In Progress: Beekman Tower / Frank Gehry

© David Assael - Arch Daily

Our director, David Assael, took some shots of Gehry’s latest creation – a wavy residential tower clad in undulating metal panels.  While still in the construction phase, it is easy to get the overall idea of the structure.  In person, the tower demands attention as its presence, due both to scale and materiality, is unmatched within its context.  Throughout the day, the light plays upon the curves making the hard metallic color almost glisten.   Some of Assael’s photos capture the tower in the early evening – the perfect time of day to see the reds and oranges of the setting sun against the building.  What do you think of Gehry’s skyscraper?

More of Assael’s photos after the break.

Read more about Gehry’s tower here.

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "In Progress: Beekman Tower / Frank Gehry" 08 Aug 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 Aug 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Extremely interesting indeed. Especially close shots. Thanks.
    A bit reminding of a new Aqua Tower language in Chicago, but definitely recognizably Gehr-ysh. I personally like Gehry’s building more. It is more subtle in terms of the plastic. Kinda more original. Anyway it would be interesting to see how the building does commercially during the crisis, i.e. will Gehry brand attract customers? (From what I heard & saw about Aqua in Chicago it is not selling very well)

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    yawn!, I don’t see much of anything with this.His gift of sculpting space does not work at all with this building. This is a issue with a lot of talented architects, their ideas do not always work in tall buildings

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Its sad that after a few really creative projects during his career, Gehry’s work is now reduced to a ‘branding skin’ that is applied to a building – and it does not alter the way the building works in any way. To me it seems a cartoonish application, like where you see birdhouses dressed in the guise of famous architectural styles.

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      Frank Gehry will be known as one histories great architectural designers… Jeff and Dan will be known as… Jeff and Dan.

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        You hold too high opinion of them. Those are anonymous nicks.
        They are completely unknown creatures and will stay this way.
        All they can do is to vote “down” cowardly on this board. Big deal!
        It doesn’t interrupt us to enjoy creative geniuses like Mr. Gehry with all his advantages and disadvantages… After all it is Frank Gehry, right?

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        Jeff’s comment is absolutely correct. Many ideas do not translate well to tower form.
        Dan’s comment is also correct. Ghery has become a parody of himself- even the simspsons knew that.

        comments from you ozmoto and albert are pathetic. Either one of you is frank ghery and is taking valid criticsm too personally, or you are both just pathetic taggers on who can only rebut with personal attacks.

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        I don’t disagree with you Ozmoto. I’m not saying Gehry isn’t talented and doesn’t deserve a place in history. I’m simply saying this building is way below what he can do (and where the fault for that lies, I don’t know.).

        You’re right…I’m just Dan. Unless Jeff and I use this flash-in-the pan moment to become famous critics ourselves…unlikely, but just trying to keep this light-hearted.

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        The building blocks the view of the great Woolworth building from Brooklyn Bridge, and it’s terribly bright on sunny days. In short, a disastrous addition to Manhattan’s skyline. Architects like Gehry usually become famous during their lifetime and infamous forever after.
        Btw, kudos to Dan for his polite response.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    thanks (not) for censoring my last comment that took issue with your “director’s ‘photographic skills or lack there of. i hope he got the message. I love arch daily and i hate to see its reputation blemished with such photographic flippancy. most of us could get better exposure with our iphones… .. and another point: the sunset shots, as if you haven’t noticed, this the titanium skin of this building creates terrific lighting effects when lit by sunset light. why would i want to see a silhouette of this building at sunset?
    i mean really!!

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I see this building as a perversion of contemporary architecture. Just the fact that it resembles the traditional building typology of NY with Gehry’s ‘twist’ makes me sick. Rather than being an example or a critique of contemporary skyscraper architecture, it looks like yet another expensive caprice result of Mr. Gehry’s ‘genius’..

    And It does look like another building in dubai. Sorry NY.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I agree with Jeff and Dan. The Building will be known to everyone because its by Frank Gehry. I hardly see the character. Looks like one more tall skyscraper in Dubai or Newyork… unless you look close .

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      I agree. I also agree with Jeff and Dan: this is not his best work and if you get close to it you will see that the intended effect is lost because the building is flat on one side and the wavy effect from the renderings doesn’t translate (or hasn’t yet at 75% completed.

      But why are people arguing about this stuff…opinions are like as$h**es, everybody has one. Let’s keep it civilized folks.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I work there! :)
    hehe i get to see the thing go up from the inside out. nothing too spectacular inside to be honest.. most of the budget was blown on the expensive curtain wall which is quite interesting the way its assembled and snapped together.. but other than that its a pretty cookie-cutter building

    spectacular to look at from down by city hall though, it always draws comments from people walking by on the street. its all about Gehry’s brand

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I would agree with abdullah. It is a process of wrapping a rather banal and run of the mill spatial structure to be filled with apartments/office space designed in a style completely unrelated to the building shell for the unimaginably wealthy. Its architecture as banal as it comes.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Just love it! In my opinon reduce Gehry’s work to a simple branding gesture is quite simplistic. And I think this one doesn’t fit at all in Dubai.
    Here I see joyful design, just enjoy it guys!
    And what a masterpiece! The curves are so balanced!
    Sorry if i sound to enthusiast. I wait to see the interiors now though.

