The complexes’ experimental design, by Hoberman & Wasserman, challenged the traditions of multi-family, residential architecture with up to five-bedroom duplex apartments, skip-stop elevators, unconventional setbacks, and exposed, exterior corridors looking over shared, public courtyards.
The legacy of those bold choices, as Maura Ewing chronicles, is compromised by inattention to two other essential criteria of the ongoing success of any building: construction quality and long-term maintenance. She introduces us to some of the residents who live with the outcomes of the architectural innovation as well as the subsequent neglect, and she exposes the political context of the 1970s that undergirds both.
Her article marks the final installment in our exploration of towers-in-the-park, the first of several outmoded or maligned architectural typologies we are investigating — through documentary photography and investigative, narrative journalism — in our Typecast project. ….