaten so many architects between acts at the Met. With the difficult politics and overfed egos, this had no business being so good."?James Russell, Bloomberg architecture critic

"A great contribution to the street. Shows the power and importance of great design."?Vin Cipolla, Municipal Art Society president

"A brutal mid-century box becomes welcoming and street-friendly concert hall."?Rick Bell, AIA New York executive director

"Improvements to the Broadway façade are brilliant and definitive."?James Gardner, The Real Deal architecture critic


8) Porter House
Location: 66 Ninth Avenue, Meatpacking District
Architects: SHoP
Year completed: 2003
The skinny: Like something from the future fell out of the sky and landed smack dab in Nightlifeville, Porter House is a cantilevering addition to an old six-story warehouse, the whole package converted to luxury condos. Zinc facade, floor-to-ceiling windows and mounted exterior light boxes that still mess with our minds after too many Ketel Ones & tonics at Pastis.

"An early-boom design project and fan favorite in the office."?FLAnk

"It is magical. It creates a beacon on a dark corner and acts like a huge vertical lantern on 9th Avenue. It is always interesting in a frenetic city to see architects use light as the building. The addition showed deep respect for the existing building."?Roman & Williams

"Intriguing during the day because it looks like a battleship has landed atop a not-very distinguished 19th Century industrial building and downright sensational at night when it converts into the city's grooviest 'lighthouse.' Let New York City realize that great architecture need not be demure and contextual!"?Carter B. Horsley, CityRealty, The City Review.

"The building is an icon for the Meatpacking District, stripey-lights hovering above us while we party in Milk Studios. That iconship would extend deeper into the West Village if the dumb Gansevoort Hotel wasn't in the way."?Chad Smith, architect and Tropolism blogger


7) 40 Bond
Location: 40 Bond Street, Noho
Architects: Herzog & de Meuron
Year completed: 2007
The skinny: HRH Ian Schrager and a couple of Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss sensationalists parachute down onto quiet, cobblestone-lined Bond Street and set off an avant-garde condo eruption in their wake. Okay, so nobody likes the graffiti gates, the Coke bottle building is still the Bond boom's best.

"Love the Coke bottle columns, the way they catch the light. The graffiti garlands are a little desperate, but NYers love spectacle (contrary to the constant whining) and 40 Bond delivers in a neighborly way."?James Russell

"If you can avert your eyes from the building's genuinely hideous faux-graffiti cast-aluminum gates, the building's curvy and oceanic green glass is a wonder to behold."?Max Abelson, New York Observer

"The apartments are unique, and spacious, like livable art galleries, complete with a touch of inflexibility."?Chad Smith

"The green-glass rendition of cast-iron-style 19th century facades is very impressive. The grafitti fence that failed to live up to its great design although the grafitti-inspired embossed walls behind it are oh so subtle."?Carter B. Horsley

6) 7 WTC
Location: 7 World Trade Center, Financial District
Architects: David Childs/SOM, James Carpenter Design Associates and a bitchin' lobby installation by Jenny Holzer
Year completed: 2006
The skinny: How does a 52-story skyscraper practically disappear from the skyline? When it's lost amid the feuds, headaches and hand-wringing over the rebuilding of Ground Zero. Or maybe it's just all that reflective glass. Either way, it's time 7 WTC gets its due.

"When the model was first unveiled, everyone (myself included) feared it would be yet another SOM modernist bore. In fact, David Childs has exhibited great discernment in designing this structure."?James Gardner

"One of the nicest and cleanest glass facades around."?FLAnk

"Demonstrated that simple, rectilinear, reflective-glass towers can be very stunning and very beautiful."?Carter B. Horsley

"For those who remember the World Trade Center site the way it had been, the former building of the same name, 7WTC, was the odd man out. Clunky and road-blocking, it contained a ConEd substation and the Emergency Management command bunker-in-the-sky. The elegant building that replaces it is exemplary for its curtain wall detailing, its environmental qualities, its attention to security and exiting concerns, and, as importantly, its integration of public art. A street friendly building that also points to the way that 21st century skyscrapers can point to the future."?Rick Bell


5) Cooper Union's New Academic Building
Location: 41 Cooper Square, East Village
Architects: Thom Mayne/Morphosis
Year completed: 2009
The skinny: The mothership has landed on the Bowery, and the meshy mindfuck caught oodles of votes in its web. End-of-decade bias at play? Perhaps, but we have a hunch the building's guts will be dissected for decades to come. Plus, bonus points for being interactive!

"The best new academic building in the world? Why not. The school is free and the building free-wheeling skip-stop and fun."?Rick Bell

"The city's most dynamically exciting building, bursting and shredding energy in all directions, a cauldron of imagination for Lilliputian New Yorkers unaccustomed to the wonders of modern architecture."?Carter B. Horsley

"This is real revolution for New York building, and provocative."?giorgio righi riva, Curbed commenter

"Its weird sensuousness plays with our fixed ideas of what buildings are supposed to do on the street. It's a bit asperger-y, splattering architectural expletives in every direction. But you still love it."?James Russell

"The curvy wounds Thom Mayne slashed into the building should look awful (like the poor Westin New York at Times Square), but they don't."?Max Abelson


4) New Museum
Location: 235 Bowery, Lower East Side
Architects: SANAA
Year completed: 2007
The skinny: Did these seven stories of stacked boxes change the Bowery forever? Does it look 10x better than any piece of art hanging inside? Do we still want this lamp by our bedside? Hell Yes!

