Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Garage in the Sky

This might be old news to some, but I just heard that "a luxury tower planned for 11th Avenue features an elevator that lifts cars to the apartment owner's floor, where they can be parked near the entry door," this according to the Washington Post. The article describes that this is one among many frills developers are using to snag the wealthy, cash-paying minority, at a time when "the collapse of subprime lenders spurs a housing crisis," and "a record [percentage] of U.S. home loans were entering foreclosure."

200 Eleventh Avenue (website includes a video of how the sky garage system works) is a 56,000 sf luxury condominium tower in Chelsea by Selldorf Architects. Even though, according to the architects, "the base of the building is clad with glazed terra cotta panels, and the tower has a custom-fabricated curvilinear stainless steel 'rain screen' system," it's the relatively invisible sky garages that steal the show.

sky-garage
Renderings by Hayes Davidson

The sky garages recall Chicago's former Jewelers' Building (now going by the distinguished 35 Wacker Drive). Chicago Architecture.info explains:
[The Jewelers' Building] was created for the city’s diamond merchants and had an unusual security procedure – to reduce the chances that its tenants would be mugged walking between their cars and their offices, the building featured a central auto elevator. People would drive into this elevator and it would take them to the floor where their office was. Jewelers loaded down with precious stones and metals wouldn’t have to be exposed to a potentially hostile exterior environment. Though innovative, it was an arrangement that didn’t last very long. By the Second World War the auto elevators were abandoned and decked over to make more office space.
This description might actually fit 200 Eleventh Avenue, where owners of $16 million condos won't have to worry about being mugged or be exposed to the potentially hostile exterior environment of Chelsea and the rest of Manhattan!

Thanks to Joy for the head's up on the article and the Jewelers' Building!

3 comments:

  1. The city planning commission hearing on this was pretty funny. What happens when:
    a) the car elevator gets stuck, auto on board, or
    b) a drunk tenant backs the car through the concrete wall at the rear of his 14th floor parking space?

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  2. Like, I know cars are evil and the enviroment is going to hell and it is anti-uban street life, but you have to admitt that is so f'ing cool.

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  3. This condo well qualified to be a vertical gated community which virtually offers the same to its residents as the legacy horizontal ones do.

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