When I turned the corner onto West 11th Street and saw the Palazzo Chupi for the first time…
…I have to admit, the first thing that came to mind was the Tower of Terror in Disney World.
I know, I know, a more educated writer would be focusing on the Chupi’s neo-Mediterranean flourishes, not referencing a theme park ride…
Tower of Terror:
Tower of Terror:
The Tower of- er, Palazzo Chupi is one of the most controversial and talked-about buildings to go up in New York in recent memory. Designed by artist/director Julian Schnabel and named after his pet-name for his wife (Chupa, after Chupa Chups lolly pops), the building rises high above its West Village environs, a pink behemoth reaching for the sky.
Finished in 2008 (despite the protests of angry neighbors), the palazzo’s base is an old stable.
The building only has five apartments, one of which is Schnabel’s, and two of which are sold. Want one of the remaining two? For a cool $27 Million, your new home will include “cast bronze door handles, stone fireplaces, cast stone railings, beamed 8-foot high ceilings, terra cotta tile floors, colonnades, terraces & balconies, concierge service, an indoor swimming pool with steam room, and private on-site parking” (Curbed).
Honestly, the complicated story of the Palazzo Chupi has been so well-documented elsewhere that it makes no sense to try and recap it too deeply here. I can’t believe it took me this long to finally see it in person (though in my defense, I don’t spend much time around West 11th St and Washington). Check out this NY Times article for a great synopsis, and day-to-day coverage on Curbed.
My personal opinion? Call me a plebeian, but I love it. I know, I know, it’s an unholy shrine to Schnabel’s ego, has no architectural merit, etc., etc., etc. But you know what? It sure as shit beats the hundreds of glass and steel/brick box apartment buildings going up in every vacant lot across the city like a bad virus. Yes, architectural audacity always raises hackles, but often, I much prefer it to the same old. Definitely make the trek to West 11th Street to decide for yourself.
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