Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff affixes his gaze to Jean Nouvel's Vision Machine today, and his stare is deep and longing. In fact, he calls the building sexy not once but twice. It's getting hot in here! Oops, that's just the boiling blood of Big Nic's critics. It's no surprise that this Nouvel admirer is loving 100 Eleventh Avenue, but the argument that a luxury condo tower wrapped in 1,700 irregularly shaped windows "conjures a downtown New York we once loved and can now barely remember" might leave a few folks scratching their heads. But hear him out. Given the building's neighbors?including Frank Gehry's billowing IAC building and a somewhat less glamorous women's prison?100 Eleventh is actually a perfect fit for West Chelsea.
Ouroussoff writes, "The tower is part of a taut composition of disparate — even conflicting — urban realities. Its shifting appearance in the skyline is a sly commentary on the conflict between public and private realms that is an inevitable byproduct of gentrification." There's no conflict about the apartments, the terraces and the under-construction restaurant space (Thomas Keller, perhaps?), however, all of which Ouroussoff loves?almost. Throwing a bone to the common man, he dumps on the pricey penthouse, saying "it could have been shaped by a real estate agent's checklist." Wasn't it? We're not talking about the Louvre here.
As for the facade, Goldberger loves the angled windowpanes wrapping most of the building while Gardner prefers the east-facing black brick wall with the cut-out windows. Ouroussoff, on the other hand, loves both, though he does give the edge to the brick wall because it evokes "the unadorned backsides of prewar tenements." Take note, starchitects: Tenement chic is so hot right now.
· At the Corner of Grit and Glamour [NYT]
· 100 Eleventh Avenue coverage [Curbed]