Meander down one of the quiet sidestreets of Turtle Bay and you never know what you might discover?a recently uncovered architectural show-stopper, perhaps? Why, a Curbed tipster did just that this afternoon! "This townhouse type structure is on East 51st Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues," he writes. "The glass and metal façade is punctured with brick-size cutouts." Um, beg your pardon? Have a good look (there's a close-up in the above photo gallery) and you'll see what our tipster is talking about. There are indeed brick-shaped holes in the (metal? stone?) exterior, which create quite a shocking stand-out on this block lined with more traditional townhouses. Though what isn't traditional when compared to this thing? If you think what's on the outside in interesting, wait until you see what's inside.
Obviously we had to drop everything at once to pursue our new obsession. How did this sneak in under the radar? We're not quite sure, but after an intense Google Street View search we pegged the address as 324 East 51st Street. A recent permit issued for the single-family townhouse describes the project as a "renovation and enlargement," and the architect in charge here is Peter L. Gluck & Partners.
Surf on over to the Gluck site and all secrets are revealed. The project is listed as "Urban Townhouse" in the Work in Progress section. The reverse side of that wall is lined with 30 vertical feet of bookshelves to help block out the view from the street. Boo! Why go through the trouble of creating a facade of peepholes if there's no peep show in the end? We'll have to ask the house's owner, Jacob Schori, a Bear Stearns account executive (er, in 2004, anyway). The back side of the 18-foot-wide house is also very different, though not as much a statement as the front. So what do the critics think? Inspired or insipid?
· Gluck Partners [Official Site]