In his first built project in the U.S., Álvaro Siza Vieira sculpts heaven in Hell’s Kitchen

611 West 56th Street looks best when seen from another state. Glimpsed from across the Hudson in New Jersey, its slender profile is an enameled incisor in Manhattan’s increasingly toothy Midtown skyline. The shard is cause for celebration, as it’s the first building in the country by the Pritzker Prize–winning Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira.

Apart from sketches for work on the J. Paul Getty Villa, Siza hasn’t worked in the United States (until now), which means his work goes underappreciated here; decades ago, Michael Sorkin wrote that, until he pilgrimaged to Porto to see the Serralves Museum under construction, he wrote off Siza

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