It’s hard to think of a time (just a few short years ago, in fact) when BIG wasn’t insanely busy or immensely successful. Now, fresh from a 14-page profile in the New Yorker, not too mention about a gazillion projects in the works, Bjarke Ingels has positioned himself among the upper ranks of the architecture world. But a community board has stepped in to potentially cut Ingels’ party short. Continue.
Last week, Community Board 4 voted against developer Durst Fenter’s new West57 mixed-use project, a sparkling white pyramidal concoction designed by BIG. (Side note: the design has more to do with the swell of Ingels’ dramatic hairstyle than, say, origami birds, as the New York Observer suggests.) In a unanimous decision, voters struck down the proposal to build the 740-unit building at 625 West 57th Street, which would necessitate rezoning on a grand scale–something the board feared could pave the way for further outlandish luxury housing schemes that could consume the whole of the neighborhood. Yet more central to their disapproval is Durst Fenter’s refusal (or “inability”, as the Durst family sees it) to secure permanent affordable housing within the complex, which would total 150 apartments. The developer says it can only reserve the low-income units for a period of 35 years, arguing that they are not operating on owned land, but rather a 99-year land lease.
Still, while the decision is only provisional, it may eventually prove decisive in whether or not to build Bjarke’s pyramid. J.D. Nolan, chair of Community Board 4′s land-use committee, told the Observerthat while the community would “like this project to succeed. . . .this [project] is a rezoning, and the public should benefit as well as the developer.” Nolan presented numerous other problems he and his neighbors saw in the designs, such as the overabundance of parking spaces and the two-way driveway that would plunge through the center of site so as to offer “curb side drop-off” for the sake of the complex’s wealthiest inhabitants. Upon hearing the opposition, the Durst’s PR machine said that the developers will “continue to work with them [the neighborhood] on a solution”, but showed no sign of relent, going on to list West57′s numerous amenities and “inspiring” design. “Great design makes for great places, which makes for a great community.” Blah.
[via New York Observer and Artinfo]