Kimmelwatch is holding strong, but here now is a bi-monthly installment from the archicritic, Ms. Ada Louise Huxtable, on the renewed luster of New York's grande dame, the Empire State Building. (A classic on a classic; we die.)
In a nutshell: the enduring Art Deco masterpiece that, with the Chrysler Building, has "given New York an internationally recognized signature style," hit the commercial skids by 2006. The Malkin family decided to invest $550 million in upgrading the aging icon, and it's about more than retrofitting with energy efficiency: it "transforms an old, deteriorating, below-market property from a liability to a prewar trophy building. This requires 'repurposing' the building for contemporary needs and a higher class of better-paying tenants. Beyer Blinder Belle, the historical architects du jour, restored much of the 1930s aesthetic lost in an ill-conceived 1960s renovation, and Malkin went the extra mile, commissioning chandeliers that were designed for the building but never executed. Summation? Preservation win, developer win, tenant win, tourist win, jaded New Yorkers: win.
· The Empire State Building's Luster Returns [WSJ]
· Ada Louise Huxtable coverage [Curbed]