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The Standard, New York,, United States

Wednesday 27 Apr 2011

Raising Standards

Jeff Goldberg/Esto (exteriors) and Nikolas Koenig (interior) 
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Ennead Architects design hotel in the trendy Meatpacking District of New York 

The Standard, New York, is a 204,500 square-foot, 337-room hotel in the Meatpacking District, which comprises roughly twenty square blocks on Manhattan's Hudson River edge. Although characterized as "New York's most fashionable neighbourhood," the district retains traces of its colourful past, including the eponymous meatpacking plants and the counterculture that emerged in the 1970s. It thrives as a neighbourhood of curious juxtapositions: where once the night-time streets were filled with butchers and artists, one now also finds Wall Street executives, fashionistas and celebrity-seekers. High-end retail and restaurants occupy spaces once reserved for industrial uses.

Twenty-five feet above the street, an abandoned 75-year-old elevated railroad line meanders through this district. This railbed-the High Line-has been reinvented as a linear public park. The eighteen-story hotel straddles the park, engaging its urban context through contrast: in its material quality, its proportions and its relationship to the High Line and the street. Muscular concrete piers, whose sculptural forms clearly separate the building from the orthogonal street grid, raise the building fifty-seven feet, allowing the horizontally-oriented industrial cityscape to pass beneath it and natural light to penetrate to the street.

The two slabs are "hinged" to further emphasize the building's distinction from the City's grid and its levitation above the neighbourhood. The low-scale context affords the building unusual visibility from all directions, and its interaction with the High Line creates a stepped transition from the street, shaping distinct public spaces that afford visitors unique views of the City from all directions. The juxtaposition of the building's two materials-poured-in-place, board-formed concrete and glass-reflects the character of New York City: the gritty quality of the concrete contrasts with the refinement of the glass. The concrete grid provides a delicate frame for the transparent water white glass, the two materials unified in the continuous plane of the curtain wall. This exterior wall breaks with the traditional architecture of hotels, replacing opacity with transparency, privacy with openness.

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Ennead Architects LLP

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