Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff has picked a weird time to review One Madison Park, the massive stack of glass cubes across 23rd Street from the Shake Shack. The luxury condo tower is currently floating through a murky purgatory of foreclosure, lawsuits and incompletion, so maybe Ouroussoff's intention is to boost the building's morale, because he loves the thing. Really! The Big O thinks the "dazzling addition" is something of an underdog, succeeding despite its many hurdles, including an oddly shaped lot, a demanding developer and shitty architects. Yup, he went there. One Madison Park is the work of Cetra/Ruddy, which, "During its more than 20 years of existence...had never before produced a building of any architectural significance." Burn!
Slick Nic also busts on John Cetra's Taxi TV spots pitching some bland Jersey City condo towers. Double burn! It's a good thing Ouroussoff doesn't watch Selling New York, because Cetra probably already paid the deposit on the secluded cabin in the woods, and is thisclose to Googling Ted Kaczynski's manifesto.
The common knock on Ouroussoff is that he's obsessed with famous architects, but clearly he doesn't think Cetra/Ruddy comes even close to the starchitect category, so there's no need to name-drop Jean Nouvel, right? Er, wrong. Though Ouroussoff's favorites have nothing to do with One Madison Park, it's their spirits lurking in the background that clearly motivated the hacks to elevate their game:
An optimist, in fact, may see One Madison Park as an example of how, despite the endless bellyaching about the poisonous effects of “starchitecture,” New York’s recent embrace of megatalents like Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry and Santiago Calatrava can raise expectations for mainstream architects as well. The trend has led to more than a few pitiable knockoffs (as anyone who has taken a walk through Chelsea knows), but it would be nice to believe that, on occasion, it can also lead to inspired work from unexpected sources.Yikes, backhanded compliment much? Despite the praise, we don't think this One Madison Park review will wind up in Cetra/Ruddy's press kit anytime soon.
· Near-Empty Tower Still Holds Hope [NYT]
· One Madison Park coverage [Curbed]