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Women Developers Soaring To New Heights in NYC



Loci anima is an archi­tec­ture, design and urban plan­ning stu­dio. It sits on the top floor of Pathé Wepler above the Place Clichy in Paris. (Photo Credit: Loci-Anima)

Architecture, like just about every other field, used to be dominated solely by men. While men continue to hold most positions of power, some women are breaking through in the New York real estate scene and leaving their mark as they change the skyline for the better.

“I like living buildings,” Francoise Raynaud said. She is the architect responsible for Loci Anima, which she founded in 2005.

Loci anima is an archi­tec­ture, design and urban plan­ning stu­dio. It sits on the top floor of Pathé Wepler above the Place Clichy in Paris. The website goes on to describe the studio as having “25 archi­tects toge­ther with an office in New York, direc­ted by Jonathan Thornhill. In Latin, ​’loci anima’ lite­rally means ​’the soul of place’: every living being, object, but also natu­ral ele­ment is ani­ma­ted by a spi­rit, a vital force, an energy. A phi­lo­so­phy that Françoise Raynaud sum­ma­rizes in three words ​’post-indus­trial ani­mism’. Laureate of nume­rous inter­na­tio­nal com­pe­ti­tions, loci anima conceives thus buil­dings in per­ma­nent conver­sa­tion with the vege­table, spaces in town which receive plants and ani­mals and land­scapes to inha­bit.”

Loci anima is now making its first move into New York with a building at Greenwich West in the trendy and shopping friendly SoHo neighborhood, breaking ground last July. “Buildings are like plants. If one plant doesn’t have a good relationship with the other, she dies. I am more of a botanist than an artist.”

Raynaud thinks it’s important to think of the neighborhood as a whole when designing projects so that the build can fit in with its surroundings harmoniously. The New York Post reports that “she gave the 30-story new build a custom brickwork facade in an almost iridescent pewter glaze — a reference to Hudson Square’s industrial history. Inside, a curved marble counter and undulating window seats give the room ‘a sensual atmosphere,’ she tells Alexa. One-to three-bedroom homes range from $965,000 to about $5.5 million.”

Raynaud isn’t the only woman shaking things up in the New York real estate market. Jeanne Gang and Nancy Ruddy set their sights on Brooklyn, where two new towers, 11 Hoyt and 67 Livingston, are set to change the Brooklyn skyline. Studio Gang is the firm handling 11 Hoyt and CetraRuddy is taking on 67 Livingston.

“Brooklyn Heights is a brownstone neighborhood and we wanted to respect its character,” Ruddy says about the project on which she helps determine interior designs. “So we created something modern with a lot of light and air that matched its surroundings without looking turn-of-the-century.”

Inspiration can be drawn from Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, who is also helping to reshape the skylines of New York with a $50 million penthouse anticipated to soon be ready at High Line, 520 W. 28th St.

By: Adam Tryon

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