April 10, 2015

New York – The Tallest Condo – 5

432 Park: the tallest residential building in the world, as seen from all over NYC:

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A drive-by on Central Park West.

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  1. Quite horrific the way it has been allowed to dominate NYC’s skyline by sheer virtue of height and no other redeeming feature. Comparing it with the Chrysler building in the other shot makes one realize just how far skyscraper architecture has sunk into banality. The ultimate triumph of the developer and Bloomberg’s desire to make NY a caravan park for the ultra-wealthy. And the sad thing is it is happening here.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. We were in NY last fall, and 432 Park just sticks out like a sore thumb. It is “interesting” but not attractive. I’m sure the views will be spectacular, though 🙂

    2. Can we just be honest? There is no new tall building you would find attractive. It’s not the building, it’s the height you object to.
      It’s dishonest to say you object to its banality – it is architectural prudes who demand the banal, as anything unique (like the “origami tower” near Waterfront Skytrain) is considered an abomination.

  2. Do we want one of these in Vancouver? Whatever the style? Whatever the sense of ornament or formal exuberance?

    1. Well, 432 Park is over twice as tall as the tallest building in Vancouver, so it’s absurd fear mongering to suggest anything like this would ever appear in Vancouver.

      The question is whether we can allow structures like the waterfront origami tower, which is about 30% as tall as 432 Park.

      1. Actually the “question” in this post had nothing to do with the Origami tower, you dragged it in. Furthermore the siting of 432 Park is not remotely similar to plopping a skyscraper on the waterfront next to one of the city’s most historic buildings. Finally the Origami tower was office space, not residences for the uberwealthy.

      2. So what’s your point? Are you saying you would have supported origami if it was luxury condos rather than offices? Are you saying New York wouldn’t have built a tall or bold building on the waterfront next to a historic building? NY financial district is on the waterfront next to historic buildings. And the history there goes back 300 years before ours.

        There’s just this parochial prudish populist condescension and hypocrisy in the planning consensus here. I really hate it. Unique buildings are an abomination, otherwise they’re banal. There’s disingenuous opposition to every building for some new reason every time. And there’s this lie new development hurts the poor, which is literally the opposite of true.

        1. put in the correct context, that’s not a lie at all. New buildings are by definition more expensive than a building that already exists, so yes, when an equal number of new units replace an equal number of existing units, poor people lose. The question gets a little murkier when it comes to supply and demand, but I don’t think supply and demand improvements make up for the loss of existing affordable housing stock when it’s replaced by condos. We need new buildings, the problem is when it involved bulldozing older ones.

          As for “unique buildings,” there are reasons people might have for opposing the origami building that don’t have to do with its uniqueness. Oddly enough I quite liked the original Marine Gateway plan, before it was watered down into banality. The origami building, ehhhh I wasn’t so sure. You have to at least admit that there could be more behind other people’s opinions than you seem to want to admit.

        2. Almost never does an equal number of new units replace an equal number of existing units in a new development. If units are destroyed, usually they are replaced by many more new units (but many fewer still than if we had allowed the developer to build what they wished). Many developments come with sizeable social housing components, and are still opposed.

          This Jane Jacobsian idea that we need to preserve old units to control rents frankly makes no sense. I promise you; the best way to keep prices down is to increase supply. Demand for housing in a city is relatively inelastic. Affluent people will not hesitate to gentrify poor neighborhoods if they can’t find a place to live. This pushes out poor people. Is there any better evidence of the failure of this thinking than Jacob’s own neighborhood, the village? Has preservationism and midrisism held down rents there? Nope, Greenwich village is truly an enclave for the rich now.

          What explains the vehement opposition to towers at Oakridge? Is it a concern for the poor? Clearly not – nothing is being replaced but asphalt. It’s a transparent concern about preserving views, and MAINTAINING housing prices.

          1. I don’t like the Origami building because it’s ugly. Is that an acceptable reason to dislike it?

            Similarly, the plans for Oakridge just show a big mass of buildings with not a lot of aesthetic appeal. But, as an east-Van person, I’m not likely to ever be able to use the “park” they’re putting in there, so whatever.

            I do have to drive by the Marine Gateway every morning, and I have to say that area now has a looming, oppressive quality about it. We’ll see if it’s nicer when it’s finished and has some life.

            For many people, it’s not about hating towers. It’s about seeing something that’s not contributing much to the landscape, is aimed squarely at the rich astronauts, and wondering how all that helps make the city a place where their kids can grow up and live happy, productive lives.

          2. Sorry, I honestly don’t think it is an acceptable reason. I know that’s a rare notion ’round these parts, but in my perfect world there would be much less ability for the ‘concerned neighbors’ of the world to kill buildings on parcels of land they don’t own. It leads to architectural majoritarianism (not to mention soaring real estate costs). We end up with buildings which offend the fewest, and inspire no one.

            I view a city as more like a lush rainforest than the manicured garden outside Versailles. Lay down a tight grid, provide needed infrastructure, write some fair and simple rules, then allow people to build what suits them. I do not accept City Hall’s right to determine, down to the centimeter, what can be built on adjacent property and what can be done with it.

      3. I’m replying at this level because this stupid comment software indents too far too quickly…

        I didn’t say I want to control what gets built. I said I don’t like Origami because it’s ugly. I’m quite happy to accept your approach, which is to let people build what they like on their property. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to complain when someone comes up with something ugly like Origami. Or the Marine Gateway (not as ugly as Origami, but not exactly friendly to it’s neighbourhood).

        But, of course, that also means having the city let me build a deck on my house or extend it a bit if I like. I bet we’ll see some Origami-like thing get built anyway (after all, it’s nothing a few strategic political donations can’t fix), but for sure not a single person on my street could get permission to enclose their decks to extend their homes a bit…

  3. 432 Park Avenue is being built at a cost of $1.25 billion US dollars. Most of this money ends up in the pockets of the middle class because these are the people that build these projects. The real questions to be asked are; Will Spiderman try climbing it? Will someone try for a base jump record with a landing in Central Park? Will it fall over in the first windstorm? Will anyone get electrocuted during a lightening storm? And finally, will Spank prevail against the pontificators and the knowlegables or will they start calling him names that he does not deserve?

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