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A Critic's Top 10 Takedowns of Frank Gehry's Beekman Tower

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Maybe Donald Trump didn't rig the competition to get "a hideous assault on the Lower Manhattan skyline" up to 22 percent of the votes in our 8 Spruce Street naming poll. At least one vote could have come from Real Deal architecture critic James Gardner, who files an epic takedown of what's now called New York by Gehry at Eight Spruce Street. Some Gehry fans disagree that the building's design is totally without purpose, and we, too, still have our fondness for the Beek. But it's not enough to stop us from pulling out our favorite of Gardner's anti-Gehry zingers. Let's begin at the beginning:

10) "Why is it that the nearly completed 8 Spruce Street, a silvery pylon formerly known as the Beekman Tower, seems so thoroughly sad and unimpressive? Say what you will about Frank Gehry's previous projects; at least they were never dull -- until now."
9) "Just as a peacock, under its feathers, is no different from a turkey, so 8 Spruce Street -- shorn of its trappings, and notwithstanding a slight asymmetry in the massing -- is not greatly different from most other high-rises in the city. There are many of the same old rigid right angles to it, lurking under all the fuss and feathers of its shiny cladding."

8) "With a few exceptions, like the Sydney Opera House and a few Bedouin tents, buildings were not in the habit of billowing before Frank Gehry came along to puff them up, and I suspect that there is a good reason why they did not..."

7) "His latest effort...beetles above the main campus of Pace University and glowers across the expanse of City Hall Park."

6) "There is something depressing in the spectacle of this lionized star on the international scene thoroughly defanged and declawed by the forces of dullness."

5) "The five-story base of 8 Spruce Street...which will house the school, is covered in red brick that is entirely alien and inappropriate to the metallic waves that cover the 70 stories above it."

4) "But it just doesn't have the feeling, the conviction, the antic sense of fun that this style is supposed to have, and that Gehry's earlier projects certainly did."

3) "New York City is where the world's most daring architects come to complete their dullest projects."

2) "Here you see the typical Gehry idiom depleted and reduced to absurdity. This is as much as admitted by the architect and the developer, who have thoroughly abandoned this design element on the entire southern facade of the building."

1) "The metallic cladding of 8 Spruce Street, which seems to be slipping off the surface like grease that puckers, puddles and undulates in its descent, comes off as little more than a big gimmick. Underneath it is a rather orthodox box."
· James Gardner: Gehry undone [Real Deal]
· Beekman Tower coverage [Curbed]

8 Spruce Street

8 Spruce Street, New York, NY 10038