Monday, January 12, 2009
This seventeen storey tower located in the Lower East Side contains thirty-two apartments and rises to a height of 55m. The building is Bernard Tschumi's first residential tower and his second building in New York City.
The building took two and a half years to design and construct and was influenced by the constraints of NYC zoning laws and market-driven commercial forces. Despite the attempt to create an interesting form which adheres to building codes and creates a unique building the impression of the building is one that was built with an insufficient budget and is a poor response to the context.
The blue pixelated facade stands out against the sky as it rises far above the neighbouring buildings of the historic Lower East Side neighbourhood when it would be better if the building was more inconspicuous. The design of the facade is supposed to represent the diversity and the dynamism of the neighbourhood, as well as the internal organisation of the building, but how a pixelated facade of varying shades of blue represents diversity or distinguishes different internal areas is unclear as the building appears as a boldly singular gesture.
Designing a striking building in a historic neighbourhood with a modest budget and strict zoning laws is challenging. The Blue Tower has made an attempt to balance and exploit these conditions but in doing so unfortunately highlighted it's failure to respond to each of these conditions successfully.