Page D1.1 . 12 June 2002                     
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    Austrian Cultural Forum Considered

    by Michael J. Crosbie

    To much fanfare and critical acclaim, the Austrian Cultural Forum tower in midtown Manhattan opened in April 2002 with a crush of visitors and curious onlookers.

    Even a small gathering at New York City's newest building would have been a crowded experience. At only 25 feet (7.6 meters) wide, the Austrian Cultural Forum recalls the "sliver building" craze of the 1980s and 90s, when developers in New York raced to raise emaciated towers on sites formerly occupied by lower structures not much wider than a townhouse.

    Designed by architecture professor, architect, and theorist Raimund Abraham, who has taught at Cooper Union for the past 30 years, the ACF exhibits both the "thrills and spills" of buildings on such narrow sites.

    Outside, the Thrills

    The thrills are evident the minute you turn the corner at Fifth Avenue and start heading east on 52nd Street. Before you a totem rises, calling into question everything around it. Because of its modest footprint, and because it is surrounded by buildings at least as tall if not taller, the ACF tower is all the more powerful, as it breaks ranks with its humdrum neighbors.   >>>

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    The Austrian Cultural Forum, by architect Raimund Abraham, within the urban context of on 52nd Street in Manhattan.
    Photo: Robert Polidori

    ArchWeek Image

    Front view of the ACF.
    Photo: Robert Polidori


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