A Different Kind of Glass Tower for Chelsea

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Images: qubdesign

A sales office opened today for — surprise, surprise — a luxury condo building at 459 West 18th Street, and it's a glass-sheet building worth noting both for what it is and who's building it. While most of the city's megabucks glass-façade condos hide occupants and cover hurry-up construction with ornamental window barriers, this one gives glass a fresh role: using huge panes to push out like stages rather than hang like curtains. Perhaps the architecture's interesting because the project, by the Dumbo firm Della Valle Bernheimer, is the very rare case where the architect is also serving as developer. "We emphasized it as a view tunnel north and south by keeping living and dining rooms as clean as possible," says Jared Della Valle. From the street, Della Valle says, the huge glass insertions — delivered from China, where they've got the capacity to produce at that size — should reflect sunlight and emphasize connections between occupants and passersby. "It's meant to disarm people," he says. Okay. Disarmed or not, we think the renderings (there's another after the jump) look pretty cool. —Alec Appelbaum