It's time to make up a bunch of awards and hand them out to the most deserving people, places and things in the real estate, architecture and neighborhood universes of New York City! Yep, it's time for the 11th Annual Curbed Awards! Up now: the best of New York City's new architecture.
Award for the Overall Best New Addition to New York City
The third and final leg of the High Line opened in September, completing a 15-year process that completely transformed what was one a neglected elevated rail line. The James Corner-designed project had been lauded around the worldand in New Yorkand it has become one of the city's biggest attractions. No matter what you think of the tourists crowding the walkways, the High Line is a beautiful space and there's no denying that it deserves the praise.
The Fun to Watch Rise Award
The coming years will see a fantastic variety of buildings that break out of the box (or conform very closely to the box, as no. 4 below). Here's what we're most excited to watch:
4) 432 Park: This skinny matchstick may have already topped out, but it's still a few more months away from completion. Architect Rafael Vinoly designed it around the square, the "purest geometric form," and some may find it unsightly, but the pattern of 10-foot-by-10-foot windows punched into a striking white concrete facade is mesmerizing.
3) 625 West 57th Street: Bjarke Ingels' giant pyramid is arguably one of the most interesting buildings to ever be built in New York City. Watching its triangular shape form on the west side has been a treat.
2) WTC Transit Hub: The transportation hub of the World Trade Center may not be as graceful as architect Santiago Calatrava originally intended (thank you, value engineering), but the white, winged bird is still a wild addition to the Downtown streetscape (though Steve Cuozzo disagrees).
1) 56 Leonard: Checking in on the construction of Herzog & de Meuron's cantilevering tower at 56 Leonard Street has been a highlight of the year, and it seems like just about everyone is excited for this building to finish.
Award for the Skyline-Changing Architecture Trend
If there was one conversation that dominated the New York architecture world this year, it was the rise of the supertall towers. From casting shadows on Central Park to cantilevering over a landmark, the towers of 57th Street drummed up a lot of attention this year, and the topic isn't about to go away. Only two supertalls are complete in the skyline (One57 and 432 Park), and there are many more on the horizon: Jean Nouvel's MoMA tower at 53 West 53rd Street, SHoP's skinny addition at 111 West 57th Street, and Extell's Nordstrom Tower, just to name a few.
[Pier A, photo by Max Touhey]
Best Makeovers of the Year
3) Met Plaza: It's not a drastic change, but the plaza in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art reopened in September after a $65 million renovation.
2) Cooper Hewitt: For $91 million, the Cooper Hewitt completely overhauled its home at Andrew Carnegie's former mansion. The three-year project was so elaborate that 13 architecture firms were involved, but boy, the results are stunning.
1) Pier A: It may not have as high a profile as the Met or the Cooper Hewitt, but Pier A's radical transformation is nothing short of jaw-dropping. Just look at what it looked like in 2010.
[Photos by Will Femia]
Brooklyn's Building of the Year
It's definitely not the prettiest or the most interesting, but 388 Bridge Street became the tallest tower in Brooklyn this year, so we figured we should award it before it's over taken by the next tallest tower.
Award for the Best New Addition to the Subway System
At long, long last, the Fulton Center opened downtown, bettering connecting 10 subway lines, and given the subway system its nicest station (though was it worth $1.4B? Maybe not). Designed by Grimshaw, the center's, uh, centerpiece is a 120-foot oculus that brings daylight into the depths with a glittering a "sky reflector net" created by James Carpenter.
Building of the Year
It may not be the most beautiful tower. It may be mired in political opportunism. It may have an odd antenna masquerading as a spire to reach a symbolic height. But One World Trade Center is far and away the most important structure to be completed in New York City this year. The post-9/11 rebuilding of Lower Manhattan has often been a fraught and controversial process, but the opening of the new World Trade Center's crown jewel is a major milestone. No matter what one thinks of the design, the tower has already become a symbol of the city, and for that, it deserves to be building of the year.
· Curbed Awards 2014 [Curbed]