On the occasion of the release of the fifth edition of the AIA Guide to New York City (Oxford University Press), the New York Daily News have selected ten buildings - public and residential alike - that got the most crushing reviews.
1. Times Tower, The New York Times Building, Eighth Ave. between 40th and 41st Sts.: "A tense tower obsessed with its own fussy connections, its glass facade bracketed by steel columns, X-bracing for lateral support and horizontal bars that act as a sunscreen (and ladder: Lunatics have been climbing it). As gray and dour as a rain-soaked copy of the Sunday Styles section."
2. 520 W. 27th St.: "Apartments in two parts, with an outdoor recreation space between. The base is black block with white window frames flush to the facade. The upper stories, steel frame with translucent glass block, are reminiscent of the Brooklyn House of Detention. Can the residents leave on weekends?"
3. 200 Eleventh Ave.: "The "sky garage" (an elevator that lifts cars directly into the apartments) sounds exhausting."
4. Trump Tower, 725 Fifth Ave. at E. 56th St.: Folded glass conceals a fantasyland for the affluent shopper. Within, the multilevel space houses a cafe with waterfalls and moving stairways to a shopper's heaven; flamboyant, exciting and emblematic of the American Dream. Donald Trump entered here stage left and has since delivered the Trump brand everywhere: His aesthetics, however, are still more akin to malt liquor than to Veuve Clicquot."
5. Trump Place, between W. 66th and W. 70th Sts. west of West End Ave.: "The phony incarnation of Riverside Drive, south of its historic 72nd St. ending, has sprouted awkward giants, glorious to look out from (at the river and the Palisades) and inglorious to look at."
6. Training Center, Ironworkers Local 40 & 361, 35-23 36th St., Queens: "A Constructivist steel building for welders in training. Perhaps they will practice on the building!"
7.7. Montefiore Apartments II, 3450 Wayne Ave., the Bronx: "Scale, but not human scale."
8. The Four Seasons Hotel, 57 E. 57th St.: "Pompous."
9. T.G.I. FRIDAY'S, 604 Fifth Ave.: "The brilliant blue on Fifth Ave. is a sign of desperate marketing."
10. Former Bear Stearns World Headquarters, 383 Madison Ave.: "A bulky octagonal hulk for the mighty Wall Streeter felled in the 2009 financial crash. Stolid, not graceful; a dour banker in a bespoke suit."
This fifth edition of the guide to New York's architecture, which the Wall Street Journal describes as "perhaps the finest-grained study of New York's built environment that exists," contains between 6,000 and 10,000 building references on more than a thousand pages. It was co-written for the first time by Fran Leadon, joining one half of the founding writer duo, Norval White, who died two weeks after the manuscript had been handed in.
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