The Palazzo Chupi rises out of the West Village eclipsing her neighbors and letting her presence be known. If sheer height weren’t enough to be noticed, the Venetian palazzo is painted a rather vibrant shade of pink that one might liken to Pepto Bismol. Since the construction of Palazzo Chupi began in 2005 and was completed in 2008, owner Julian Schnabel has been accused of building an homage to himself (though ostensibly it was built for his wife, whose nickname is Chupi) large enough to compliment his notorious ego. His prolific career as an artist, designer, filmmaker, what have you has no doubt earned the man praise among many circles but his building has done little more than cause him grief among his neighbors.
Situated atop old stables, which housed the artist’s studio, the stuccoed Palazzo Chupi evokes that of a fairy tale in an otherwise typical New York historic district. The arcaded porches are a nod to the Venetian inspiration that stands behind the Palazzo Chupi and would perhaps be better situated in Miami Beach rather than the Hudson River. Interestingly enough, Schnabel mentions inspiration found in the Boca Raton based architect, Addison Mizner who built in the Mediterranean and Spanish Colonial Revival style up and down the coast of South Florida. The West 11th Street residence is 170 feet tall, nearly 100 feet taller than the now 75 foot height ordinance for new buildings in Greenwich Village.
Palazzo Chupi houses five condos, Schnabel’s studio, exhibition space, garage, pool and sauna. The lobby of the building stays somewhat true to its roots as a stable with large wooden doors and clapboard sided interior walls. Though dark, the wood warms the space. Schnabel’s family occupies one of Palazzo Chupi’s condos. According to CurbedNY, Richard Gere bought one unit for a whopping $12 million, but never moved in. Instead, he tried to sell it for $18 million but ended up with only $11 million.
Now that New Yorkers have gotten over the initial shock of this gargantuan, the Palazzo Chupi has received little press as of late. Those on a New York City architecture pilgrimage may notice the Palazzo Chupi hovering over the West Side Highway and looking out to the Hudson River. It is a marvel and will long stand as one of those quirky “How Did They Get Away With That” buildings that this contributor has grown to love.