Chelsea Condos Get Magic Glass Walls; Behemoth Rises in Midtown

Date: 18 July 2011
Source: http://www.bloomberg.com
At the push of a button, the 20- foot-high wall of glass opened with an electric hum, folding itself flat against the ceiling.

A breeze and muted street noise wafted in.

Shigeru Ban’s 11-story boutique condo with its duplex apartments is a world away from another luxury apartment building now nearing completion: Arquitectonica’s 63 story, blue-black glass behemoth containing 150 condos atop 500 rentals.

The New York real estate market has gotten pretty strange.

At Shigeru Ban’s Chelsea building, another button controls the motorized metal mesh rising from outside the apartment’s balcony. Push that, and daylight pours in, revealing a view of mottled red brick and lush street trees.

With such simple gestures, Ban transforms the quality of light and space in the apartment.

The building is called the “Metal Shutter House” because the condos disappear behind the vertical Shoji screens. All the units but a $13-million penthouse have long been sold.

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