Nicolai Ouroussoff writes:

Astor Place

Nearly a decade ago Cooper Union had ambitious plans for a small parking lot between the school’s main building and Lafayette Street. Ian Schrager, the hotelier, agreed to develop the site, hiring Rem Koolhaas and Jacques Herzog. But the budget quickly spun out of control, and Mr. Schrager eventually fired his architects. A few years later he tried again, hiring Frank Gehry. But then came the World Trade Center attack. The hotel business died, and Gehry too was dumped.

Frustrated, the school turned to the Related Companies, one of the city’s biggest developers, which hired the New York firm Gwathmey Siegel & Associates to design a luxury residential tower.

Though the tower’s curving glass-and-steel skin is an obvious reference to Mies van der Rohe’s unbuilt 1922 Glass Skyscraper project, the crude quality of its execution is an insult to Mies’s memory.

Note: Nicolai Ouroussoff’s other candidates for demolition will be posted here periodically.

To view the complete slideshow at the New York Times site, click here.

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