Arty Condos

In Manhattan, where condos regularly cost well over $1000 per square foot, the marketing evolution of using starchitect power has long moved on to the super-starchitect. As of a couple years ago, it was no longer enough to get a fancy condo design by a top firm like Richard Cook or even the better-known Michael Graves. You had to up the ante and get the celebrity power of a supername better known for their museums or institutional work -- Gehry, Libeskind, Meier, Gwathemy, Foster et. al. Someone even trotted out a bland looking glass building and claimed it to be the last design of the late Philip Johnson. And we've all heard about the stunning townhomes-in-the-sky scheme by Calatrava.

This trend has been well documented in various media articles over the last year. What I see now is the next stage -- desperate developers uncovering obscure academic architects whose lack of built projects makes their condos all the more desirable as collectibles. "Now that everyone has a Gehry, let's collect someone new!".

This is best exemplified in New York by a new, very expensive condo on the Lower East Side (!) called Blue. The design is by Bernard Tschumi, who has never, ever done a condo before. He has done some great work (like the Columbia student center) and is well known in the chain-smoking, black-turtleneck design crowd, but a sixteen storey condo? Wow.

Can lofts by Rem Koolhaus, townhomes by Zaha Hadid or condo slabs by Diller + Scofidio be far behind?


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