Saturday, January 02, 2010

Architects and Chapter 11

I'm guessing this will the first of many: The Real Deal reports last week that "luxury Manhattan design firm H. Thomas O'Hara Architect [HTO] filed for bankruptcy earlier this month [December 2009], but remains in operation." The article mentions money clients owe the architect ($1.1 million) and over half-a-million dollars the office owes to the IRS. The firm is now 14 people, down from 45 previously. While this is the first news I've heard of an architect filing for bankruptcy protection in this recession, this last statistic of cutting more than half of an office's staff certainly won't be a shock to most architects in the US.

[Mondrian Hotel by H. Thomas O'Hara Architect | image source]

This news would probably garner more interest if HTO designed better buildings. Their best one might be the Mondrian Hotel (with interiors by BNOdesign) now under construction on Lafayette Street in SoHo. It's an extruded box set back from a new plaza on Crosby Street, though interest is gained from the way the mullions are articulated and the addition of a random frit pattern to the glass. Piet Mondrian probably wouldn't be proud to have his name attached to this building.