Style in the city

The last major project of Philip Johnson's career is a mega hit

09 November 2006
Is a modernist residence the latest luxury accessory of the rich and famous? Judging from the brisk sales of units at The Urban Glass House, a new, luxury condominium project located in Soho New York designed by Philip Johnson and Alan Ritchie, one would think so. The 11 storey 40-unit project, which is ready for occupancy in 2007, is 80% presold. And the penthouse unit set a record for the neighbourhood. No small feat given that real estate market has cooled and that the units here are pricey, ranging from 1.6 to 12.5 million dollars.Part of the project’s success is that it has been cleverly marketed as the urban version of an iconic building, Johnson’s Glass House in New Caanan, Connecticut, which the architect completed in 1949 and occupied until his death in 2005. Ritchie says in scale and context, the Urban Glass House echoes the Seagram building. But the details are drawn from the Glass House. The building’s palette is limited and restrained, with steel and glass as primary materials. Inside, Annabelle Seldorf has designed rich, warm yet spare interiors. White oak floors are laid in a chevron pattern like the brick floors in the original Glass House, and large expanses of glass are used throughout.

Sharon McHugh
WAN US Correspondent

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