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385 West 12th Street: Review and Ratings

between West Street & Washington Street View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 385 West 12th Street by Carter Horsley

The copper-clad, 7-story condominium apartment building at 385 West 12th Street contains four “town homes,” six full-floor units, and two duplex penthouses. It was designed by FLAnk Architects and completed in 2011. 

It is one of the most handsome buildings erected during the early 2010's, not only because of its façade material that will alter its appearance over time, but also because its modulated form and fenestration patterns are very unusual.

Bottom Line

Perhaps the most attractive of the numerous new “boutique” residential buildings erected in the early 2010's in the Far West Village and West Chelsea area, this building is very elegant and very distinctive.

Description

The building makes gentle, but sophisticated changes in its street alignment like a flamenco dancer beginning to tap out a crescendo of energetic rhythms or a nude Marcel Duchamps-figure quietly but quickly and tectonically descending a staircase. Neither “action painting” nor Deconstructivist architecture,” this is just sublime with its slabs of slippery glass and projected metallic surfaces. Bravo! 

It has been described as a striking “statement with geometry and glasswork.” 

The building has a small entrance marquee and its overall aesthetic might be described as Noguchiesque.

Amenities

The building has a 24-hour lobby attendant, direct keyed elevator access, a full-time housekeeper/laundress, a bicycle room, a garden, a fitness center, a 50-foot lap rooftop pool, a storage room, a library, a roof deck and a wine cellar.

The building is pet friendly.

Apartments

Apartments have gas-burning fireplaces, balconies, high ceiling, walnut flooring, maple kitchen cabinetry, and washers and dryers. 

One of the duplex apartments has a 39-foot-long living/dining room with a fireplace and an enclosed 15-foot-long kitchen next to an 18-foot-long den and three bedrooms. 

One of the triplex town homes has an entry foyer that leads past a large, open, pass-through kitchen to a living room overlooking a landscaped rear yard with four rectangular skylights to a basement gallery off a dining room and wine cellar and a home theater.  The top floor has three bedrooms. 

Another triplex town home has a foyer that leads to a home theater and a 27-foot-long living room/gallery on the lowest level with a 21-foot-long dining room, an open, pass-through kitchen and living room with a fireplace overlooking a landscaped rear year on the middle level and three bedrooms on the upper level.

History

This site was formerly owned by Coalco, which had commissioned Christian de Portzamparc to design a modern, glass cluster of townhouses that he hoped would sway residents in the area to allow a zoning variance for the project. 

In 2004, the two-building site had been bought by Coalco, run by Russian tycoon Vasily Anismov, for $21 million from Diane von Furstenberg, the designer. 

According to Edward Baquero, the managing partner of Coalco, the impending downzoning would limit the building’s height to 80 feet and make its development unfeasible. 

Ms. Von Furstenberg told a reporter for The New York Sun in 2005 that the de Portzamparc design was a better alternative to the buildings that might be constructed under the planning rezoning. 

"You have the choice between a very unattractive building, between eight to 10 floors, which is what somebody will end up doing, or you have the possibility of doing something special," Ms. von Furstenberg said. 

Mr. de Portzamparc, a winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize, awarded annually to one architect, designed the LVMH Tower on 57th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues and a 1,004-foot-high mixed tower for Extell Development at 157 West 57th Street. 

Coalco’s other projects in the city include 80 Lafayette Street, 321 Bowery, 636 Greenwich Street, 400 Broome Street, 201 East 14th Street, the Sugar Warehouse Building at 79 Laight Street and 30 Crosby Street.

Location

The building is to the east of Gary Tamarkin’s 397 West 12th Street that features double-height living rooms and loggias and across the street from the Superior Ink development designed by Robert A. M. Stern.

Rating

24
Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 24 / 44

+
26
Out of 36

Location Rating: 26 / 36

+
20
Out of 39

Features Rating: 20 / 39

+
10
=
80

CityRealty Rating Reference

 
Architecture
  • 30+ remarkable
  • 20-29 distinguished
  • 11-19 average
  • < 11 below average
 
Location
  • 27+ remarkable
  • 18-26 distinguished
  • 9-17 average
  • < 9 below average
 
Features
  • 22+ remarkable
  • 16-21 distinguished
  • 9-15 average
  • < 9 below average
  • #13 Rated condo - West Village
 
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between Gold Street & Flatbush Avenue Extension
Downtown Brooklyn
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