I usually spread my Then and Now posts out a bit, however I think this one serves as an awesome contrast to the improvement of the building in the previous post. This After is, well you can see for yourself, I'm struggling to fathom how or why a building like that was treated like this...
Located on a small and irregular shaped island at Columbus Circle, one of the busiest intersections in Manhattan, lies 2 Columbus Circle, formerly known as the Gallery of Modern Art. Famously described as a “die-cut Venetian palazzo on lollipops” by Ada Louise Huxtable, the New York Times architecture critic at the time, the 10-story poured concrete structure has been a source of consistent controversy and public response since the 1960s. Designed by Edward Durell Stone, an early proponent of American modern architecture, 2 Columbus Circle represents a turning point in his career.
I mean I like modern design, a lot, but how is this hideous form an improvement on the original? As we say here in Oz, yeah but nah. What a cock up!
Stone's curved facade deferred to the geometry of Columbus Circle, but the new version, though still curved, does its best to ignore the 70-foot granite column. Slots appear at random, and a continuous ribbon of fritted glass zigzags down the building, graphic effects that belong more to the packaging of consumer products than to architecture. At the base, several of Stone's original Venetian columns are preserved behind murky glass like body parts in formaldehyde. As for the glazed terra-cotta tiles of the exterior, they are dull and lifeless and make even the slick steel-and-glass facade of the Time-Warner Center next door look lively. The new Museum of Arts and Design is artsy and designy, but it is not good architecture, and it makes me miss Stone's winsome palazzo all the more.