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Saturday, March 23, 2013

NYC by Cameraphone

After my High Line tour today I came across a couple buildings that I wanted to photograph, but finding myself without my camera I used my old-school phone and its lo-fi camera. So pardon the quality of the photos of the buildings, one just completed and one under construction.

First is the new David Zwirner Gallery on West 20th Street in Chelsea, which opened just last month. This is the gallery's second building in the area and is designed by Selldorf Architects.

I first noticed the building while traversing the High Line on the tour, wondering about the concrete building in the distance. Returning there after the tour I got a closer look at and inside the five-story building of concrete, wood, and glass.

My first thought on seeing the building from across the street: "It's a Swiss building dropped into Chelsea." The combination of materials, the simplicity of the details, and so much exposed concrete; it may not be as executed as well as a Swiss concrete building (could any building in NYC compare in that regard?), but the planar yet textured concrete exterior works pretty well in this context.

Not surprisingly, the galleries are white boxes, some of them with windows and the large one on the ground floor with skylights. Concrete extends inside to define the lobby and the circulation spaces beyond; the skylit stair is especially nice. 

On my way to the subway I checked out the construction progress on The New School's University Center, designed by SOM and located at Fifth Avenue and 14th Street.

The 16-story building is an unrelenting wrapper of horizontal bands of metal and reflective glass broken up by clear-glass cuts that rise and fall across the three facades of its base.

Behind these diagonals are the "the three central staircases that will weave their way through the building," per the building's own website. The faceting of the facade at the stairs reminds me of another SOM building (and one I also captured with my crappy cameraphone), the International Gem Tower also under construction in Midtown.

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