In New York real estate’s race to build ever more fabulous buildings by the world’s leading starchitects, one figure has been conspicuously absent when it comes to ground-up construction: Rem Koolhaas. He’s watched as the biggest bold-faced names in the field—Christian de Portzamparc, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron, Steven Holl, Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano—have put their stamp on one magnificent edifice after another, while his most notable work here has been the interior for the Prada store in Soho. And it’s especially ironic since Koolhaas first gained worldwide attention as author of one of postmodern architect’s seminal texts—Delirious New York, a cultural, architectural and social history of the city.
Now it seems that he will finally be adding his touch to New York’s skyline in the form of a residential project near Gramercy Park. Located on East 23rd Street between Park Avenue South and Lexington Avenue, the planned structure features two crystalline towers separated by a courtyard running North-South through the block; one building has a corner “breaking” into jagged planes to suggest an enormous chipped edge, as if a giant had smashed it to use in an Olympian barroom fight. (Which would definitely shake up the owners of the 136 high-end apartments slated for the place.) Scheduled to open in 2018, the building looks wild, if not delirious and certainly worthy of New York.