The IAC Building by Frank Gehry
Recently, I made my way through Manhattan’s (or at least mid-Manhattan’s) latest buildings. I lived in L.A. years ago and even had the opportunity to draw working drawings, along with dozens of other people, on Frank Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall. The concert hall was phenomenal in my mind. I’ve been pretty high on Gehry’s work ever since. It’s too bad that I saw this IAC building in Chelsea, New York because my perception of Gehry has fallen a bit back into the Philip Johnson (lifelong hipster opportunist) mode. That is, the building feels like a concession or boringization of a Gehry building.
I saw several of the early models for this building, and they were so much fun. They were typical Gerhy. The models defied logic and physics, but somehow held together in their lightness and unspeakable aesthetic quality. The final product, however, turned out to look and feel like a cheesy 80’s office building whose glass looks like it needs a good cleaning. I concede that from the river the building shows off its sail-like quality. It reads a bit like a jewel box circa 2050. Unfortunately when you are right next to the building or in the building, none of the beauty of the form is perceived. An office looks like any office. There are no canyons or spires or flaps or bows to draw your eye into the supernatural abyss like all other Gehry buildings do. Instead you sit in an overpriced pancake where each floor is a different shape, oh boy! To be fair, the spaces created in Gehry’s buildings still cannot be made to fit easily within a building official’s feeble mind. This process can often be disheartening and time consuming which leads to a defeat by the developer and architect, and a victory for blandness, i.e. the IAC Building.
For more about this building, check out these resources:
- IAC Building website
- The IAC on YouTube
- The IAC on Flickr
- A bit more on the IAC Building on Danda
- Google Map Street View of IAC Building