New York has had a way of loudly excluding or being excluded by deserving people. It took until 2007 for Frank Gehry to take a bite of the Big Apple, and neither Rem Koolhaas nor Zaha Hadid has been in the club. This week, however, that changed: Architect Rem Koolhaas is finally building in Manhattan.
Koolhaas, founder and head of the Dutch firm Office of Modern Architecture, is one of the world's mavericks of man-made space, currently also developing the port city of Riga, Latvia, and rendering development guidelines for Waterfront City in Dubai. The challenge in his first Manhattan project: to build 24 stories of luxury residences on a 33-foot-wide site just off Madison Square Park.
If a city is defined by its buildings, then, what does this addition suggest about New York? The New York dwelling is evolving, in spite of the credit crunch and the crash of mortgage-backed securities: Residential buildings offer restaurants, grocery stores, babysitting centers, and screening rooms; so many of them that loads of buildings are beckoning buyers with substantial discounts. The Koolhaas building will offer Charlie Trotter's cuisine and a film screening room—though it's perhaps a slim bet that we'll be seeing promotions to lure buyers to live in a Koolhaas space.