UL-9502 | MOMA TOWER ADDITION

This penthouse apartment was originally inhabited by billionaire Bob Avakian, an eccentric multimedia tycoon. Avakian bought the air rights to the space surrounding his 8,000 sq.-ft. duplex penthouse in order to protect the breathtaking midtown views.

Since the late '80s, the apartment has been refinanced many times and, during the early 1990s, its air rights were sold to Lucus International, a Dutch corporation located in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Although the company’s beneficiaries are the executive officers of Credit Suisse, there is no further information on the true owner of the company or the present occupant, who assumed responsibility for construction of this recent addition atop the tower.

The addition is accessible only by gliding from an adjacent building, or by scaling the 52 stories of glass curtain wall of the Tower itself. UL-9502 was built in component parts to minimize on-site assembly, and discreetly airlifted to its perch on the tower's southeast corner. Its tactile, fragmented, and dynamic surfaces are meant to antagonize the slick, polished completeness of the existing facade. Five adjustable panels of varying degrees of transparency move along tracks and rotate to constantly alter the exterior appearance. Two floors with five galleries compose its interior 531.5 sq.-ft., and two of the galleries are on hydraulic tracks that allow them to expand and contract.