20 East End
From the Upper East Side to the Far East: Robert A.M. Stern Goes Global
RAMSA currently has active projects in China, France, India, the Netherlands, Peru, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom and in 23 states across the US. Stern has referred to himself as a “modern traditionalist,” and the label fits. His buildings artfully borrow from the past, particularly from antiquity and neoclassicism, while deftly avoiding direct imitation.
RAMSA is in the midst of constructing the Heart of Lake project in Xiamen, China. As many of Stern’s projects tend to do, the massive 2,000,000-square-foot residential development will serve as a logical reflection of its surroundings. The centerpiece of Heart of Lake is its centrally located park, which functions as the development’s tranquil center and also leads to the waterfront public park, providing just one way in which Heart of Lake connects with its neighborhood. Stern, demonstrating his fondness for vernacular architecture, modeled much of the detail work for this project after classical Chinese designs to further ingratiate the structure to its home. The development will include high- and mid-rise apartments as well as single-family homes and townhouses.
The Win Sing Development in Xin Yi, located in Taipei, Taiwan, represents another anticipated addition to Stern’s international portfolio. This development will house 13 full-floor condos, 20 apartments, and a triplex penthouse at its summit. The aesthetics of the structure will echo those of Stern’s classic Upper East Side townhouses via stately details such as classical columns, airy loggias, elegantly framed windows, and picturesque balconies. The building will be completely surrounded by various Italianate gardens and cascading pools, and a stone-paved motor court lined with fountains will connect the residential portion of the development with its tower. The systematic and gracefully linear flow to The Win Sing Development in Xin Yi will also effectively and very poetically connect all portions of the complex.
Stern’s newest Upper East Side condo, 20 East End Avenue, has a decidedly traditional New York look. Like many of Stern’s other projects, 20 East End Avenue features prewar-period elements such as large rooms with eleven- and twelve-foot ceilings and a distinctly postmodern design. The building itself is adorned with stunning stone arches, a vibrant and warm limestone facade, and a series of setback terraces. The exterior of 20 East End is consistent with Stern’s impressive 15 Central Park West; it catches the eye but doesn’t beg to be seen due to the refinement and sophistication that are typical of Stern’s “modern traditionalist” approach.
The way Robert A.M. Stern consistently captures the subtle mix of the contemporary and the classic is impressive, especially as this has proven to be a difficult balance for other architects to master. While numerous architects have sought to create so-called “new classics,” a great number of these projects have fallen far short of the original structures that inspired them. Stern’s mastery of this dynamic and his ability to blend aesthetics of the past with those of today contribute significantly to the success of his celebrated structures from the Upper East Side to the Far East, and beyond.