The second time I met the man that I eventually wanted to marry, we sat in front of Thai food in Brooklyn and he asked me what my favorite building was in New York City. Relatively new in the city, he asked the question as a litmus test, it seemed, to see who would answer honestly and who would strive to give a contrarian answer. Without any hesitation, I said that I liked the Chrysler Building more than any other, and he burst out laughing with apprehension of my total lack of interest in saying something original. . The Chrysler Building is beautiful, but that does not explain on its own the unequivocal emotional response that it causes. . Like all the skyscrapers of the modernist period, it reflects the great ambitions of a new machinist age. But it also suggests something more intimate, that aspirations do not always come in predictable ways – that the way you imagine living the pinnacle is not, in fact, the way you could actually live the pinnacle. Distinctly, the building literalizes this view, forcing us to look within – offering a circularity rather than a conclusion, a surprise on a certainty. Designed in the 1920s and completed in 1930, the bell tower was assembled the day before the collapse of the stock market in 1929. The Chrysler Building, currently owned by an investment fund in Abu Dhabi and by L & # 39; 39, real estate empire Tishman Speyer, is now on sale. There is no obvious buyer. Despite its importance, it faces the same problems as many office buildings in the city, built between the 1920s and 1970s, many of which, like the Chrysler Building, on the east side of Midtown. They lack the light and efficiency of contemporary workspaces, and their repair and modernization take a great deal of time and money, with rows of rooms, interior columns and low ceilings.
Beyond that, these buildings express an understanding of the work culture totally different from what we call today – a philosophy of "Mad Men" – closed doors and inappropriate behaviors. The notion of workplace transparency in the 21st century is thwarted by the prevalence of a design style designed to erase perceptions of hierarchy, secrecy, obfuscation and deception. We look at each other – through the glass, above low cubicles – all day long. How much can really be hidden? Among the many misconceptions that the #MeToo movement has exposed, it is wrong to believe that deviance should be mitigated, if not erased, with the arrival of the open floor plan.
Whatever the case may be, this paradigm is religion. Anyone who buys the Chrysler building will have to face competition in a universe in which WeWork is now the largest tenant of offices in New York. WeWork has imposed itself as a provider not only of spaces of offices, but also offices, especially a kind of life where the distinctions between work and almost everything else are removed. Adam Neumann, Chief Executive Officer of WeWork, announced this week that the $ 47 billion company is changing its name to We to better reflect its goals, which encompass all aspects of the company. Interview life with Fast Company. In a WeWork building in Manhattan, there is a WeGrow school for young children, designed to attract parents who rent offices in the building. The school offers yoga and a play area designed by the architect Bjarke Ingels. Children spend one day a week at a North State Farm and sell their products on a WeWork student-run booth, as it's no better that they be pushed to become Danny Meyer rather than mastered the task to conjugate verbs?
If that is the way of the future (and that the company plans to expand its schools), it's hard to envision six-year-olds selling local sourced rhubarb in the lobby of the Chrysler building. Hudson Yards will contain millions of square feet of Snark Park office space, an exhibition space with immersive and childish art installations that could, for example, involve jumping into bubbles. And is not it doing it healthier than Maker's Mark after a fight – I mean a mild disagreement – with your boss?
The future of heritage buildings – especially now that much of Midtown East will soon see a new group of high-rise office buildings – could be that they are assembled as an art by billionaires for pleasure. A real estate manager suggested the Wall Street Journal this week, claiming that she could imagine a scenario in which someone would buy the Chrysler Building to say that he owned the Chrysler Building . This week, to the delight of many theatergoers, Lin Manuel Miranda and his partners bought the theatrical bookstore of 40th Street West to save it from extinction. It had counted for him when he became a young writer and composer. It may be that the survival of many great things in New York will ultimately depend on the affinities of the rich nostalgic.