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Parke-Bernet Gallery, Upper East Side, New York, United States

Friday 16 May 2008

Appeasing the Upper class

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Norman Foster forced to redesign Upper East Side tower 

Norman Foster has been forced to redesign a planned extension of New York’s Upper East Side Parke-Bernet Gallery because residents objected to the original 30-storey glass design. This marks the second high-profile design which has been stunted in the area following the revision of a design for the Whitney Museum of American Art two years ago in order to preserve two original facades.

The original design for Parke-Bernet, which would have been developed by Aby Rosen, was to rise from the centre of the original building and would have provided a statement feature in the heart of the 1950’s limestone structure. But residents were disturbed by the proposal. One resident is reported to have stated that the structure would be ‘a glass dagger plunged into the heart of Upper East Side’. The Landmarks Preservation Committee were also responsible, having halted the development in January in objection to the design.

There was, however, one supporter on the committee. Jan Hird Pokorny, an architect, was said to have stood up for the design, comparing it to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Dome of Pisa which historically were built a hundred years apart but complement each other perfectly.

The redesign is a much more subdued offering than the first and a complete contrast with a low, squared bronze-clad design which will lie directly on top of the existing building. The design is, again, subject to approval from the Landmarks Preservation Committee.

Niki May Young
News Editor

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