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The bulk of these comments are right on the mark.

    What is the aim here?

    The scale and organization of the total volume is way out of synch with (perhaps even arguably irrelevant to?) that of the cladding approach.

    I agree with previous comment in that the skin has nothing to do with the form.

    Unless there is some hugely redeeming factor which doesn’t show in the photography–e.g. comment on/relation to adjacent buildings, manipulation of light and shadow, etc. — the visual confusion here doesn’t serve our profession well at all.

    Bottom line: Baroque skin implies baroque structure at an urban scale like this. Looks like a science experiment involving aging and wrinkles!

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It is very interesting phenomena more successful and original is a creator (be that architect, writer, painter or any other artist) more people tend to criticize him negatively. But this is obvious – those artistic geniuses are usually outstanding, their works are weird, progressive, controversial (yes of course!) and just w-a-ay above intellectual level of an average joe. Even if the Joe is from the same field. You know what I mean?
    Oh, I know many of you will not like that remark and will actively click on “dislike” hand-icon :)
    But it doesn’t matter. What matters that people like Gehry (whether we like him or not) wake us up with their bizarre imagination from our routine of boring everyday existence. Now kill me :)

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Is not funny Frank Gehry. He is not being able to create something else, as he has done before. It is quite repetitive. these twists did not add anything to the building. I always liked his architecture, but this is pretty bad.

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      The same could be said about practically all so called starchitects first of all of Libeskind and Zaha. It is an obvious process as time goes and name rises to fame the job language tends to become repetitive and commercialized.

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        You gave two examples and I’ll give you two (and there are more), not less famous and respected practices, for which your comment does not apply – Herzog and de Meuron and Steven Holl.
        I want to judge the above project on its own merit, although it’s difficult, once you know who designed it. It is fair to say that after all this is simply a decorated tower (shed). You might like or not like the decoration, but, as someone aptly put it, it’s a baroque skin, applied to a pretty straightforward high-rise. The question to ask is: did Gehry have a choice in using his full architectural palette? Is it possible the client/investor preferred to spend more money on a fancy skin, than to sacrifice square footage and structural simplicity?

  13. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I think regardless of the brand it is important to look at a project specifically, for example, some of Gehry’s stuff I absolutely despise but this one is pretty good, considering most of densely urban buildings in U.S.A. look somewhat ….the same?

    Wouldn’t it be nice for Americans to see that the grid is not everything, which is well accentuated in this facade? I love this building.

    Gehry can be as inflated as he wants, the thing is, American society is materialist and need idols which are brands, you will have those in every field unless the whole thinking of society changes. Although it does not seem to be the trend.

  14. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I prefer to see this building as less of an object to desire, as another part of the city. This city is jam packed with great architects not so great buildings, but many still participate as a collective body to be something pretty spectacular.

    As seen from the east, this building is the first in quite a while to get proportion right, and to really put another spire into what had been a dimming skyline.

    To see truly insensitive civic buildings, shift your eyes south to the proportion of the towers of the seventies and eighties which did nothing but paint the Financial District as thick, fat, and boring.

    I don’t think that this is a great building in any sense, but it’s a good addition to the city in many ways.

  15. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    @ bLogHouse Yes, Steven Holl is different. Your questions are rather rhetorical. Of course architect (even such brand name as Gehry) has no major word in any decisions related to the serious marketing strategies or financials. Those are privileges of the owners – powerful developers, builders and maybe some political/city municipal forces. Whether we like it or not – this is the reality of present days capitalism. Architects are mostly servants but not masters. It is a very sad fact.

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      Not only Holl – also SANAA, MVRDV, K. Shinohara among many others.

      As for Gehry, yes, generally architects don’t have a major word in the decision making, but from project to project they do operate with different degrees of freedom. I just speculated that maybe you have less freedom designing market-rate apartment building for real estate development firm than, for example, designing a cultural building (Disney Hall) for LA County.

  16. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Many of the most interesting architects working today have recognised that the skin seems to be where most of the effort should be placed. With space planners, real estate agents, project managers, interior designers, decorators, retail consultants, etc. deciding for architects how building should be and work, for better or worse, the skin seems to be the last thin line left to expression and exploration when you work at certain scale.
    And what is the problem with that? Why do many of us seem offended by the idea of the superficiality, of the surface? In fact, does anyone remember how the interior of any of Sullivan’s towers look like? Does it matter? Just because the exterior is curvy we do not have to expect curvy spaces. Besides being very literal that would be also very naïve and inappropriate. The interior does one thing and works in one scale and the exterior works in another scale and has another role… as any good building from the renaissance (Or any other time by that matter) would teach us quite straightforwardly. This building is obviously assuming this split consciously and joyfully.
    This building is done by an incredible talented and quietly erudite architect. An architect that does know history, but is not bound by it, leaving space for playing with the rich tradition of American towers and making a contribution to a lineage. This tower is a mature work and quite conventional in a way… mature and conventional as Thomas Mann says of the late Beethoven.
    If someone think this is Dubai… well… probably doesn’t know Dubai… and doesn’t know New York. This tower is pure Manhattan… and is now. After many failed attempts, Gehry has finally managed to build one tower and I am (for one) happy that we have this building here, to discuss, praise and criticize for weeks, and years to come.
    and… (Please forgive the length)… although it really doesn’t matter in these times when all of us are entitled to our own very important opinion… I find it really, really beautiful…

