Looking Good: Architecture Critics Praise 535 West End Avenue, The Upper West Side Condo With Classic Chicago Looks

535 WestEnd in the Upper West SideNew York City is a pretty great place, and this is true whether you're searching for a Manhattan condominium or not. But it can also be something of a closed circuit -- if New York is great (and it is), then it would seem to follow that everything that's great here is perhaps a bit greater than everything everywhere else. That's actually true when it comes to pastrami, luxury condominiums and a handful of other things, but of course it's not so across the board. But if you live in Manhattan long enough, it can come to seem that way. So it may give some New York-y New Construction Manhattan readers pause to see the elegant new Upper West Side condominium 535 West End Avenue praised for its Chicago-style aesthetics. Chicago, like the Second City? Yes, like that one: the one with better sausage-related food, a better hockey team and a unique and striking architectural heritage of its own. 535 West End has already emerged as a rising star among Upper West Side condominium listings, but understanding what makes Chicago so uncommonly attractive is a big part of what makes 535 West End Avenue such a looker.Luckily, The Real Deal architecture critic James Gardner is here to break down 535 West End Avenue's uniquely appealing aesthetics. It shouldn't be surprising that 535 West End has the unique curves and graceful bulk of a classic Chicago tower, given that it was designed by the highly regarded Chicago architect Lucien Lagrange. It's Lagrange's only building in Manhattan, but once again it's important not to get too NYC-centric with this -- in architectural circles, Lagrange is regarded as every bit the equal of such big-time architects as Robert A.M. Stern, whose work can be seen at such Upper East Side condominiums as The Brompton and 535 West End's Upper West Side neighbor at 15 Central Park West. In The Real Deal, Gardner points out that the skills that made Lagrange a star in Chicago are seen to elegant effect at 535 West End. "Lagrange is not interested in originality, but rather in elegance, and the ability to set a building harmoniously into its context. In fact, in New York no less than in Chicago, he is acutely respectful of architectural context," Gardner writes. "And while Lagrange is not from New York, he seems, at 535 West End, to have understood the spirit of the Upper West Side every bit as well as he understands Chicago... What distinguishes the buildings of Lagrange, and especially of Stern, the dean of this style, is a deep knowledge of and respect for the history of architecture, which enables the creators to design spatial and contextual effects that embody the spirit, even if they are flexible with the letter, of classical architecture." High praise, which partially explains why the apartments for sale at 535 West End Avenue have become such a hot property. But given the sheer number of Upper West Side luxury condo listings, we thought it worth mentioning one that stands out from the rest -- even if it was designed by someone from a place other than New York City.

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