A Decades-Old Movement With A New Twist
To say New York’s residential building known as the The Lucida is different is stating the obvious. It really should be described more as a cubic mass, castle instead of a mixed-use tower or skyscraper. This haven for city dwellers was a massive undertaking that occupies fully half of the block that stretches between Lexington and Third avenues and between 86th and 85th streets. Erected in 2009 by owner Extell Development Company, the 20-story, glass-sheathed building, designed by COOKFOX (formerly Cook + Fox Architects) has a main entrance at 1269 Lexington Avenue. The building has three floors of ground-level retail with large, expansive bays of structural glass. In 2010, Vornado Realty Trust acquired the 96,000-square-foot retail space from Extell for $165 million. The deal also included 24 rental apartments. While its amenities include a doorman, a concierge, a spa with a pool, a residents lounge with a catering kitchen, and a children’s playroom, the main attraction is the exterior glass façade of the building.
The defining formal element of this building is its sleek curtain wall with a large vertical relief on Lexington and cut in set backs as it nears the top on all sides like ramparts. There are no traditional spandrel breaks between floors, yet it retains a certain modular regularity that runs the entire length and breadth of the building. This glass cladding imparts a steel jade tint to the project as a whole. The Lucida is resolutely modern, all sharp angles and sheer glass cladding.
W&W Glass was tasked with helping create this true example of “deconstructivism.” Deconstructivism is a movement of postmodern architecture which appeared in the 1980s, which gives the impression of the fragmentation of the constructed building. It is characterized by an absence of harmony, continuity, or symmetry. Besides fragmentation, deconstructivism often manipulates the structure’s surface skin and creates by non-rectilinear shapes which appear to distort and dislocate elements of architecture (as shown by the setbacks). The finished visual appearance is characterized by unpredictability and controlled chaos, in this case like that of Rubix Cube. An interesting element in the upper part of the Lucida, and this is where the deconstructivist element kicks in even more, is the way it straddles its base at a slight angle. The effect is such as to suggest one building set atop another, at a slight angle. In many another deconstructivist buildings, such irregularity results in a feeling of displeasing irresolution and incompleteness. At the Lucida, by contrast, it creates a dramatic effect. The W&W Glass installation utilized a Sotawall® Hybrid-Wall® unitized curtain wall system and a Pilkington Optiwhite™ Pilkington Planar™ point supported structural glass retail storefront system at the podium.
In 2010 the LEED Certified Lucida received an Award of Merit from publisher New York Construction. With The Lucida we see the deconstructivist style, playfully stepping away from being just a continuous glass box, used effectively in New York City. This building creates diversity to the neighborhood and creates an element of excitement to the Upper East side.
W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar™ structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.
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