Work on the Portzamparc-designed 400 Park Avenue South is moving right along, and forms for the building’s exterior have now been installed. The tower’s irregular design is already obvious, as the forms are attached at a variety of angles, almost looking like shoddy construction work — that is obviously not the case, and is instead a result of the future masterpiece’s jagged, sloping sides.
Though some would compare 400 Park Avenue South to The Shard, there is no true likeness abroad or in New York, and the moniker ‘the crystal’ would definitely be apt given the intricacies of the tower’s plans. The Shard, fantastic in its own right, is much more simple, and — boiled down to basic geometric form— is four similarly-sized and slightly irregular isosceles triangles, with a pinnacle that is exaggerated by the differences in each side.
A similar structure in New York would look remarkable, but a sibling cannot be found in 400 Park Avenue South; the drastic differences between each of the building’s sides combined with the sharp angles will result in something much more complex, and indeed, the structure will resemble an enormous crystal more than anything else.
Despite the intricacies that define Portzamparc’s masterpiece, the renderings show a final product that actually looks quite simple — like a crystal, the tower will shimmer on the outside, a deceptive tactic that will conceal the unique and underlying irregularities, a combination that should ultimately cement 400 Park Avenue South as both a neighborhood landmark and an architectural icon.