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      medusa, most of the people here never heard of Thomas Mann. I doubt they know exactly what is the role of Luis Sullivan in history of American architecture. They don’t listen to “late Beethoven” either. All they know is Dubai. All they know is that if somebody is different, extraordinary and outstanding you badmouth him (her). Even if it’s Frank Gehry. Of course your message is too long for them. All they know is to post a catchy phrase “epic failure”, “what is the aim”,”It does look like another building in dubai (no capital letter in original post)” and so on and so on(read above)… They kill (vote down) anyone who dares to have different opinion. They are aggressive plebs. So take it easy don’t waste your time it’s like “Margaritas ante porcos” (now plebs who never knew high Latin even in Roman times will run to Wikipedia to check what the hell is this… and then will kill me with vote down. Yes! Well done!)

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        You shouldn’t base people’s level of knowledge after your own. And bashing people for not liking Gehry’s work won’t make it any better. And no amount of latin or baroque music will make you sound smarter.
        And yes, I think people should vote you down. I for one did.

  17. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    In the 80′s Gehry gave us at Kobe
    the headless and tailless fish;
    now he has here in NYC
    the tree without the crown.

    Both having to do with skin and with shape.

    Tree is kind of a tough metaphor to handle on
    scale of city……

    Proun anyone?

    Methinks Koolhaas is on a more viable trail for
    distorted form urban endeavors.
    At least
    until materials tectonics catch up with gravity.

  18. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Spatially, the skin does nothing for the building. I’m sure the section is a typical skyscraper pancake section. It also looks like the skin is not performative in any way. The Aqua Tower in Chicago is more successful in that sense since the way the balconies are shaped is based on needs for shading, plus it gives each unit valuable outdoor space (a bachelor pad with an outdoor view of the loop…that is a hell of a selling point). If Gehry would have done more of a typical square floor plate and then introduced the folds as void outdoor space in a solid and introduced some sectional play, this would be much more successful and fit in with the context that much more.

    Also its time for the extremely polished stainless steel and titanium to go. Zinc would have been better and over time enhanced the folds by its natural weathering and oil panning.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      seems gehry would have end up with another Aqua Tower with your approach to shape tower with balconies… you need to be able to experience the form internally and externally to achieve Gehry’s usual standards of space in museums and other civic buildings.

      unfortunately there are really no practical technological means to integrate gehry’s form making in residential scale. this is probably because of financial and possible building code requirements.

      BTW there is a “Wave” residential tower in Gold Coast that is even more successful that Aqua Tower in integrated free form to tower.

  19. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Josh, you are the first one here who provides a constructive criticism without “striking a pose” or stating generic proclamations. I agree with your remarks that Mr. Gehry could use more functionality within his style… Your note about the zink cladding is very interesting as well, but it could be developers decision – who knows how exactly finishing materials were priced out.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Hi Albert,

      We all miss you at Kirkor. Please come back, so you can learn how to spell ‘zink’ right.

      • Thumb up Thumb down 0

        Kirkor are really good to learn how to… spell.
        Not so sure about creativity, architecture and other “minor” issues though… That’s probably why there’s no open ID on your reply :)

  20. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I like how people have so much to say about this building where there is no site plan, plan, sections and details about the building. Just a bunch of exterior photos of a building in progress.

    If a student prsented a project with just exterior renderings, I’d be forced to ask him to provide more infomration before any meaningful discussion could happen. You guys are too good.

    Kudos to the retarded comments people make. You have pierced through the absurdity of the discussion. Those comments are about as intellgient as they can be in the context of this discussion. Good humour.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Exactly what I was thinking. Also I don’t understand why people are taking this so personally, unless there’s a Ghery somewhere commenting behind an anonymous nick.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      DMJ is right. I like his style:
      “You have pierced through the absurdity of the discussion.” Well said.

      I suspect Kirkor (which is behind KK I assume) wouldn’t accept DMJ. (Even if he’s Frank Gehry by himself) too many spelling mistakes in his post. Right? :-)))

  21. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    hey Archdaily guys, I had a damn good controversial post as a reply to nico… Edit it – no prob’s (I know u didn’t like the link – big deal!) & put back, would yeah? It’ll bring more traffic here & make this boring discussion more interesting. We’re having fan here – me & “porcos” :)

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