Sculpture for Sneering

photo: Jay Muhlin

A friend of mine described her experience of observing architect CHARLES GWATHMEY while he was sketching some plans in his office. "Oh, look," my friend noted, "two lines connected by an S-curve. Again. The master at work." After witnessing the new Gwathmey-designed building rising on Astor Place, one is tempted to say: "Oh, look: another building with playfully arranged postmodernist-style volumes, set against the rectilinearity of the city's grid, sheathed in a blandly detailed mirror curtain wall. Again. The master at work."

Soon we will be able to catalog and evaluate nearly two dozen 20-to-40-unit upscale condo buildings designed by celebrity architects. From what is there now, it is difficult to see Gwathmey's "Sculpture for Living" near the top of that list.

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