Urban Fold

Lacking Opportunities at Home, New York Architects Export Their Brands

In the face of slow development in the U.S., renowned architects Richard Meier and Robert A.M. Stern have been exporting their distinctive styles overseas, where “people want to bask in the reflective glow of New York.”

"You used to look out that window and somewhere you would see a crane," said Meier. "You go around New York City today and you don't see that many cranes. It is just not happening at this moment." Before the recession, Richard Meier & Partners Architects' projects were split 50-50 between the U.S. and abroad. Now, reports Alexei Barrionuevo, about 80 percent are overseas and 20 percent in the United States.

"Why do they come to us? Because of 15 Central Park West," said Stern about the attraction of international clients to his uber exclusive "limestone monument to Old New York." Robert A.M. Stern Architects was recently commissioned to design a neighborhood in China. "The pictures and renderings of the project, dubbed 'Heart of Lake'," says Barrionuevo, "suggest a more appropriate name for the development might be 'Sternville'." The buildings closely resemble those of 15 Central Park West, and the look and "lifestyle" of that building was a strong factor in Stern Architects winning the job over two other firms, said the developer.

The brands of architects like Stern and Meier are highly sought after in other countries. Ali Pamir, a Turkish developer "on the hunt for a development in Istanbul that would interest Mr. Meier," explained that "architecture is becoming collectible." The selling point for affluent buyers, says Pamir, is that they can "sit down and share an experience with a master architect like Meier."

Full Story: When It Works in New York, Architects Take It on the Road

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