Rem Koolhaas to Rediscover the ‘Mid-rise’Slazer Enterprises announced last night that Rem Koolhaas’s firm would design a mid-rise condo over a Creative Artists Agency screening room on 22nd Street next to its looming 60-story One Madison Park, and we’ve learned that this will be something more tasteful than your standard glassosaur. Koolhaas, after all, has seen preservationists kill his Manhattan commissions before; remember his proposed extension to the Whitney? So his local guy, Shohei Shigematsu, promises a bolt of wacky probity. The project, for which Shigematsu hopes to reveal designs by March, will stand behind One Madison Park. Quietly. “Rather than endless high-rise, we would like to have some new discovery of mid-rise,” Shigematsu told us. That might mean zigzag units with different ceiling heights or balconies that stretch across multiple floors. And what about Daniel Libeskind, rumored to be working on the island’s tallest condo nearby for Elad Properties? “We are interested in the identity of this place because it used to be a very prominent shopping street in the early conception of Manhattan,” says Shigematsu. “Libeskind is part of the fact that the area is becoming more interesting.” All this classy restraint makes us that much more suspicious that the preservationists are just waiting in the bushes armed with obstacles for both architects. —Alec Appelbaum
Related: Rem Koolhaas Tackling New One Madison Park Building [Curbed]
Daniel Libeskind Still Accepts Consensus As an IdeologyDaniel Libeskind is still optimistic about ground zero. Or, you know, not entirely bitter. “That site will come back to life in a way that is not banal,” he explained during a House & Garden panel discussion at Hunter College last week. It will have “as much public space as I could have possibly put in it,” he added. The topic of the H&G panel was “The Future Face of New York” and focused mostly on sustainable building and expansion. “It doesn’t happen by miracle, it happens by enlightened social policy,” Libeskind explained. It seems like he learned at least one thing about his ground-zero experience: “Democracy is about garnering consensus,” he mused. That’s helpful — but is it a real solution to the fact that there will be a million more people in New York in 2030? We’re not sure. Then again, we read H&G for the pictures of rich people’s window treatments. —Darrell Hartman
Related: The Liberation of Daniel Libeskind [NYM]
Have We Found Libeskind’s Manhattan Tower at Madison Square Park?Some months ago, Daniel Libeskind told us he was designing his first tower in Manhattan. We asked where it was, and he said he couldn’t tell us, yet, but he would as soon as all the official folderol allowed. A few days later, someone who knows Libeskind mumbled something to us about “One Madison,” then promptly hushed up. For months, Libeskind’s people have said only that Israeli developer Elad Properties is Libeskind’s client for a project somewhere in Manhattan. Well, today, an Israeli news service is reporting that Elad is developing a 74-story apartment tower at One Madison Avenue. You know, that pretty landmark with the illuminated clock tower? According to the report, they’ll be adding many stories to make the new structure one of the tallest residential towers in the world.
Take a Look at the Freedom Tower Lobby
Some day — one hopes sooner rather than later — the Freedom Tower will be an actual building, not just an idea to argue about, and that building will have a lobby. Daily Intel got the first look at renderings of the planned lobby, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. A 60-foot-high expanse of prismatic glass looks out on the memorial pool. “The lobby sheds light into the memorial pool,” explained SOM’s TJ Gottesdiener. “And the front door is celebrated.” Where the old Twin Towers sealed themselves from the street, the new lobby echoes the old bustle of downtown — true to the notion that Daniel Libeskind laid out before he lost control of the building’s design. “The greatest thing about Danny’s master plan is that it lets streets flow,” Gottesdiener said. Got that? Even more impressive than the renderings, SOM just said something nice about Libeskind. —Alec Appelbaum
Libeskind to Build Another Tower in Lower ManhattanDaniel Libeskind has been busy lately, with a museum opening in Toronto, new residential projects around the world, and a Freedom Tower stubbornly moving nowhere in Lower Manhattan. And now he’s got another — more easily built, one presumes — building coming to New York. The architect told us yesterday he has a commission to design a residential tower somewhere in Lower Manhattan — though he won’t say much more than that until paperwork is filed Friday. Here’s what he’ll reveal: The commission is from a private client, and he hopes to make the building a landmark “by taking the notion of green out from the inside of the building.” It won’t be on Liberty Island, as we originally guessed, but Libeskind confirmed it’s on a built “historic site, one of the iconic sites of New York City.” And, he added, “I guarantee you’ll see the Statue of Liberty from there.” Hmm. You have any guesses? —Alec Appelbaum
CORRECTION, July 13: A Skidmore, Owings & Merrill flack emails to remind us that the Freedom Tower currently being constructed isn’t even Libeskind’s design anymore; it’s by SOM’s David Childs. So maybe this new one will not only be more easily built, but will also stay Libeskind’s!
What Daniel Libeskind Does When Not Rebuilding Ground Zero
The sneering was involuntary when we read that Daniel Libeskind, whose idealistic World Trade Center scheme became the cudgel that George Pataki used to freeze ground zero, would keynote a weeklong conference of brand managers at Chelsea Piers. But then the effervescent architect started guiding a half-full ballroom through his recent work, and we realized this guy’s had a lot of output while we’ve bickered over a memorial. Libeskind’s new projects under construction include a jagged apartment tower facing downtown Cincinnati and a wing of the Royal Ontario Museum that suggests a giddy urban campsite. Libeskind, as ever, refused to carp. On the World Trade Center, he told us: “You see the slurry wall being repaired you see something optimistic there.” Well, at least he does. Alec Appelbaum