Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Half Dose #67: HL23 OnSite Sales Tin

While walking around Chelsea the other day I came across the OnSite Sales Tin for Neil Denari's HL23 project now under construction on 23rd Street just west of The High Line. Even though the sales tin sitting under The High Line has been there over a year, this is my first time noticing it; I couldn't help take a closer look. I'm not certain who designed the tin, but Denari would surely be a safe guess.

[HL23 OnSite Sales Tin | photo by archidose]

One first notices that the black box adorned with super-graphics is angled relative to The High Line above. It actually points at the site of HL23 as it rises. This sort of "urban referencing," as I've called it before, helps link two objects across space. In this case the gesture is obvious, though unfortunately one cannot see the building rising from the sales tin; removing oneself from under the promenade above is necessary to see the undulating, 14-story cantilevering building.

[HL23 under construction | photo by archidose]

Walking on a gravel expanse between the tin and sidewalk one finds fluorescent tubing mounted on the wall across from the box that is punctured with a window opening and a door. The first gives a view of the tin's contents, mainly a model, drawings, and an area for selecting fixtures and finishes for the eleven rich and lucky buyers. Bamboo and other vegetation softens the edge at the neighboring building, creating an eco-mood of sorts for this otherwise gluttonous project.

[HL23 OnSite Sales Tin | photo by archidose]

At the far end of the tin is a large opening that would ideally give a view of the building rising beyond, but as I mentioned it is blocked by The High Line. Nevertheless it lets in a lot of daylight, reducing the need for artificial lighting inside.

[HL23 OnSite Sales Tin | photo by archidose]

Near the entrance to the tin is a photo of the model of HL23...

[HL23 OnSite Sales Tin | photo by archidose]

...with some hyperbole from Denari:

[HL23 OnSite Sales Tin | photo by archidose]

Sitting by itself, like a statue cradled by the bamboo shoots around it, is a mock-up of a structural steel connection, the bracing that will be exposed inside the units.

[HL23 mock-up | photo by archidose]

The OnSite Sales Tin is a clever means of doing something different than the usual prefab trailers. The construction looks inexpensive (hopefully the intention is to reuse and/or recycle the building materials), the furnishings are minimal, and wind power is purchases for energy usage. Except for the cheapness of the construction, the tin can be seen as HL23 in microcosm: different from the ordinary, stylish, and sustainable in a shallow way. (Denari even describes the project in terms of "cultural sustainability" rather than a deeper incorporation of environmental sustainability principles.) Nevertheless, it's certainly a better alternative than gratuitous sales offices that ended up being too big for their britches.