Todd Schliemann/Polshek Partnership Architects — Rising 20 stories above the once-miry Meatpacking District on Manhattan’s West Side, the recently opened New York branch of the Standard Hotels offers some brazen contradictions. Designed by Polshek Partnership design partner Todd Schliemann for boutique hotel impresario André Balazs, the robust concrete structure lightly spans the High Line park. And while the hotel’s form is thoroughly contemporary, it begs comparison to the city’s modernist icons. “?‘Heroic’ is exactly the right word to describe it,” juror Aaron Betsky said. “Here is a building that makes the kind of sculptural urban gesture that we haven’t seen in Manhattan since the UN Building.”
Yet the project isn’t limited by the purism of previous eras. Its façade inflects slightly, distinguishing the hotel from its neighbors. The kink in the plan also enabled the architects to squeeze in more rooms, 337 in all.
The building’s monumentality comes from a massive structural system that raises the tower 57 feet off the ground: a concrete pier (5 feet thick by 50 feet wide and 60 feet tall) paired with five 2-foot-by-6-foot columns. Fourteen-foot-deep steel trusses allow the hotel to straddle the High Line, thanks to a floating easement.
At ground level, the architects created a nuanced entry experience. Sequences of public spaces (the entrance plaza) and semi-public ones (dining patios for the restaurant, lounge, and beer garden) spill out from the base of the hotel. “It’s so rare to see hospitality architecture actually be this restrained and inventive at the same time,” juror Ellen Dunham-Jones noted. “It’s very urban.”