Allied Works’ design replaces Stone’s fortress-like marble façade with interlocking terra cotta tiles and glass. In a sharp distinction from the building’s original Venetian-themed quirky opulence, Cloepfil has re-envisioned 2 Columbus Circle as a high-tech, slick-looking monolith, rather like a giant glowing computer mainframe in a science fiction movie. Both designs are singular and stark. Project descriptions from Allied Works says that the new design preserves the buidling's iconic precense.
Cloepfil’s design places it closer to the current design mainstream that Stone’s building did at the time. And it doesn’t seem like a coincidence that Cloepfil’s facade harkens back to the good old days of Modernism a bit.
Invoking the “lollipop building”, as Ada Louis Huxtable labeled it after its opening in 1964, has become code for disavowing the checkered legacy of Postmodernism. No other New York building was ever so used as a symbol of stylistic excess. Its arching columns, dearth of glass, and porthole-bejeweled façade seemed to mock everything that the International Style Modernists had worked so hard for, especially since its architect had more than a passing involvement in the design of the original home of Modernism, the MoMA. But the building had its fans too, (like the New York Times’ Herbert Muschamp) who admired its sense of luxurious hedonism. For some, it was a tonic to what boosters saw as an endlessly monotonous parade of by-the-numbers Modernist glass filing cabinets clogging the New York City skyline. It was the ultimate architectural anti-hero. Without this contrast, Stone’s design wouldn’t have meant as much, and wouldn’t have become a community rallying cry.
So has 2 Columbus Circle become loved because it was hated? What risks are you willing to take to design out of the mainstream and to flaunt convention? And what do you think of 2 Columbus Circle?