A Calatrava Comparison

Grounded in zero fact, and for no reason other than it amuses me to do so, I once again present to you a possible glimpse into the inner workings of Santiago Calatrava.

The rendering at right is, of course, Calatrava’s new Fordham Spire – the feminine phallus / bold foray into hermaphroditic architecture – and the model presented at the left was designed by the arguably genius and unreasonably obscure architect Bart Prince. Prince, now based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was the protege /one-time lover of equally eccentric and equally underrated architect Bruce Goff.

Information on the Prince skyskraper is hard to find, and I’ll be the first to admit that the comparison is a mostly superficial one based on the spiraling floor plates and oddly-centered antenna. Nonetheless, when I stumbled across this image while doing work-related research, I found it to be an irresistible, albeit unfair parallel that is most definitely worthy of posting to this site at 3 am on a Monday night.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Townhouses in the Sky(line)

Today, Santiago Calatrava’s proposal for a new residential tower ( left photo) was approved by the New York City Department of Buildings. The tower, consisting of only 10 townhouses, has always seemed like the building equivalent of a concept car- I want it to be built, but I know it never will. This time, however, it looks like the concept will become a reality. A very expensive, very elite, reality. The New York Post reports that each townhouse will cost $35 Million. It’s going to be exciting to see something new and unconventional in the Manhattan skyline. In the wake of the watered-down WTC plan, I hope the city will take more chances like this.

I couldn’t help but wonder if this project was at all inspired by S.I.T.E’s 1981 unbuilt project, “The Highrise of Homes.” (pictured at right) More neighborhood than penthouse, the Highrise of Homes consists of a structural frame that supports independently constructed suburban-style homes, complete with fence, yard, and neighbors. I’m personally a huge fan of S.I.T.E’s early work, and I’ve met James Wines; he’s a funny, smart guy who believes himself to be one of the most influentital yet under-appreciated architects in the last 50 years. He might be right. I’m sure that somewhere, in the near future, he’ll give a lecture and show these projects side by side, trying to convince the crowd that if not for his “Highrise of Homes,” Calatrava’s project would never exist.