Archicritic Michael Kimmelman describes the glass-covered arcade North End Way as something that looks like the result of the Conrad Hotel ramming into the gap between itself and the 200 West Street headquarters of Goldman Sachs—"shattering, crumpling and driving its pieces upward." Whereas architect Preston Scott Cohen could have taken a more straightforward approach to creating a canopy between the two buildings, he saw their curving facades as a geometric challenge to be met. So Cohen designed a three-piece canopy that transforms curves to angles and, according to Kimmelman, is the most interesting feature of North End Way, despite significant contributions to the site from firms like Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and Rogers Marvel, and designers like Ken Smith.
Cohen's challenge was to create a continuous canopy that bridged the curving gap between the Conrad Hotel and 200 West Street, from Murray to Vesey Street.
It is composed of three tilting, jagged triangles. Picture giant shards of glass. They filter light gracefully through enameled panes, the light shifting with the passing day. The longest triangle is Mr. Cohen’s big statement: It slices the arcade, which bends toward the south end, along the diagonal. That sweeping diagonal brings together what could otherwise be — precisely because North End Way isn’t straight — a disjointed space. Stretching the length of the easement, the diagonal provides counterpoint to the regular beat of the canopy’s steel ribbing and the modules of 200 West’s facade.
The end result is an exciting and open space that draws one's attention upwards in an inviting social space.
· A Canopy As Social Cathedral [NYT]
· Goldman Saches Goes Public With Battery Park City Path [Curbed]