13. The IAC Building is Frank Gehry’s first successful design in New York City
For decades, Frank Gehry had been one of America’s most famous architects with no prominent presence in New York. Gehry had led numerous projects in New York, but a significant number of them had failed: A replacement for Madison Square Garden, a redesign of One Times Square, an Ian Schrager hotel on Astor Place, the new New York Times headquarters, the renovation of Lincoln Center, and a downtown Guggenheim. It wasn’t until 2003, though, that the Gehry “curse” was broken — in Chelsea.
Barry Diller, the CEO of IAC, a holding company of internet-related businesses, spent a day with Gehry in Los Angeles to start plans on a site on West 18th Street. Diller, who wanted the building to be white, wanted it to stand out as a memorable headquarters building. In 2007, Gehry’s first successful design in New York was completed, and it sure was memorable. The large base consists of twisted tower sections packed together, a pattern mimicked on the more narrow second level. Although Gehry planned for the facade to be of wrinkling titanium, Diller insisted that it be covered with smooth glass; each of 1,437 milk-white glass panels is a slightly different shape. Gehry would go on to successfully design 8 Spruce Street (New York by Gehry) in the Financial District, a 76-story skyscraper and one of the tallest residential towers in the world. Across the street is Chelsea Piers, a place you can mentally mark where the greatest ocean liners once docked (and where some major shipwrecks took place