New York's new residential

Niki May Young
Thursday 05 Mar 2009

Kohn Pedersen Fox raise the bar for accommodation in the Big Apple

Located in historic Greenwich Village in Manhattan and bordered by 8th and Greenwich Avenues to the west and southwest, One Jackson Square is a 35-unit luxury residential development with a street level retail component that responds in dramatic fashion to its celebrated locale.

The building occupies an irregular site in the West Village as a result of the area’s diagonal street grid and falls within the Greenwich Village Historic District. The goal for KPF’s design is to enhance the architectural diversity of the neighbourhood and to mediate between the predominantly low-rise area and the taller buildings to the north, also taking into account the zoning laws. The design, which incorporates 65,600 sq ft, therefore steps down from 11 storeys at the northern end, to seven at the southern.

Formerly a surface parking lot, the six-sided, split-zone site above two subway tunnels posed significant challenges, which the design negotiates through its massing, material expression, and robust foundation – the building is literally cantilevered over the subway tunnels.

Over the past decade KPF’s has witnessed the most successful examples of integrating new buildings into an historic context being achieved through a design strategy which places into juxtaposition the weight of the new with the lightness of the old. This method most frequently relies upon the characteristics of glass – transparency and reflection – as a foil and balance to architecture of opacity and solidity.

Through reflection, glass has the ability to ‘playback’ the surrounding context and it is this capacity which can make it most effective in a context of masonry structures. KPF’s design uses undulating bands of floor-to-ceiling glass to identify individual storeys, creating a ribbon-like series of convexities and concavities along the external wall flooding each apartment with light and allowing Greenwich Village’s busy street-life to become part of the private living space. A series of green roofs extends the private realm of the building into the public domain of the adjacent park.

Paul Katz, President of KPF, New York, commenting on the building said: “The design developed assumes the Greenwich Village Historic District to be a place which is not frozen in time, but one which will continue to accept exceptions if they emanate from the idiosyncratic spirit of and scale of the district.” One Jackson Square, which is targeting LEED certification, will offer one, two and three bedroom apartments as well as providing residents with a 24-hour concierge service, valet parking, fitness centre, spa facility and courtyard garden.

One Jackson Square was given the MIPIM Future Project Awards Commendation in 2007, and is likely to receive further plaudits on completion in the autumn of 2009.

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