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Friday, August 21, 2009

Soho Mews, New York, United States

Soho Mews is a tribute to Gwathmey’s talent
With the passing of Charles Gwathmey on Monday 3 August, the design community has lost a major talent. However, as is the blessing for many architects, Gwathmey will live on through the bounty of beautiful buildings he left behind. One of those buildings is Soho Mews, a new multi-storey residential complex in Soho that completed earlier this year.

The project, which consists of two buildings linked by a courtyard, is a testament to all things Gwathmey- his passion for Corbusian Modernism, his fastidious attention to detail, his curatorial approach to materials and of course his design rigour. While Gwathmey was said to be at his best working at the scale of the private house, Soho Mews is among his best recent New York buildings.

Soho Mews is a modern take on the historic cast-iron architecture of James Bogardus. The palazzo type buildings recall their historical antecedents in their proportioning and scale yet renders them afresh in a contemporary expression that avoids any hint of historical pastiche. The project houses 64 dwellings in two buildings, one for condos the other for town homes, connected by a garden designed by landscape architect Peter Walker. A defining element of the buildings are their facades – richly layered compositions of stone, metal, clear, frosted and fritted glass that capture and reflect light and shadow throughout the day.

The apartments have open plans and 10-foot ceilings, echoing the layout of the artist lofts that predominate the neighbourhood. The units are graciously appointed with a mix of warm woods, marble baths and Valcucine kitchens designed by Gwathmey.

Of the project Gwathmey poignantly said, “a site like this doesn’t come around very often - it may never come around again.”

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

architecture NOW

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