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432parkavenueempirestatebuilding.jpeg

Find Some Joy In the Architectural Failure of This Luxury Skyscraper in Manhattan

By Alberto Cox Délano | Miscellaneous | September 28, 2021 |

By Alberto Cox Délano | Miscellaneous | September 28, 2021 |


432parkavenueempirestatebuilding.jpeg

Have you heard about 432 Park Avenue in New York City? That super-skinny, 400-meter tall luxury condo that looks like what a child would draw over a picture of Manhattan’s skyline?

Turns out that the building, six years after its grand opening, is a complete disaster, and the owners are suing the developer for hundreds of millions of dollars. According to these articles by the New York Times, the building has been suffering from multiple instances of flooding and leaks, electrical explosions, multiple instances of people being trapped in the elevators, and… try to guess, don’t click on the links. What do you think could be the most unsettling thing to happen if you’re inside a superthin, supertall building?

The thing sways too much in the wind. This also makes a hell of a lot of noise. Consider that the Empire State Building already sways a couple of inches with strong winds and that one has the classical “wedding cake” shape.

You might be wondering by now just how serious these structural issues are? On the one hand, you can’t build something like this without some growing pains. On the other, we are talking about apartments for billionaires here, or very close to that, just look at the prices of these… actually pretty classy things at Zillowporn! I mean, they probably only hired the most renowned architects and engineers to take care of the maths, right?

Well, the first thing you need to know is that you should never, ever, ever, ever underestimate the capacity of famous architects to mess up in the most colossal way you don’t want to imagine. Moreover, the architect behind this thing happens to be the same one behind a London skyscraper that turned into a literal death ray. Twice. Though he is not one for self-pitying, he admitted shortly after the building’s opening that major mistakes were made… and then he quickly recanted, probably pressured by the financiers. Whatever the case, let’s just have fun at the super-rich experiencing … well, what most New Yorkers have to face in their already overpriced, poorly maintained, and salary-draining apartments.

Since many of the links above are either paywalled or “limited-articles-per-month”-walled, here’s Stefanos Chen’s, the reporter covering all the fun, breaking it down on Twitter:

And leave it to Zoomers to actually raise the bar of the conversation, because this building has a teenage Tik Tok hater. A TEENAGE TIK TOK HATER.

@louisatalksbuildings

I’m probably going to post about 432 park sporadically as I find out more things about it!! (as I am 100% sure more things will come out about it)

♬ original sound - Louisa
@louisatalksbuildings

Reply to @dillon_not_dylan whoever referred to this masterpiece as “lost media” you are 100% correct #432parkavenue

♬ original sound - Louisa

It’s almost as if the architect was trying to pull a sick prank on billionaire douchebags. But Rafael Viñoly is not a class comrade my friends; he’s just another star architect embroiled in the ultimate W for his kind. As Ted Mosby once said: Leaving your mark on NYC’s skyline. Chicks dig that apparently. All these new superthin-supertall buildings popping up in Manhattan are obviously the result of developers trying to cash in on this extreme stage of wealth inequality, confident they can make a massive return on their investment even if there build more luxury units than there are billionaires, and they won’t mind doing it in just the teensiest bit of space left on that island. They are, according to this essay, another financial instrument, that way private equity has of reversing productive cycles and turning the tangible and valuable into an idea of money.

That’s to be expected. The problem is star architects jumping on the opportunity to have their egos seen, in the shape of yet another bland, uninspiring glass shard. And as Steven Holl mentions in the essay linked above, pre-New Deal skyscrapers at least created public spaces, or at the very least, they were memorable (#bringbackArtDeco). Have these architects even considered what will happen to these buildings a hundred years from now? What about repurposing them?, no way you can turn them into affordable housing the way they are set up.

I’m not just worried about their social impact. It would appear none of these architects were ever trained in the basics of earthquake-proofing buildings. Granted, NYC is not on a fault zone, but it is on a hurricane zone. The kind that are becoming more and more common. Again, remember what almost happened to the Citigroup Building back in the ’70s? It could’ve toppled over like a domino. 432 Park is 425 meters tall. You know what’s within 400 meters of it? MoMA. And also the former guy’s tower. We could only be so lucky.

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