432 Park Avenue

Taft House Taxonomy

432 Park Avenue Exploded Iso

When we met at the Barbican we spoke about the portfolio as a series of counterpoints: East Harlem against Central Park South; Taft Houses against The Witkoff site at 36 CPS; affluence and social capital against deprivation and unemployment.

To stand against the dismembered taxonomy of Taft Houses which I have been looking at 432 Park Avenue as an example of the opulence of Billionaire’s Row and to understand the way in which these towers are planned.

In the production of these drawings it has been interesting to note a few of the disparities between the two architectures: mix of accommodation; provision of additional rooms within the apartments such as libraries; ratios of bathrooms to bedrooms and the zoning of the luxury apartment by gender; the cross-programming of circulations spaces to become dressing areas and the role of the public realm – the condos being sold on the basis of having private elevator landings.

Volumetrically, the largest apartment in 432 Park Ave. is more than 10 times the area of the smallest apartment in Taft House and has ceiling heights of 4.85m, more than twice that of Taft (2.25m)! I wonder if these spatial characteristics might inform the hybridisation of the tower.

Could public spaces be carved into the apartments to exploit these private ‘corner views’, only partially delineated from the privacy of the condo.

For the immediate future I intend to draw up a few pages looking at the Bungalow Germania and Eisenman references and then see how far I can move with the design proposals before we meet again…

One thought on “432 Park Avenue

  1. The 432 drawing is really nice and I like that you have started to use the long narrow vertical format to talk about the tower. The space provisions are really quite staggering and make me wonder what these decisions were based on. Are the interior divisions created speculatively or in consultation with buyers? Is a library based on a future resident’s existing book collection, and habit of retreating into scholarly activity?? Or is it provided speculatively on the understanding that this is some sort of indication of status?

    On the subject of public and domestic space which you begin a conversation on in your post, the home library can be understood as one space in a catalogue of ‘withdrawing’ spaces – charting the retreat from the public sphere which begins with the landing and entrance gallery, through the lounge and dining room on to the library and ending at the bedroom, being the most private of spaces.

    If the public/private is to inform the hybridization of the towers it would be good to set up a comparison between this hierarchy of the public and private in both buildings. Beyond the division of communal space and the interior of the individual home, how else can you understand where the public and private lay? 432 with multiple ‘living’ rooms, bathrooms, dressing rooms and gender divisions suggests opportunities for private space within the home. But the natural cross-programing that would occur in the much smaller flats of Taft House could perhaps be read as blurring these divisions. When bedrooms are shared and used for homework and visitors are invited into the one living room, does a different understanding of the private emerge? If luxury is found in increasing privatization what is your gesture in opening up 432 spaces to be public – in the eyes of CPS community and EH community? Do the residents of Taft crave private or public space? What would be the programme of the newly public areas in 432? People often use public space for solitary activity, a retreat from a lack of dedicated or private space at home, so are the activities in your new public spaces public or private? This could be a really strong investigation and bring real complexity to the proposal and further your discourse of the uncanny, which as we have discussed comes from the unheimlich – the ‘unhomely’.

    For next week make some drawings to further understand the public private hierarchy (inside and outside the home) in East Harlem / Taft and start to think about what public means in Taft and how this can be mapped onto 432. Perhaps this could be informed by a mapping of the programmed activities on 432 onto Taft – where in Taft is the space of ‘her’ dressing, ‘him’ dressing, etc. What are the activities in Taft’s public spaces other than circulation? And is there a division between your understanding of communal and public? Dogma have an ongoing enquiry into the home so it could be interesting to look at their projects. The line drawings of home interiors suggest a more human scale that you might start to introduce here in addition to the plans which would be appropriate to an investigation of the nuances of public and private (these should show in slides 1 to 4 here http://www.dogma.name/slideshow.html)

    The library is also quite suggestive here, it is quite a peculiar space – understood equally as a civic function and the realm of the very private understood through the ownership of a collection….

    Looking forward to seeing the developments for next week, among this should be the hierarchy of public and private in Taft understood through use, and some proposals of how your understanding of public/private drawn from this becomes a spatial and programatic condition in 432.

Leave a Reply