What’s Your Style? New York City's Residential Architecture

Renowned for its iconic skyline and masterfully-designed skyscrapers, New York City is also home to a number of new residential buildings that have become a part of modern-day Manhattan. Bringing life to a two-dimensional drawing of a building is something that every competent architect is trained to do, but it takes someone with a special vision to create a really iconic structure that enriches a city's landscape and helps shape its culture.

“We are getting a lot more beautiful buildings lately,” says John Reed, AIA, design principal at the architectural firm of CannonDesign, based in New York City with locations worldwide. “There was a long time when you didn’t come to New York to look at the latest architecture, but that all changed with the economic boom [of the early 2000s]. All of a sudden you have these big architects coming in, and the results have been really interesting.”

T.J. Gottesdiener, AIA, an architect and managing partner of the New York office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), relates that the improving post-Recession economy has resulted in more work the past few years—with an increase in new multifamily residential buildings.

“The Post-modern era is gone,” he says. “More buildings today are trying to have a character to them and an integrity to them. I think one of the trends we are seeing is that people understand that good design is ultimately good business, and you don’t necessarily need the big name. People are understanding it’s about what you build and how it fits into the urban context.”

Stephen Alton, the founder and principal of Stephen Alton Architect. P.C. in New York City, says the question of “style” is more difficult to respond to now more than ever because there is little that binds the current multitude of design approaches.


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  • “The Post-modern era is gone.” If that's the case, then why is the most financially successful, talked about, written about, and coveted of the new crop of apartment buildings is 15CPW, which is decidedly pomo?