FXFOWLE 'chisel' into Manhattan

Nick Myall
Wednesday 25 Jan 2017

This building’s striking ‘chiselled’ design accommodates a dual role as a school and residential block

Designed by FXFOWLE, 35XV is a unique, hybrid residential-educational building located in a commercially-mixed, historic neighbourhood in New York City. The tower rises from a granite-clad base – an expansion of the adjacent Xavier High School – that extrudes the scale and materiality of the street-level context upwards for the first six stories of the building. A sculptural, angled glass form emerges above the base, providing a dynamic transition to a carefully sculpted, 19-storey volume of high-end residences. The scheme was showcased as a 2014 WAN AWARDS Future Project entry and subsequently in 2016 the completed project was entered into the WAN AWARDS Residential category. As a result the tower was championed as one of the top six shortlisted projects globally.

The building design establishes two distinct identities: one for the school, addressing the street realm, and one for the residential tower above, that addresses the sky. Anchoring the building, a stone-clad cubic base continues the scale of the block’s street wall. Careful modulation of fenestration and a “chiselled” design vocabulary equally accommodates the school’s functions and establishes the residential use’s identity. Poised above, the tower’s sloped, shard-like forms and fish-scaled glass cladding reflect the sky, appearing to de-materialize the tower. The building’s sky exposure plane – a zoning bulk restriction that traditionally limits design – is used here to sculpt a unique form that offers residents light, airy interior living spaces with unparalleled views of the surrounding cityscape.

Commenting on the project Dan Kaplan, Senior Partner at FXFOWLE said; "Our design resolves a three-dimensional puzzle and cleverly finesses the zoning, the mix of uses, and the singular attributes of this rare mid-block, Manhattan site. We leveraged the sky exposure plane and the scale and materiality of the 'street wall' to form a hybrid, cantilevered design that expresses its intertwined programs with two distinctive, yet related, architectural expressions."

The building’s base incorporates classrooms, a STEM lab, rehearsal space and a commons for Xavier. A mix of one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom units occupy the top 18 floors, while a seventh floor amenity space includes a gym, lounge, children’s play room, shared wine cellar, and communal terrace.

A hybrid structural system was employed, with a steel frame at the base that supports the school addition and allows the tower to cantilever 17 ft over the existing school building, and 36 ft over the rear yard, comprising 40% of the residential floor area. The tower is constructed with flat-plate concrete to provide an ample footprint for apartments, and to allow for maximum planning flexibility. Completely independent MEP systems and vertical circulation infrastructure are provided for the two principal uses.

35XV sets new standards in the growing trend of air rights development, meeting housing demands in a dense Manhattan neighbourhood while providing needed support for a local non-profit institution, all within a contextually specific, dynamic design.

Nick Myall

News editor

Key Facts:

Education Residential
United States

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