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Commercial Spaces

The Standard’s Lap Dance for The High Line


Its been a while since we did an architectural feature, lately we’ve been focusing more on public projects, and sustainable initiatives but this project re-piqued my interest as its connected to an urban regeneration project (The High Line) that I have been following for almost a year and a half now.  For any of you who are unaware The High Line is an urban renewal project in New York City that has taken the old elevated freight rail line that runs down the lower west side between 34th street and Gansevoort Street in the West Village, and at the moment most significantly through the meat packing district (MePa) that is sandwiched between the West Village and Chelsae.  The project will turn this former freight line that has been unused since 1980 into an elevated parkway in the style of the Promenade Plantee’ in Paris.

Hotelier Andre Balazs, owner of the Chateau Marmont and The Standard chain of hotels will soon be officially opening The Standard New York on a lot that would have been considered ‘problematic’ before The High Line conversion, but is now considered plum due to its immediate proximity. Which could be understating it a little, The High Line cuts across Balazs’ lot diagonally.

“For the first time I had a hard time imagining what the hotel should look like,” Balazssays. “I usually renovate older buildings, and this was ground-up construction. Add to that the matter of the High Line and it was a unique challenge.” S


As such the Hotel is suspended above The High Line on concrete pilotis, which suspend the hotel 56 feet above ground level and 30 feet above the track. This caused one real estate blogto mention that the Hotel is in a ‘perpetual lapdance’ with The High Line. The design is a bit of a progression through time periods. Overall the building looks a lot like a Le Corbusier, built in the International style. The building is two concrete framed glass walls bushed together at a slight angle. It evokes an open book standing on its end.

“If you had to look at this project from an urban-planning perspective,” says Balazs, “it gets more modern, in terms of building type and décor, the higher you get. The ground floor relates to early in the last century, the time of the High Line. The hotel floors, in the tower, are midcentury—I was looking at Eero Saarinen, Mies van der Rohe, and Arne Jacobsen, who had designed an amazing hotel in Stockholm in the 50s.” S

While many of us plebes would be unable to stay in the hotel once it has had its grand opening the hotel is currently open(ish) as the website states. Some of the rooms are open even though the construction isn’t finished a a pretty affordable rate. Check out the the hotel chain’s website for rates.


One of the things that I find most exciting about these developments is that they prove that things that once were considered eyesores and only worthy of being torn down can be re-purposedinto serious assets.  The park is considered one of the most innovative and influential urban-renewal projects of our time. With an imaginativeapproach to city planning, and some creative reuse of existing infrastructure,  we can come up with some truly stellar results.


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