Frank Gehry: Dizzy heights

This article was written by  and published on on Tuesday 5 July 2011. A version appeared on p19 of the G2 section of the Guardian onWednesday 6 July 2011.


8 Spruce Street. The tallest luxury residential tower in New York City, was designed by the architect Frank Gehry. (Photograph: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times)

It’s Frank Gehry’s first skyscraper – a twisting, rippling tower that is transforming the New York skyline. Jonathan Glancey talks to the 82-year-old architect about realising a lifelong ambition. 

8 Spruce Street, next to the Woolworth Building
The dazzle and the ritz . . . 8 Spruce Street, next to the Woolworth Building. (Photograph: Wade Zimmerman/Arcaid/Corbis

I’m getting tearful,” says Frank Gehry when I ask him how he feels about finally making his mark on the Manhattan skyline. “My father grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, 10th Avenue, on the city’s West Side.” Irving Goldberg was one of nine children in a very poor immigrant family; his son changed his name in the early 1950s. “He started work at 11,” says Gehry. “He had a hard life. I’d like to share 8 Spruce Street with him. Hey, Pa! I got to build a skyscraper right by the Woolworth Building. That’s me, Dad. Up there!”

What Gehry, evergreen at 82, has been building up there on the site of a former parking lot on the border of New York’s financial district, close by Brooklyn Bridge, is an $875m (£543.3m), 870ft, 76-storey residential tower, clad in heroic, sculpted folds of stainless steel. It houses 903 rental apartments – none are for sale – with prices ranging upwards of $2,630 a month, and is due for completion in five months’ time – although the builders who show me around say that some 200 flats have already been let.

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4 Comments on “Frank Gehry: Dizzy heights”

  1. Gail Green says:

    It’s a beautiful building…even the lobby is gorgeous!


  2. i want the penthouse


  3. Larry Schroeder says:

    I await its completion with some anxiety. When not directly lit, it has no presence even in daytime. It disappears at night. Try and find it after 12 noon from the F train on the Manhattan Bridge. The curves are not apparent in any silhouette I have seen. How brightly can one illume an apartment building?


  4. fc3arch says:

    As the darkness lifts over the economy and as the apartments fill up there will be energy and life.


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