NEW YORK — At 2 Columbus Circle, has Brad Cloepfil been aghast by the apparition of Edward Durell Stone?
Surprisingly and entertainingly enough, it abiding looks that way. As a result, Saturday’s aperture of the new home for the Architectonics of Arts and Architectonics — Cloepfil’s attack to coffin Stone’s 1964 architectonics at the aforementioned armpit — hardly looks assertive to accomplish as an act of architectural closure. Instead, it may alone admonish abounding New Yorkers that idiosyncratic, adventurous architectonics like Stone’s is added attenuate and admired these canicule in Manhattan, an island actuality boring overtaken by a phalanx of straight-backed bottle towers.
For about a decade, altercation has buried the above home of the Gallery of Modern Art, a 10-story anatomy on the southern bend of Columbus Circle, overlooking a above access to Central Park. In 1964, the aberrant beneficiary Huntington Hartford, beneficiary to the A&P bazaar fortune, opened a architectonics at that location. Its capacity were awash central a marble-draped box by Stone, an American artist built-in in 1902 who would go on to architectonics the Kennedy Centermost in Washington, the backward Busch Stadium in St. Louis and a clamp of barrio at the centermost of the USC campus.
Stone’s architectonics was almost taken actively as a allotment of architecture, at atomic at first. New York Times architectonics analyzer Ada Louise Huxtable abundantly absolved it as a kitschy, adorned bit of nothingness; apropos to the way the facade, a filigreed, windowless marble slab, sat heavily aloft a row of airy ground-floor columns, she labeled it a “Venetian palazzo on lollipops.”
But in contempo decades abounding New Yorkers developed a absolute affection for it — some in animosity of their contrarily adult taste. It may not accept been an accessible architectonics to like in 1964. But in the aftermost years of its life, the actual ancestry that had angry a bearing of critics adjoin it — its punched adornment and breezy, blithe historicism, in accurate — led abounding of us adolescent ones to adore it.
Hartford bankrupt his architectonics in 1969, and eventually the acreage anesthetized into the easily of the burghal of New York. In contempo years, the burghal alone a ascent choir of demands that it authority a audition on the building’s ability as a battleground and in 2002 awash it to the Architectonics of Arts and Design, aforetime the American Craft Museum. MAD, in turn, assassin Cloepfil, who runs an added arresting close based in Portland, Ore., alleged Allied Works Architecture.
Cloepfil is in abounding means the anti-Edward Durell Stone. His assignment is precise, bookish and humorless area Stone’s was bathetic and rather undisciplined. If Stone hoped in the closing decades of his continued career to alleviate architectonics from the strictures of authentic Modernism, Cloepfil wants to tie the restraints aback on. And again double-knot them.
On Columbus Circle, affluence of restraints were already congenital in for Cloepfil, including banned on the acme and amplitude of any new allotment of architecture. As a result, he boarded on a action that he says was added like “editing” an absolute architectonics than creating a new one. (If so, he is a rather advancing editor — an architectural version, perhaps, of Knopf’s Gordon Lish, who atrociously pared Raymond Carver’s abbreviate fiction to the bone.) He absitively to accumulate Stone’s accurate skeleton complete and array a new skin, fabricated of irised adobe tiles, over it. He again proposed abstraction a alternation of attenuated bands into the concrete.
The bands, which Cloepfil has alleged “continuous ribbons of light,” biking in boxlike patterns up the advanced and abandon of the building. They allotment its accurate carapace into a alternation of chain cantilevered sections, giving the museum’s four facades a edgeless geometric power.
And here’s area the adventure takes a beautifully aberrant twist. At the actual end of the architectonics process, MAD’s director, Holly Hotchner, and the museum’s lath accepted that a bandage of windows be added to the ninth-floor restaurant. This is not an aberrant appeal from one of Cloepfil’s clients, back the artist is as generally added absorbed in akin angle than indulging them. As a designer, he has a castigating streak, and takes a abnormal amusement in befitting his barrio bankrupt off and mute.
This is accurate in his contempo accession to the Seattle Art Museum, area he opens up angle of Elliott Bay alone to screen, block or contrarily annul them. It is alike added accurate in his architectonics for MAD, which makes a point of assuming that it doesn’t face one of the abundant burghal vistas in the world, appropriate area the Manhattan filigree meets the abounding advance of Central Park.
Cloepfil fought the abstraction of a new ninth-floor window bandage strenuously, to no avail. Added as a accumbent bandage abreast the top of the capital facade, the windows anguish up abutting a brace of vertical bands already in abode to anatomy the appearance of the letter H. Another vertical bandage at the aforementioned level, on the western bluff of the building, reads absolutely acutely as an I.
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