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Starchitect-Designed Nolita Rental Not Quite as Advertised?

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The Lord has blessed this tiny third-floor walk-up apartment in an old Nolita row house, and by that we mean Lord Richard Rogers, the Pritzker-winning British starchitect. The brokerbabble on this new-to-market rental listing at 21 Prince Street begins, "Designed by award-winning architect Lord Richard Rogers," causing one Curbed tipster to ask, "Is this for real? Nice to see Richard Rogers doing something a little smaller than the World Trade Center and Javits." Well, like all reality-based entertainment, it looks like parts of this story have been a bit exaggerated.

The 670-square-foot pad (with a private rooftop) is owned by Roo Rogers, Lord Rich's son. Roo and his wife purchased the beat-up old apartment for $670K back in 2005, and then renovated it into the kooky space seen above, complete with a bathtub attached to the bed. A 2006 New York Times Habitats piece paints the scene of Richard Rogers and fellow starchitect Renzo Piano showing up to offer their advice:

"They all traipsed into this dumpy little place," Ms. Rogers said. “They were like, 'It's fantastic! Just take down this wall and put in glass.' 'Where are you going to put the elevator?' 'How far will you build up?' "

But the Rogerses liked the space for what it was; it was simple and bright, with views across NoLIta’s rooftops, and exclusive access to the roof.

"They almost couldn’t comprehend it," said Ms. Rogers, laughing. "The scale of it was something they hadn’t looked at in, like, 30 years."

Instead of listening to his old man, Roo brought in his brother (an industrial designer) and his cousin (an architect) to oversee the $230,000 renovation, with the only command being that he wanted to see the whole space from the bed. The apartment is now a single elongated room with one interior door (to the toilet) and red cabinets hiding pretty much everything. So while the place is indeed designed by a Rogers, it's not Lord Rich's handiwork. Stephen Colbert would definitely have a problem with the level of truthiness on the listing, which, by the way, is asking $4,400 per month.
· Listing: Prince Street Rental [BHS]
· When Privacy Is Not Quite the Point [NYT

21 Prince Street, New York, NY