WMF Hosts French Architectes en Chef des Monuments Historiques
From May 2 to 5, WMF hosted a group of 20 conservation architects from France, 15 of whom were Architectes en Chef des Monuments Historiques in France, and guided them around New York City to view a variety of cultural sites. The group had expressed a special interest in historic buildings with modern additions and in the conservation of 20th century architecture. The insertion of contemporary architectural designs into historic districts was also a special theme during the four days the group spent in New York.
Amy Freitag, WMF's Director of US Programs, joined us to tour the High Line, an elevated park in Manhattan's Meatpacking District that opened last year. As we climbed the staircase to the park, Amy saw Charles Renfro of the architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who designed the landscape for the High Line, riding by on his bicycle. He stopped and took a few minutes to explain his firm's design ideas to our group. After his impromptu tour of the High Line he got back on his bike to meet with the contractors who are finishing up the High Line's next extension.
We continued the tour, passing by new buildings by renowned architects Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry, Selldorf Architects, and Polshek Partnership. The highlight of the High Line visit was the private tour of Polshek Partnership's Standard Hotel, a structure that straddles the park and has a commanding view of the city and the Hudson River. We toured the hotel from top to bottom including the top floor's double height bar and night club, Top of the Standard, with spectacular north and south views of Manhattan and the Hudson River. As we departed the Standard Hotel, we spotted Jim Polshek having lunch, and lauded him for his work. We ended our tour together by spending a little time in the hotel's beer garden just below the park.