Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Giant Looms in Our Midst

I've been watching the construction of a tower from my living-room window. At first I didn't think much of it, assuming it was just a run-of-the-mill office building. But when it soared past its neighbor — 731 Lexington Avenue — I figured I should investigate.

731 Lexington (left), 432 Park (right).

It turns out this is 432 Park Avenue, and it's no run-of-the-mill building. By the time it's completed in 2015, it will utterly dominate the Midtown skyline.

In fact, 432 Park will have the highest roof height of any building in New York, reaching 1,398 feet. (One World Trade Center will remain the tallest tower in the city, but only because of its massive spire.)

Photo courtesy of Architecture Beast.

The building was designed by architect Rafael Viñoly to pay homage to "the purest geometric form: the square." I now recall reading about this tower in the past, but it's quite different to watch it rise up in front of you. 

I wonder what the reaction to the building will be, now that it's moving beyond the realm of real-estate blogs and becoming impossible to ignore.

One57, which is currently the city's tallest residential tower, seems to be universally disdained — based on what I read on Twitter. It's seen as a little wacky, and the proximity to Central Park has raised hackles. Personally, I like that its designer, French architect Christian de Portzamparc, at least tried to make a bold statement. (He apparently doesn't give a crap about the pureness of squares.)

One World Trade Center, meanwhile, is still settling in to the New York skyline. I occasionally see it pop up in unexpected places — like the backside of the Roosevelt Island tram station.

One thing is certain, if you like tall buildings, this is a wonderful time to be living in New York. We may no longer be the envy of the world, but the city hasn't seen this kind of building boom in my lifetime.