Jahn-ing at Work

Eavesdrop: Hadid, Jahn, Venturi, and the Soho Grifter

This post is part of our years-long running Eavesdrop series (think Page 6 for architecture gossip). It’s your best source for insider stories and more. Have an eavesdrop of your own? Send it to: eavesdrop[at]archpaper.com.

Strong foundation

If you have been following the saga of Anna Delvey, the so-called “Soho Grifter” in the news, you might have come across the great profile of her in New York magazine. Long story short, Delvey, whose real name is Anna Sorokin, conned rich New York socialites into supporting her lavish lifestyle and her extravagant Soho House–like private club, the Anna Delvey Foundation. She was convicted on May 26 of two counts of second-degree larceny and one count of first-degree attempted larceny. In the trial proceedings, more details have been in the news, including an ARTnews report that displayed a range of slides from the presentation that she used. One of the more exciting ones for us at Eavesdrop is slide 68, which outlines design director Gabriel Calatrava’s role and background. Also, Santiago Calatrava and developer Aby Rosen were board members, while Daniel Arsham of Snarkitecture was listed as an advisory partner of the “foundation.” A spokesperson for Arsham told AN, “Daniel had no role and was as surprised as everyone else to see his name listed in her foundation materials.”

Here’s who said it

In last month’s Eavesdrop we asked who quipped, “Details wag da dog” in response to Mies van der Rohe’s oft-repeated maxim, “God is in the details.” We all know Robert Venturi’s retort to Mies’s “Less is a bore.” But even more playfully, it was the master of Manayunk himself who said, “Details wag da dog.”

Aerial photo of billboard saying "ZAHA HADID" on 520 West 28th Street condo building

(Matt Shaw/AN)

Zaha Hadid (doesn’t) sell out

A slowdown in the New York City luxury market seems to have claimed another building. According to Crain’s, the ZHA-designed 520 West 28th has only sold 40 percent of its units, and even less than that when measuring in square feet.

Despite the curvaceous building’s prime location along the High Line, there actually aren’t too many neighborhood institutions, like grocery stores and movie theatres. The building’s sky-high prices and large unit sizes haven’t helped either, and the $60 million double penthouse has sat vacant since the building’s opening.

It appears developer Related is changing its marketing approach, as an eagle-eyed AN editor spotted a massive “ZAHA HADID” banner across the building’s top level while walking the High Line. Now that Hudson Yards is open nearby, Related hopes the extra neighborhood amenities will entice potential buyers.

Image of magenta text on white background reading “I am embarrassed that some of my most respected colleges [sic] have been missused [sic] to placate a premitidates [sic] decision, not justified by design or experience. Such attitude has not made Chicago a capitol of world architecture. Hopefully the next mayor will turn this around.” Signed Helmut Jahn 3/27/19

Jahn’s letter (Courtesy Helmut Jahn/Blair Kamin)

Helmut’s Langer

Chicago’s decision to award the new $2.2 billion O’Hare Global Terminal and Global Concourse building to the Studio Gang–led team has stirred criticism, and some of it is from a surprising source. Legendary Chicago architect Helmut Jahn released a handwritten note blasting the winning design, saying that he hoped the next mayor of Chicago would roll it back.

“I am embarrassed that some of my most respected colleges [sic] have been missused [sic] to placate a premitidates [sic] decision, not justified by design or experience. Such attitude has not made Chicago a capitol of world architecture. Hopefully the next mayor will turn this around.”

What a world!

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Or is that the other way around? Anyhoo, at a recent roundtable discussion at the United Nations in New York, Bjarke Ingels unveiled a prototype floating city (see front page). In his presentation, he said that his scheme “would not look like Waterworld.” However, one of the two screenwriters of Waterworld was one of the next speakers, Peter Rader. “I bet when Bjarke threw shade at Kevin Costner, he didn’t think the screenwriter of Waterworld was in the audience. This looks exactly what we did in Waterworld,” said Rader.

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