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West 57th Street Tower, New York, United States 
Thursday 12 Sep 2013
 
A fine line drawn in New York 
 
SHoP Architects, JDS Development and Property Markets Group 
 
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22/09/13 RR, CAN
This isn't about pushing the limits of design—it's about pushing the limits of economics and market forces.
17/09/13 S auerbach, F.A.I.A., CHEVY CHASE, MD
OUTRAGEOUS ! What is the need for such "pushing the limits of decent design ?
It's time to stop heralding the "pushing the limits" when it has nothing to do with reasonable solutions to architectural problems.
 

Editorial

Tower that surpasses the Empire State Building to overlook Central Park in NY 

A single rendering has surfaced of an unusually slim tower overlooking Central Park in Manhattan. Designed by SHoP Architects for JDS Development and Property Markets Group, the project site is 105-111 West 57th Street, a stone’s throw from the Museum of Modern art, Fifth Avenue and the aforementioned Central Park.

Set on a plot just 43ft wide, the tower is thought to be approximately 1,350ft in height, which would leave it resting on the skyline between the Empire State Building (1,250ft) and One World Trade Center (1,776ft). It is currently unclear as to whether financing for the project has been secured.

Plans were submitted to the Landmarks Preservation Commission in August by JDS Development and Property Markets Group for a luxury condominium on the site. The project includes the conversion of the existing Steinway building on West 57th Street designed by Warren & Wetmore which JDS Development purchased in June this year for a reported $46m.

The condominium project will incorporate the preservation and conversion of this heritage building, blending it with a ‘new modern product’ with shared spaces and a lobby. Retail units will also feature in the design and a stepped façade promises a dynamic silhouette for the Manhattan skyline.

We asked Daniel Safarik, Editor at Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat for his comments on the tower. Safarik explains: “We don’t have any specific or inside knowledge beyond this single rendering and the other news reports that we have all seen.

"Having said that, a large amount of money and time has been invested in site acquisitions and working with the landmarks commission and these will likely be among the most expensive residences in the city. JDS is an experienced developer (though relatively new to New York) and SHoP and WSP Cantor Seinuk are both highly skilled design firms, so I’m sure the implications of building at such an extreme height-to-width ratio have been thought through, at least in principle.

"Clearly, the economics of the New York property market are such that ‘extreme’ solutions are becoming more commonplace. The premium placed on views is at odds with the amount of buildable land available; thus, taller and thinner towers persist. The developers also seem to believe that occupiers will pay a premium for high-floor residences with views, that may function like multi-floor townhouses in the sky.

"Though the 57th Street tower certainly appears slender, I have little doubt whether a tower such as this can be engineered to resist winds and avoid uncomfortable accelerations for occupiers. I would be more curious to know how the design and development team will be able to resolve the need for multiple elevators to reach the exclusive higher floors. Most owners at this tier of the market are accustomed to high-speed elevators that go more or less directly to their residences. With a 43ft-wide footprint, that is the engineering and design challenge I would be most eager to see resolved.”

Key Facts

Status Concept
Value 0(m€)
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SHoP Architects PC
www.shoparc.com

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