“Frank Gehry was seventy-five when construction began on his first Manhattan building. Jean Nouvel was fifty-nine. Frank Lloyd Wright was in his eighties. Among the past ten winners of the Pritzker Prize, the profession’s leading international award (and one that [37-year-old Bjarke] Ingels seems impatient to secure), six have not built in the city. Ingels’s New York, and North American, debut will contain nearly nine hundred thousand square feet of apartments and ground-floor commercial space, and is expected to cost half a billion dollars, which—as Ingels pointed out, in a conversation about barriers to early success in architecture—is not outlandish in this context but still exceeds the budget of the most expensive film ever made.
The building, known for the moment as W57, will stand between Fifty-seventh and Fifty-eighth Streets, next to the West Side Highway. It will be unmissable from the river, and should present a dazzling view to drivers approaching from the south. The form of W57 is what you might have if snow drifted steeply into the corner of a yard, and then you removed the yard. Recessed ocean-liner balconies will interrupt the smooth shape, and so will a deep courtyard running from east to west. Its sharp northeastern peak will be forty-one stories high. As we passed the U.S.S. Intrepid, Ingels pointed ahead, ‘It’s a gigantic triangle down to the waterfront!’ he said. ‘It’s going to be the most insane view of anything in New York!’”