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09.21.2005
Eavesdrop Issue 15_09.21.2005
The latest dirt from our very own gossip columnist, Aric Chen
Picture 10

CALATRAVA'S HEAVE-HO
Plenty of things make us queasy. David Childs' Time Warner Center, Charles Gwathmey's Astor Place tower, and pretty much anything said by Daniel Libeskind unfortunately come to mind. But while our stomachs may occasionally churn with dismay, disbelief, and disappointment, we have yet to experience the kind of architecture-induced nausea caused by Santiago Calatrava's new Turning Torso tower in Malmo, Sweden. That twisting residential and commercial skyscraper looks nifty enough. But last month, we hear attendees of a press conference on its 54th floor were cursing Calatrava's engineering prowesss as high winds caused the building to sway in a manner that put many on high bathroom alert. The design of the windows, which are tilted slightly off the vertical axis, didn't help. Everyone was like, Ooh, aah, I feel sick,, one attendee, still green-faced, tells us. Another acknowledged the disquieting movement but was hesitant to render final judgment, as the building isn't quite finished yet. Nevertheless, there is growing concern for its future residents, who will start moving in this November. Water's going to be sloshing out of their bathtubs,, our source predicts, while they're barfing into the toilet..

GLUCKMAN'S HERMITAGE; THE VILLAGE PORTZAMPARC
Last month, we were in St. Petersburg (as in Russia, not Florida). Between shots of Russian Standart vodkaaa miracle drink, not yet available on these backward shores, that consistently left us with no hangoverrwe learned that the Hermitage museum, with the Guggenheim consulting, has retained Richard Gluckman to design up to 30,000 square feet of contemporary art galleries as part of its proposed expansion into the nearby General Staff Building. That project is, of course, the same one that Rem Koolhaas is conceptualizing, or whatever it is he does. But will any of it actually happen? That remains a riddle wrapped in a Gluckman inside a KoolhaassMeanwhile, we hear French architect Christian de Portzamparc has been tapped to design a new building on the site of Diane von Furstenberg's current store and studio in the West Village (she'll be moving into the Meatpacking District). However, there's a catch. The developers want to convince us that the plan would be so beautiful that we might support their request to have the zoning for the site increased or exempted from [the downzoning currently under consideration],, says Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Needless to say, that support seems unlikelyyand not just because Village preservationists are pissed about having to travel further for their wrap dresses.

ANOTHER AMERICANO ESTUPIDO
Which dean of a New York architecture school, with a significant number of Latino students, gets an F in both world history and geography? Asked if he offered any programs or classes relating to Latin American architecture, we're told he struggled a bit before mentioning a summer course in Barcelonaa
proving, once again, that all straight white men are stupid.

LET SLIP:achen@archpaper.com

Aric Chen