Studio International

Published 04/09/2007

American architect Frank Gehry has at last made it to build in Manhattan, that Mecca for architects. Although on the embankment, close by the snarling six-lane highway there, and a sheaf of downmarket housing, this is every architect's dream. Gehry's developer, Barry Diller of IAC, had a rare vision, which Gehry came to share. The 9-storey building is an entirely glass construct, that reminds one of a sailing schooner. The curved embryo of the building required vast 35ft by 22ft glass panels, shaped in situ by a process known as 'cold-warping'. Gehry's design involved a 150-degree twist from ground to parapet level. A special process silk-screened white enamel particles at normal occupancy heights, above and below, yet still retaining a clear band of glass to take in surrounding views. The resulting effects, both by day and by night, are mesmerising from inside, giving onto the Hudson river, and from outside grab the speeding passer-by on the Highway, as well as being a jogger's delight to see. IAC, the developers, and Frank Gehry have now provided this edge of Manhattan with a piece of architectural suprematism which will be a hard act to follow.