Posted by Leonard Steinberg on July 16th, 2013

Zaha Hadid, the Pritzker-prize-winning architect is coming to West Chelsea: the 11-story condo building coming to 520 West 28th Street, developed by Related, is perched on a site that was actually quite limiting, according to Hadid, keeping her signature TWA-terminal-esque grand swooshes in check.  With two wings of uneven heights, a chevron pattern on the exterior, rounded corners, and jutting-out terraces that make the facade excitingly far from uniform, this building will certainly be an exciting addition to the mix of new buildings dotting the Highline Park .

Starting from the southernmost end of the Highline, this building will join newcomers such as HFZ’s building on 19th Street, Sherwood Capital’s building on 21st Street, Cook Fox’s sculptural glass office building for Albanese, Neil Denari’s HL23 (built), Cary Tamarkin’s 508 West 24th Street, 245 Tenth Avenue (built), Avenues School…..all the way up to HUDSON YARDS where an entire city is coming (much of it developed by RELATED) with tenants such as Coach, SAP and L’Oreal already signed up.

Related says there will be 37 residences of up to 5,500 square feet, focusing on expansive, gracious layouts with 11-foot ceilings, thoughtful technological integration and state-of-the-art finishes and features. Designed with multiple elevator cores, a majority of the residences will have a private vestibule and entrance that adds to the intimacy of the building. There will also be a double-height entrance lobby, communal spaces, an outdoor garden, a substantial roof terrace, indoor pool and spa, entertainment space, and playroom.

I imagine pricing will be extremely high considering Zaha Hadid’s design and construction costs: thats where I’m a bit concerned. Did Zaha actually look at the surrounding building to see what these super-priced apartment buyers will be looking at from their living rooms? Right now its not terribly pretty (besides the Highline Park) and much of it is new and not going anywhere. 303 Tenth Avenue and Avalon Bay’s mostrously hideous and un-evolved building are but two examples. We all love looking at beautiful sculptures, and if those walking the park viewing this building were actually paying for the building I could understand this scenario…..but they are not. Those living inside these apartments will not have very nice exposures from their large spaceship windows. Have mega starchitects become like bloated developers designing their buildings from a boardroom?  It worries me.