James Carpenter had a hand in the renovation of the Israel Museum. (Photo: Tim Hursley/The Israel Museum)

In his office in TriBeCa, James Carpenter is surrounded by sheets of glass — thick and thin, wavy and flat, transparent and opaque. Many are samples for his latest projects, which range from the newly renovated and reopened Israel Museum in Jerusalem to a 10-story office building planned for a prominent site in the Manhattan meatpacking district.

Given the hype surrounding some of the new architecture in that neighborhood, “New Yorkers may be burnt out on glass buildings,” Mr. Carpenter said. And yet he promises this one will be different, in part because his approach, honed over more than 30 years as a glass artist, involves using the material not as mere enclosure, but as a tool for manipulating light.

While “orthodox” modernists have long thought of glass as a means of making their buildings transparent, Mr. Carpenter said that for him transparency is far down on his list of concerns. What interests him, he explained, is “what is occurring on or in or through the material itself.”


Fred A. Bernstein
New York Times