Our October wish of closings at Jean Nouvel's 100 Eleventh Avenue?aka Vision Machine, Shattered Glass, Prison Pal, Money Pit, etc.?actually came true! That's the tasty little crumb baked deep inside architecture critic James Gardner's review of the building, and a building rep confirms that some condos have closed. Here's the rub: Because of the freshness of the sales and the usual lag between closings and those deeds hitting the public realm, we have no intel on what sold, to whom, for how much. What we do have, however, is Gardner's review, and dude is not digging the Vision Machine. In fact, he says it pretty much goes against human nature.
After wondering why international starchitects do their dullest work in NYC (government agencies, arcane zoning, NIMBYs) and getting into the 23-story building's background and influences, Gardner takes a hammer to all that glass:
Seen in detail, the window panes have a certain syncopated jazz that has reminded more than one observer of the abstractions of Piet Mondrian. But as these plates extend across the entire façade of the building, they come to lack all sense of context. Furthermore, although such things are of course a matter of taste, the roughness and irregularity of the façade seem to go against the grain of a certain deep-rooted human need for smoothness and order and consistency. At the same time, the form of the building, considered in isolation from its cladding, is entirely undistinguished, something that could never be said for the latest renderings of the building that Nouvel is designing beside the Museum of Modern Art. In the curvature of its façade, oriented toward the south, this building is hardly distinguishable from many another high-rise in Lower Manhattan. In fact, Gardner writes, he much prefers the look of the building's one unglassed black wall, adding, "it would have been a far more compelling building" if all of 100 Eleventh looked like that instead. We don't speak French, but we're sure whatever came out of Nouvel's mouth after reading this review was not quite poetry.
· Fogging up the vision machine [Real Deal]
· 100 Eleventh Avenue coverage [Curbed]