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Carter's View

A striking new mid-block building designed by Gryzwinski Pons, the architects of THOR (The Hotel on Rivington), a major new tower at 107 Rivington Street on the Lower East Side, is planned for 306-8 West 116th Street between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Manhattan Avenue.

The building will be distinguished by a bright white facade of a concrete aggregate with titanium dioxide that is reputed to be self-cleaning.

Matthew Gryzwinski told today that the facade material was employed by Richard Meier in his design of the Jubilee Church in Rome, but, to his knowledge, has not previously been used in this country.

The asymmetrical fenestration pattern of the street facade is beautiful and jazzy and would make Piet Mondrian boogie.

The building will have 15 residential condominium apartments including a three-bedroom duplex garden apartment and a three-bedroom duplex penthouse and two one-bedroom units. The remainder of the apartments will be two-bedroom units with about 1,000 square feet each.

The building will have an asymmetrical facade that will have an open shaftway behind part of it that will create a strong sense of depth and screening. The rear of the building will have balconies.

The developer is the NCC Corporation.

Excavation is underway and construction is expected to start by the end of the summer with completion in the Spring of 2007.

Gryzwinski Pons is the architect also for 115-119 Norfolk Street, a 7-story building with 24 apartments that is being developed by Zeyad Aly. 115 Norfolk Street will be distinguished by an open-top atrium entrance and by its random design of fretted glass windows. The atrium is slightly off-center to the south of the building's frontage on Norfolk Street. The atrium will be enclosed in glass on Norfolk Street but its west wall is angled upwards and towards the west and rises a bit above the roofline. The atrium's top is open to the sky and the angled west wall is somewhat reminiscent of the Austrian Cultural Institute at 11 East 52nd Street designed by Raimund Abraham and opened in 2000.

Apartments that overlook the atrium will have the same fretted glass windows as the Norfolk Street facade. Mr. Grzywinksi said that these windows will have random "cloud" shapes in angled fretted designs. This decorative touch is somewhat reminiscent of Lindy Roy's sinuously-shaped balcony "amoeba-shaped" scrims for a new project now under construction at 519 West 23rd Street known as Highline 519.

It is one of three new projects on that Norfolk Street block that are quite radical and are likely to make it an important "destination" street for lovers of contemporary architecture.

The most advanced project is the "Switch" building at 109 Norfolk Street, a 7-story building designed by Narchitects. Its zig-zag facade of angled floors facing Norfolk Street is now nearing completion.

The largest of the three new projects is "Blue" at 105 Norfolk Street, now under construction. This 16-story building, designed by Bernard Tschumi, has an angled facade of different shades of blue glass.
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.