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Eavesdrop Issue 12_07.27.2005
The latest dirt from our very own gossip columnist, Aric Chen

A marketing brochure for the new One Kenmare Square condominium on Lafayette Street includes a transcribed dialogue between the project's developer, Andrr Balazs, and its architect, Richard Gluckman. In it, Balazs waxes on about raising the bar by putting a premium on good design.. Sounds good, right? Well, it also sounds like Balazs may need to put his money where his mouth is. Sources tell us that the hotelier-slash-developerrwho's also building more condos, by Jean Nouvel on Mercer Street, and a hotel by James Polshek in the Meatpacking Districttisn't ponying up the fees and reimbursable expenses due to another architect who's had the privilege of working for him. Lindy Roy designed Balazs' new Hotel QT on West 45th Street, and we're told she's having trouble getting the rather significant six-figure amount that Balazs owes her for it; apparently, she's been trying for over eight months. It's pretty preposterous,, one concerned party says. This is not a good way to do business.. So why won't Balazs let the money out of his manicured hands? That remains a mystery. Roy, who left the job shortly after the hotel's soft opening in February, had no comment. Same with Balazs' rep. Maybe the check is in the mail.

Let us be among the first to congratulate Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis on winning the competition to renovate and expand the headquarters for Arthouse, a contemporary art organization based in Austin, Texas. Unfortunately, however, there's also a chance that we just broke the news to some of the firms that didn't win. You see, when Arthouse decided to award the commission to Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis, they apparently forgot to inform some or all of the other four offices vying for the job, which were Specht Harpman, Office dA, Friedman Kimm, and Christoff:Finio. Then the press release went out. One firm learned of the decision by reading about it in the local paper. Another found out from us. (A rep for Arthouse did not respond by press time.) It's nothing to do with Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis; they're absolutely great for the job,, one of the ill-treated architects tells us, adding that their numerous follow-up calls and e-mails to Arthouse were never returned. Arthouse could have handled it better,, the designer continues. We all put a lot of effort into this.. For crying out loud, they even had to go to Texas.

Ever since Joseph Giovannini made the announcement, in this very column, that he was stepping down as the architecture critic of New York magazine, there's been rampant speculation over who will take over. For a while, it was known that the magazine had approached Philip Nobel. However, now we hear that the brilliantly cantankerous scribe may be taking the post at The Nation instead. While Nobel didn't want to go into detail about his talks with The Nation, he did confirm that he won't be going to New York. We were in discussions for several months and didn't come to an agreement on the scope of work,, he says.


Aric Chen