A Look at Iconic Buildings on Manhattan’s West Side
Buildings have personality. Their architecture, color complexion, and history culminate in a style unique to each structure. Here, we take a closer look into the buildings we pass every day, highlighting the transformations behind the brick facades and limestone entryways of Manhattan.
One building can tell an entire neighborhood’s story. Tribeca’s Seven Harrison Street is one of those buildings. Constructed in 1893 by William Schickel and Company, Seven Harrison looks similar to all the other brick buildings on this cobblestone-lined street in the Tribeca West Historical District. The facade features such beautiful period details as cast-iron piers and a pressed-metal cornice, but like the old Mercantile Exchange building across the street, it was built to be functional, not glamorous. In fact, for most of the 20th century, Seven Harrison Street was home to a cold-storage facility for dairy and produce merchants.
The west side of Lower Manhattan is teeming with buildings that have made similar transitions from 19th-century functionality to 21st-century design.
Now Seven Harrison is home to Taylor Swift and Steven Soderbergh. In 2013, architect Steven Harris, one of Architectural Digest’s “AD 100,” announced plans to convert the building into 12 luxury condos. For the project, Harris enlisted the design studio DXA, as well as the interior design and landscaping firm Rees Roberts + Partners. Much of the Renaissance Revival–inspired exterior was retained in the redesign. The interior of the new Seven Harrison, in contrast to its dark exterior, is filled with light, thanks to sun falling through windows onto bright woods and glowing limestone. Prices ranged from $4.6 million for a three-bedroom, three-bathroom unit to $22.5 million for the penthouse, a two-story, four-bedroom palace that features a 300-square-foot reflecting pool and a glass pavilion on the rooftop. All 12 units sold quickly.
But the transformation of the Seven Harrison isn’t just a Tribeca story. The west side of Lower Manhattan is teeming with buildings that have made similar transitions from 19th-century functionality to 21st-century design.
Recreate the vibe of this Tribeca treasure with this expertly crafted Pratt & Lambert color palette. This palette is soft and elegant to coordinate with the ample light inside the interior residences of Seven Harrison and similar buildings.
A West-Side Story
If you’re walking along the Hudson River near 11th Street in Greenwich Village, one building dominates the skyline. With its pink-stucco exterior and its many bronze-railed balconies, the 10-story, 50,000-square-foot Palazzo Chupi is impossible to miss. Palazzo Chupi is the creation of painter and filmmaker Julian Schnabel, who is probably known best for his films Basquiat and Before Night Falls. Schnabel is an iconoclast and a visionary, and his boldness defines both the color and design of Palazzo Chupi.
Much like Seven Harrison, the building that is now Palazzo Chupi began its life playing distinctly unglamorous roles—a stable, a perfume factory, a water-sampling plant. But all that changed back in 1987, when Roy Lichtenstein, one of Schnabel’s many famous friends, showed Schnabel the building while they were both on the hunt for new studio spaces. This bit of backstory contains an important detail: artists and their studios. If there is one fact that determined the fate of lower Manhattan’s west side, from Tribeca to the Meatpacking District, it was artists branching out from the heart of the Village in search of new and larger workspaces. From the beginning, this residential renaissance was born of color and design.
After years of living and working at what was then simply 360 W. 11th St., Schnabel began transforming it into the Palazzo Chupi in 2005. When Schnabel was 25, he first visited the Scrovegni Chapel, in Padua, Italy, and he was awestruck by all the Giotto frescoes that covered the walls. In 2008, he told Vanity Fair, “What I came to understand there was that I needed my paintings to be walls. I needed to build an architecture to support whatever pictorial language I was going to invent.”
In Palazzo Chupi, Schnabel’s pictorial language stretched beyond the walls. Palazzo Chupi contains five “apartments” (Richard Gere bought his for $12 million), and all of them feature exposed timber, floor-to-ceiling windows, and colorful tile floors. The tiles were sourced from around the globe, and the patterns and colors give each residence a distinctive look: mellow terra cotta from North Carolina, bright blue cement tile from Morocco, elegant black and white clay tile from California.
Schnabel is an iconoclast and a visionary, and that boldness defines both the color and design of Palazzo Chupi.
Palazzo Chupi’s unique combination of decadent Venetian style and an austere, almost monastic vibe has its roots in two architects: Addison Mizner and Stanford White, both of whom had an important influence on Schnabel. Palazzo Chupi caused quite a stir—a historical-preservation group once protested outside the pink-stucco tower—but like Seven Harrison, it’s another example of how a singular vision can transform something old into something new.
Create a daring design with this Palazzo Chupi–inspired collection of Pratt & Lambert shades. This palette is opulent and bold, to represent the building’s striking exterior and interior finishes.
Inventing a Neighborhood
Before the gourmet restaurants and hot-spot nightclubs guarded by velvet ropes, the Meatpacking District was home to more than 300 slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants. When these industries declined, in the 1980s, the Meatpacking District became a ghost town. But in the late 1990s, high-end clothing stores and galleries began moving into the mostly abandoned warehouses. By the turn of the century, the Meatpacking District was the most stylish neighborhood in New York City.
Symbolic of this transformation is 345Meatpacking, a new luxury condo building at 345 W. 14th St. Vacant from 2006 to 2012, this 11-story building caught the eye of many developers over the years. Back in 2007, Jay-Z and André Balazs were part of a group who bought this building with the intention of converting it into a hotel. After those plans fell through, DDG took over the deed in 2010. When work began, in 2012, the facade of the building was literally shrouded in mystery—DDG hired Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama to design construction netting that wrapped the building in coils of black and yellow snakes.
When the snakes finally released the building in December 2012, they revealed an elegant gray brick building that oozed European modernism. The bricks used for the exterior were handmade in Denmark, and the floor of the lobby is lined with warm white Austrian oak. The white Austrian oak floors continue into the residences, and those light tones are accentuated by all the bronze and brass fixtures. Even the bathrooms are distinctly European—each shower is lined with Spanish travertine stone.
345Meatpacking fits perfectly with the new Whitney Museum, next to the High Line, because both are marvels of modern design and architecture.
Nine months after the units went on the market, all 37 had sold. Prices ranged from $1 million to $6.8 million for the penthouse. This luxurious modernism is certainly a contrast to the neighborhood’s blue-collar roots, but 345Meatpacking fits perfectly with the new Whitney Museum, next to the High Line, because both are marvels of modern design and architecture. And both are proof that every neighborhood transformation in New York City begins and ends with art.
Bring the West Side into your design with our curated 345Meatpacking palette. While focusing on livable neutrals, pops of Vintage Claret and Peridot are viewed to represent this artistic building and its kin.