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Bjarke Ingels vs. Thomas Heatherwick: Which Starchitect Has Designed the Best New York Skyscraper?

Both striking towers are set to open at the end of this year.

Lantern House and The XI LANTERN HOUSE: RELATED COMPANIES/XI PHOTO: CHRIS COE

When famed designer Thomas Heatherwick and architect Bjarke Ingels envisaged their condo buildings along New York’s High Line—Lantern House and the XI, respectively, face each other across West 18th Street—neither went the traditional route. Instead of a single glassy skyscraper, each sketched out two connected towers: Heatherwick’s duo is distinguished by bulbous bay windows, while Ingels’s buildings twist toward one another. Both are expected to open by the end of this year. But how do these (almost) unique structures—and their rule-breaking designers, who teamed up for Google’s California and London headquarters—compare?

 

 

Lantern House

lantern house

Lantern House

The XI

The XI

Dbox for HFZ Capital Group

STARTING PRICE FOR A ONE-BEDDER

$1.63 million

STARTING PRICE FOR A ONE-BEDDER

$2.95 million

NUMBER OF UNITS

181

NUMBER OF UNITS

236

BUY A PENTHOUSE FOR

$17 million for the priciest aerie.

BUY A PENTHOUSE FOR

$25 million for a half-floor unit.

WHAT’S IN THE NAME?

Its windows are reminiscent of old oil lanterns.

WHAT’S IN THE NAME?

Erm, it’s on Eleventh Avenue?

TALLEST TOWER

22 stories

TALLEST TOWER

36 stories

DÉJÀ VU MUCH…?

Heatherwick’s Silo Hotel in Cape Town.

The Silo Hotel

Mark Williams

DÉJÀ VU MUCH…?

Ingels’s Grove at Grand Bay in Miami.

Grove at Grand Bay

Jesse Kunerth/Adobe

HE’S ALSO KNOWN AS

The Pied Piper of architecture

HE’S ALSO KNOWN AS

Mr. Big

YOU KNOW HIM FROM

Vessel at Hudson Yards, just up the High Line.

Vessel at Hudson Yards

Adobe

YOU KNOW HIM FROM

The Audemars Piguet museum in Switzerland.

Museum of watchmaker Audemars Piguet

DENIS BALIBOUSE

IS THERE A LUXE HOTEL INCLUDED?

Nope.

IS THERE A LUXE HOTEL INCLUDED?

Yes, the Six Senses.

FRIENDLY RIVALRY

“It was actually my idea originally to collaborate with Bjarke.”

FRIENDLY RIVALRY

“Thomas is focused on the jaw-dropping centerpiece—the ‘wow’ moment.”

AMENITY WARS

A two-story health center with a swimming
pool, cold plunge pool, spa, sauna and more.

Lantern House Yoga

Lantern House

AMENITY WARS

A lounge between the towers with a movie
screen, wine-tasting room and more.

The XI

Dbox for HFZ Capital Group

NEXT BIG THING

Little Island, a pier on the Hudson River.

NEXT BIG THING

Woven City, a “city of the future” in Japan.

CRITICS LOVE THEM…

Paul Goldberger, Pulitzer Prize–winning critic:
“Heatherwick seems well on his way to
becoming a 21st-century version of
Charles and Ray Eames.”

CRITICS LOVE THEM…

Aaron Betsky, director of Virginia Tech’s School
of Architecture & Design: “Nobody plays with
form as well as Bjarke Ingels.”

…AND ALSO HATE THEM

Critic and McMansion Hell blogger Kate
Wagner: “One of architecture’s premier
grifters.”

…AND ALSO HATE THEM

The Guardian critic Oliver Wainwright: “Most
architects will reach for much more profound
metaphors.”

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