"Up until August I lived in a sixth-floor walk-up, which would have been very awful if the roof hadn't had a seriously lovely view of the New Museum. All that anodized aluminum mesh looks very dreamy when the sun sets."?Max Abelson

"I love the New Museum as an object (the way the museum shimmers in the sunlight is great), but other than the lobby (decent) and the crown (a great vantage point and beautiful spot), the interiors of the galleries left me a bit slack. But the education center (designed by Christoff:Finio) is dynamic, intimate, and sophisticated, and might be the best space of the museum."?Andrew Bernheimer, Della Valle Bernheimer


3) Perry Street Towers
Location: 173 & 176 Perry Street, West Village
Architects: Richard Meier & Partners
Year completed: 2002
The skinny: Pick the boom-time real estate trend and Meier's 15-story identical twins kick-started it (the two have always been considered one entity, unlike the less-impressive Charles Street triplet that came later). Starchitect as sales pitch? Check. Oodles and oodles of voyeuriffic glass? Yup. The whole Far West Village thing? That too. And besides, Calvin Klein, Jean-Georges and Wolverine can't all be wrong.

"This was the project that taught the development community that design was not a waste of money."?James Russell

"Modernism comes to Greenwich Village and awakens New Yorkers to the WEST SIDE."?realitycheck, Curbed commenter

"These were the first Manhattan residential structures to be designed to express their structure in a Modern form."?Robert M. Scarano, Jr.

"Elegant and certainly set the stage for the boom's architect/design driven projects."?FLAnk


2) 15 Central Park West
Location: 15 Central Park West, Upper West Side
Architects: Robert A.M. Stern Architects
Year completed: 2008
The skinny: Robert A.M. Stern has spent decades writing books on how the richest New Yorkers once lived, so who better to build something for the richest New Yorkers of today? "Fifteen" is actually two buildings?"Tower" and "House"?and the Limestone Jesus was the biggest blockbuster of the boom and reminded developers about the allure of masonry over glass. A throwback to the grandest apartment houses of yore (motor court! reflecting pool! separate studio apartments for the help!), but with better plumbing and stuff. Over 120 Curbed mentions and counting!

"If I ever stumble upon great wealth and start monogramming my shirts, this is where I'd like to live. Visiting the place for a few hours is like bathing in honey."?Max Abelson

"15 CPW honed into the shelter lust of New World plutocrats seeking old New York luxury with Central Park views to boot."?Shannon Christmas, Curbed reader

"New York old money luxe created anew, if by 'anew' we mean 'built recently' and not 'new looking.' Stern used familiar cozy materials, layouts that were totally amazing in 1926 and proportions and rooms that make all New York apartment dwellers drool."?Chad Smith


1) The Standard
Location: 848 Washington Street, Meatpacking District
Architects: Todd Schliemann/Polshek Partnership, Roman & Williams (interiors)
Year completed: 2009
The skinny: 337 rooms, 19 stories, 4 bars and restaurants (at last count), 2 concrete stilts and 1 quote-unquote scandal's worth of angled glass and steel peering out over the Hudson River, all while coolly lapdancing over the High Line. An awe-inspiring balancing act that morphs into an even more striking sight once the sun goes down and the lights come up in the hotel rooms and on the High Line. Even the fire escape is a stunner. André Balazs FTW!

"Showed you could be big, gutsy and still be loved. Doesn't 'fit in' in some castrated faux historical way, yet doesn't bludgeon the neighbors with its strutting design either. And Balazs gets points for creating the urban legend that guests strip for West Side Highway drivers and High Line peeping Toms."?James Russell

"Perfect. Jealous. Biergarten. (Though blood has been spilled in our office debating the Meatpacking warehouse replica café at its base?)"?FLAnk

"Anything but typical.. A hotel where every room has a view, and?famously?can be viewed, is rare and special. New places to eat and drink go along with some of the best places to sleep, or whatever, in the City. You feel like you are on the High Line even when rain, sleet or, eventually, snow keep you inside and warm."?Rick Bell

"Those concrete stilts are the best pair of gams in town."?Max Abelson

And now, to salute the champion of the decade, bonus glamor shots!


· Best New Buildings of the Decade: Deleted Scenes [Curbed]

New Museum

235 Bowery, Manhattan, NY 10002 (212) 219-1222 Visit Website

15 Central Park West

15 Central Park West, Manhattan, NY 10023

173 Perry Street

173 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014

The Porter House

66 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY

40 Bond Street

40 Bond Street, New York, NY 10012 Visit Website