By now, competition juries must know what they're getting into with a Gehry-designed tower: a warped, incurving façade, a bit of high-profile starchitect name recognition, and a swarm of critics ready to throw yet another Frank Gehry bashing party, gifting us with such lovely structural descriptions as "intergalactic recycling center" and "bashed-in sardine can," and occasionally offering millions to any city that doesn't tap him to design its main art museum. Despite all that, a German panel has selected Gehry Partner's design for what is set to be Berlin's tallest high-rise and the tallest residential tower in Germany, citing its twisted, stack-o'-shapes form as "the most compelling" of the lot, which included plans by David Chipperfield, Adjaye Associates, and seven other practices.
The 300-unit, 492-foot tower will be developed by Texas-based real estate firm Hines, which previously collaborated with Gehry on the Miami Worldcenter and Berlin's DZ Bank. Senate Building Director Regula Lüscher had only good things to say about the citadel's rotated, stone-clad volumes, calling it "strong in visual expression" and "unusually eccentric," but with a projected aura of "agreeable tranquility" that "blends well with the neighborhood." Must be one cah-ray-zee neighborhood! By way of contrast, the Toronto city council recently declared that they were most definitely not part of Team Gehry, voting down a trio of twisted towers that he had designed for his own hometown.
Most of the 500,000-square-foot structure will be devoted to a mix of apartments and penthouses, although a portion of the tower is slated to serve as a hotel. Visually, it's pretty heavily reminiscent many of Gehry's late-career high-rises, especially New York's wavy 8 Spruce Street. For a look at the less established early days of his career, check out the Tin House, currently owned by none other than Grey's Anatomy's Patrick Dempsey.
· Frank Gehry Chosen to Design Berlin's Tallest Tower [Arch Daily]
· Previous Frank Gehry coverage [Curbed National]