When Shigeru Ban won the Pritzker Prize on March 24th, his reputation and prestige instantly shot to celebrity-level status — one of the many benefits of winning the industry-equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Noted for his socially-conscious practice, Ban’s innovative housing for disaster relief victims, made from unusual materials such as cardboard tubes and shipping containers, helped the Japanese architect stand out in a competition that has routinely honored architects working in the private and luxury sector. However, Ban’s win has sparked a resurgence in another area of his work that has typically been overlooked.
Located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, 524 West 19th Street represents a collaboration between Shigeru Ban Architects, Dean Maltz Architects, and architect of record Montroy Andersen DeMarco (MADGI). Project leader Richard DeMarco worked closely with Ban on the 11-story, 33,000-square-foot mixed-use project, which includes an art gallery on the first floor. Now, the building is making headlines for the Metal Shutters Home, a luxury duplex apartment that features a distinctive set of perforated shutters, that retract according to desired levels of privacy and sunlight.
Floor-to-ceiling glass doors fold up to the ceiling, merging the interior space with the outside, and reflecting the industrial aesthetics of galleries and warehouses across the street. Without the use of flashy materials and exhibiting a rather demure exterior, Ban adapted his modest reputation to Manhattan’s booming luxury residential industry, which has seen the rise of exorbitantly priced apartments designed by brand name architects being scooped up by the world’s most wealthy individuals.
Yet the Metal Shutters House was seemingly absent from this frenzied demand, as a $7 million, three-bedroom apartment in the building sat on the market for nearly two years. That is, until Ban won the Pritzker. According to The New York Times, the telephone of Holly Parker, a broker representing the Metal Shutters House, began ringing off the hook with clients interested in claiming a piece of the Pritzker-touting design for themselves.