The American Institute of Architects held its annual convention at the Javits Center in June. Over 25,000 Architects, design professionals, manufacturers and trade representatives from all over America and some from around the world descended on the city for 2 days to take in everything that New York has to offer and get valuable learning credits. During the two day event, I spoke with countless visitors and they all had similar questions – “What is your favorite building in New York?” and “What are the most important structures to see?” Their timing could not be better as my firm recently launched a free, architectural wayfinding app called LABYL or ‘Learn About Buildings You Love’ to discover architecture in New York City and through the process I have developed a long list of not-for-tourist buildings. If you only had 2 days in the Big Apple, here are a few architectural icons to see.
At the Airport: Starting with your arrival at JFK, make sure to get the train’s eye view of the TWA Terminal. One of Eero Sarinen’s most famous constructs, the building is being converted to a 505-room hotel by the architectural firm Beyer Blinder Belle.
Hotels: There are a host of well crafted hotels to choose from. The Standard Hotel by Ennead Architects, the Public Hotel on the Lower East Side by Herzog and DeMeuron and the Jane Hotel in the West Village are just a few architecturally exceptional places to stay. The Standard Hotel has the added advantage of straddling the Highline where you can soak in the view of the new developments along the elevated park if you choose to stay there.
Sightseeing: One of the easiest places to start your walking tour is at the Highline where you can immerse yourself in an architecturally rich landscape. The elevated Park is designed by James Corner – Field Operations with Diller Scofidio & Renfro and is surrounded by HL23 by Neil Denari, his only built project in New York. Keep heading north to see the late Zaha Hadid’s building at 520 West 28 Street, followed by Soori Highline by SCDA Architects at 522 West 29 Street. At that point on the park, the new Hudson Yards development begins with its star studded field which includes the ‘Vessel’ by Thomas Heatherwick, the ‘Shed’ building by Diller Scofidio and Renfro and towers by KPF and Helmut Jahn.
Places to Eat : The Big Apple is a gastronomer’s paradise. And if you choose wisely, you can see great interiors paired with good food. Take for example Morimoto’s in Chelsea, where the Japanese Pritzker Prize winning architect Tadao Ando designed the zen-like interiors to complement Masaharu Morimoto’s cuisine. Go for the architecture but stay for the food.
New York is best seen through the eyes of a curious tourist. No matter how long you have lived in this City, the next time you take a walk, pretend to be a visitor and discover some delightful structures around you.