MoMA’s Nouvel Tower Not Making Friends on the Playground


A group calling itself The Coalition for Responsible Midtown Development, a branch of the neighborhood block association surrounding New York’s Museum of Modern Art, has put up its dukes and is ready to scrap. The coalition has created a website to collect opinions and criticism of MoMA’s projected Jean Nouvel tower, currently awaiting approval and already making a nuisance. All the dirt and video proof after the jump.

The fight originates over the Pritzker Prize-winning architect‘s design for a 75-story skyscraper that will reach a soaring 1,250 vertical feet (the approximate height of the Empire State Building). Despite zoning regulations that prohibit such out-of-context building heights, any developer worth his salt can find loopholes in the law thanks to the purchase of air rights.

Understandably, the neighbors are peeved because the Nouvel tower will be constructed on a lot “the size of a McDonald’s drive-thru,” on a street in midtown where 12 landmarked buildings already reside. Describing the project as a “catastrophe that goes far behind five years of construction,” protesters argue that the skyscraper will create a dark “cavern” on West 54th and 55th Streets all the way to Rockefeller Center.

Renderings of the Jean Nouvel tower for MoMA

Recent board approvals at the City Planning Commission may mean the issue has a foregone conclusion. Tell us, where do you stand in this case, as Nouvel’s cutting-edge architecture pits the quality of life of the neighborhood residents against a world-class cultural institution?