"Blue," the stunning, 16-story residential condominium building at 105 Norfolk Street on the Lower East Side, is notable for its angularity and its "pixelated" façades of dark-blue glass.
The building was designed by Bernard Tschumi, whose projects include Parc Villette in Paris, the Vacheron Constantin headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, a concert hall in Rouen, France, and the Lerner Hall Student Center at Columbia University where he was dean of architecture from 1988 to 2003.
Norfolk Hudson LLP, a venture of Angelo Cosentini and John Carson, was the developer. Its other projects included The Atalanta at 25 North Moore Street, 637 Hudson Street and 58 Thomas Street.
The 32-unit building was completed in 2007.
One of the very few modern landmarks of the Lower East Side, Blue juts into its skyline with angles and strong color, great views and a plaza with bamboo trees.
Angled and cantilevered, this very striking and very elegant tower is almost completely out-of-place in the tenement-strewn Lower East Side. It was preceded, however, by another very modern tower not very far away, The Hotel on Rivington, a pale-green-glass clad building designed by Gryzinski Pons, which more recently completed a more modest and smaller but quite subtle apartment building at 115 Norfolk Street that is notable for its angled lines across its façade.
In an article in the September 4, 2007 edition of The New York Times, architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff wrote that “seen from a distance the Blue Building’s crystalline form seems to twist and bend as it rises.”
“The exterior bulges out on one side so that its form leans over a lower commercial building next door. A big penthouse terrace is cut out of the west façade; the top of the east façade is sliced off at an angle. These contortions are a sly expression of the various forces that this architect had to contend with while designing the building: the tight site, the restrictions imposed by the zoning envelope, the developer’s desire to squeeze out as much rental space as possible. But the effect also sets the entire composition wonderfully off balance.”
On August 25, 2005, Fabrizio commented at wirednewyork.com that the building “would be lovely in a happy tropical locale….you’d want the pool tiles to match the façade of course. And Versace sunglasses for everyone!”
The entrance to Blue is a plaza with large rocks and bamboo trees in front of a building-wide, angled marquee.
The building has a full-time doorman, reportedly the first residential building on the Lower East Side to have such a feature,
Apartments have bamboo floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, individual storage units and residential communal outdoor space on the second and fifth floors.
Kitchens have glass-fronted cabinets and bathrooms have pebbled floors and large raised sinks.
Apartment 9BC is a two-bedroom unit with a 18-foot-long den, a 15-foot-long dining area and a 29-foot-long living room with an open kitchen with an island.
Apartment 10C is a one-bedroom unit with a 19-foot-long dining area across from an open kitchen with an island and next to a 16-foot-wide living room.
A two-bedroom unit on the 15th floor has a long entry gallery that leads past a large kitchen to a very large combined study, dining area and living room space.
The penthouse is a duplex unit with a long entrance gallery that leads to a 20-foot-long dining area and a large open kitchen and a 20-foot-long living room that opens onto a 21-foot-long terrace on the lower level and two bedrooms on the upper level.
The building is on the site of the former parking lot belonging to Ratner's, the famous kosher restaurant, and its sales office at 100 Norfolk Street occupied Ratner's former restaurant kitchen that was briefly occupied by Lansky's Lounge, a night club named after Meyer Lansky.
The Norfolk Street project is separated by a one-story building that houses a nightclub from another striking new condominium project, the "Switch" building at 109 Norfolk Street, a 7-story building designed by Narchitects where the floors zig-zag back and forth with gentle angles creating a lively façade and a new twist on bay windows.
The "Switch" building is just to the south of the very pleasant, red-brick Asian Americans for Equality Community Center at 111 Norfolk Street designed by Victor M. Morales.
Another new project planned for the street is at 115-9 Norfolk Street and it has been designed by Grzywinksi Pons Architects, the firm that designed THOR (The Hotel on Rivington Street) nearby at 107 Rivington Street, an impressive, pale-green tower that is slightly slanted at its top.