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Winka Dubbeldam in Manhattan

ArchiTectonics Winka Dubbeldam

Winka Dubbeldam in Manhattan
By Raymund Ryan -

Housing has long been a strategic issue for New Yorkers, a practical and political concern for those on modest incomes and a complex game of location and style for those with choice regarding where and how to live.  Many of Manhattan’s finest apartment buildings, dating from the Beaux Arts and Art Deco periods, greatly help to define the cityscape.  In recent decades however, despite the talents of local architects, few interesting apartment buildings have been built.  The situation may now be changing with two elegant, skeletal towers - by Richard Meier & Partners - at Perry Street overlooking the Hudson River and The Porter House with its multi-storey cubic penthouse - by SHoP (Sharples Holden Pasquarelli) - in the fashionable Meatpacking District.
South of The Porter House and immediately north of TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal), Greenwich Street is in an eclectic neighbourhood undergoing redevelopment.  The star of this urban metamorphosis is the apartment building designed by Winka Dubbeldam and her practice Archi-Tectonics.  This bipartite project includes a rehabilitated brick warehouse together with a taller structure whose memorable street façade is a fluid membrane of glass.  Inserted between older brick buildings and less skillful, recent commercial projects, Dubbeldam’s glass façade shimmers as it curves up towards the sky and in from the street.  The project is both interesting for itself and as the first major project to be realized by this ambitious designer.
Born and educated in the Netherlands, Winka Dubbeldam benefits from her Dutch background and connections.  In the early 1990s, she studied at Columbia University, at that time the world’s most exciting school of architecture with its famous "paperless studios" under the tutelage of Bernard Tschumi.  If the Dutch architectural scene is marked by the state-subsidized promotion of young architectural practices and its attention to housing, with all the mundane concomitant matters of...

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