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Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures The Architecture and Development of New York City with Andrew S. Dolkart
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Buildings That Stand Out
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By the 1970s and early 1980s, there was a lot of criticism of the typical New York apartment house, the typical white-brick apartment house. And there were experiments by the speculative developers of apartment buildings to come up with a response to this, to come up with buildings that would be more interesting than the typical apartment house. And this was of course a way of marketing the building. If you had a building that stood out, it was more likely to attract people who might either rent or buy the apartments.

So one method of having your building stand out was to make it glitzier than all the buildings around it. And that's quite evident at this building built on Third Avenue by Donald Trump, who was the first to use this idea of lots of shiny gold and other glitzy materials on the exterior of a building to attract attention, and then placing his name on the building so that it would be a stamp of assurance that this was a quality building for a certain type of clientele. Another way of making your building stand out was to hire an architect who specialized in speculative construction for the planning of your building and the main mass of your building, but then hire another architectural firm to design the base and the top to make your building stand out.

And this is a building, which was built in the early 1980s, doing exactly that. A typical apartment-house architect designed the main mass of the building, and the young and at that time very hot Miami architectural firm of Arquitectonica was hired to design the top, and they provided the fins at the top and also the base of the building to make this building stand out from all of its neighbors.


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