By Carter B. Horsley
The architectural scene in New York City is
becoming increasingly international and one of the brightest "new"
stars is Enrique Norten, who is based in Mexico City.
Mr. Norten's firm, TEN Arquitectos, is the
subject of a nice exhibition at the Museum of the City of New
York from June 7 through October 30, 2005, entitled "New
York Moving Forward."
The exhibition contains renderings and models
of several of Mr. Norten's recent projects including three in
New York City that not only will enhance his reputation but significantly
move the city back into the mainstream of architecture creativity
after a much too long hiatus.
The most important of these New York projects
is Harlem Park, a 34-story structure now under construction on
125th Street at Park Avenue, which is certain to become Harlem's
most important landmark. The building, shown above, is a bold
and sophisticated design that is most notable for undulating grid
of its eastern facade.
The tower's slab is aligned
along the north/south axis. The middle of the slab is green and
the top section of the eastern base of the project is blue and
contains five floors of office space. The bottom of the base contains
about 55,000 square feet of retail space and a terraced banquet
level. The tower will contain a 204-room Marriott Courtyard hotel,
185,000 square feet of office space and the top of the tower will
contain 110,000 square feet of apartments.
The tower is across from the 125th Street Metro-North
rail station. Majic Development Group is the developer of the
$220 million project. The hotel will be the first major new hotel
in Harlem since the closing in 1966 of the Hotel Theresa. The
project originally was planned to be about 550 feet tall but was
lowered to about 453 feet.
What is perhaps most striking about the project
is that Norten's design studies for the project are superb. Ideally
they should all be built. Often the best design studies are overtaken
by political and economic compromises and while this project has
been reduced in height it still remains as a tremendously exciting
design that will become a major New York City landmark.
Norten's Harlem Park design gives not hint
of his plans for the new Brooklyn Public Library for the Visual
and Performing Arts close to the Brooklyn Academy of Music and
the Williamsburgh Bank Tower and very close to the huge new arena
and housing complex that has been designed by Frank Gehry for
Forest City Ratner.
Plans for that complex were made public recently
and then another developer, Extell Management, submitted a competiting
plan for the same site that is smaller and not as exciting and
hopefully will not be accepted. The Gehry/Ratner scheme calls
for a phalanx of tall towers, many that rise at angles.
Combined with Norten's design for the library,
this location could well become one of the most exciting places
in the entire city. All that would be missing would be the Brooklyn
Norten's design for a residential
expansion of old industrial building at 1 York Street in the TriBeCa
section is less radical than the Harlem and Brooklyn projects,
but it demonstrates Norten's impressive design vocabulary that
is not set in stone.
It is one of several recent
residential projects to emerge recently in the city that have
departed from traditional facades.
Indeed, Norten's design studies
for this project are as exciting as those for Harlem Park and
are sure to get a great deal of attention from the city's architectural