Whipping around the globe, Shigeru Ban designs everything from major museums to modest relief projects when and wherever disaster strikes. And the Japanese architect regularly wields his craft to make walls that move, rooms that roll, and entire buildings that can be packed up in shipping crates. The realization of Metal Shutter Houses marks another feat for Ban — this time in the heart of Manhattan.
Located on a quiet street between the High Line and the Hudson River, the 11-story condominium features a layered facade — one that opens completely. Enclosed by perforated-steel shutters that roll, and hangarlike bifold doors that fold up, the building front literally peels away, so that its eight units are filled with daylight, air, and marvelous city views. According to Ban, “I wanted to open the living room to the cityscape because most apartments in New York are very closed.” But it took five years to bring his unconventional idea to fruition.