Norman Foster hasn’t had great luck in Manhattan—his public library plan seems to have gone off the rails, in part due to the lackluster renderings his firm released last year. And his Hearst Building, at 57th Street and Eighth Avenue, has always looked a little squat; it will seem positively piddling when the spate of new, supertall towers on 57th Street (including an 84-story monolith by Rafael Viñoly) take to the sky.
But maybe Foster will do better with 551 West 21st Street, a 19-story condo building overlooking the Hudson River. Foster’s involvement had been rumored for months, and was finally confirmed by publicists for developer Scott Resnick. Resnick touted the building’s "robust, cast-concrete exterior" and "expansive windows with warm metal surrounds designed to enhance and reflect the location's abundant western light." But with apartments of up to 6,400 square feet, with "French herringbone floors and custom millwork," the focus seems to be on lifestyle more than architecture, a pitfall in an era when buyers are willing to spend $20-to-$80 million on condos and apparently believe that only more is more.