Form and Function Hit New Urban Heights in New York

166 Perry Street, New York City

Hot Matter innovation runs the gamut from the very small,  discoveries at the microscopic and nanotech levels, to the very large – in this post, an impressive new member of the New York City skyline. Check out the latest in Urban living from Asymptote Architecture.

- Mike Kassab

166 Perry Street in New York City, designed by Hani Rashid and partner Lise Ann Couture of Asymptote Architecture, is being hailed as New York’s most interesting new residential building thanks to a number of factors including the different types of glass used in the façade. Some panels face the ground and others face the sky. Here’s how a reporter for the New York Daily News described it:

“The building’s facade shifts according to the time of day. At dusk, passersby see the brick of the building next door, the colors of cars whizzing by and the deep pink from the setting sun – all going in different directions. On a slow morning, clouds and blue sky bounce off it. At night, dark trees sway in it. The building seems to disappear, its facade invisibly camouflaged by the surrounding reflection.”

That makes for a striking visual indeed, but the innovative genius of 166 Perry Street doesn’t end with its exterior. Inside, the Daily News reported, “the building is a sculptural marvel filled with nuances and hints on how to live in a new age. Refrigerators are set under counters made of Corian, with edges curved aeronautically. Blue sliding-glass doors close off or open up the bedrooms from cocoon-like living spaces. Soap holders in the showers, resembling wide aircraft wings, merge form and function.”

In other words, the innovators behind 166 Perry Street have created a building that is both an aesthetic triumph and a practical success. In the era of Hot Matter, we don’t have to choose between clunky, dull form and vital function; the best designs are both aesthetic and functional, and both these forces drive the success of new products and services. Many portable music players exist, but the iPod reigns supreme not just because of what it does but because of how it looks and how it makes us feel when we use it.

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The DNA of this Innovation:
What are the most prominent DNA strands that make it possible for this 166 Perry Street product design innovation to have potentially huge impact on the future of urban living?

Answer: Architecture, Aesthetics, and Technique

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