Snøhetta stacks up in Manhattan

Nick Myall
Monday 27 Nov 2017

Chamfered corners and a shared amenity terrace on the 16th floor give this new residential tower in Manhattan a unique edge

Snøhetta is leading the design of the new residences at 50 West 66th Street in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Embracing features found in the neighbourhood, the design reveals its base, body, and crown in contemporary terms. The striking geometry expands New York City’s rich legacy of tower design while embodying an identity formed by human scale at the street. Situated at the heart of the neighbourhood’s cultural core, steps from Lincoln Center to the west and Central Park to the east, the building will join the neighbourhood, sensitively responding to its context and referencing the area’s architectural character with a natural palette of refined materials.

At street level, the building’s podium is sheathed in hand-set and textured limestone with bronze and glass storefronts, complementing the warm material palette of its surrounding neighbors. Careful attention to detail and materiality gives the base a dignified presence. The north side residential entrance is clad in burnished bronze and limestone that presents a welcoming face to the street, and a similar treatment identifies the entrance to a synagogue at 65th street. The building steps back on the second floor, creating an approachable neighborhood character along the sidewalk.

The design is achieved through a series of sculptural excavations, evocative of the chiseled stone of Manhattan’s geologic legacy. As the building rises, its bulk is carved away, splitting the tower volume into two. Chamfered corners refine its silhouette and form a shared amenity terrace on the 16th floor. This terrace creates a new social heart for the building in a unique location and encourages a sense of community among its residents. Here, the stepped outdoor space is generously planted and offers spectacular views of the city, the Hudson River, and Central Park.

Above the 16th floor terrace, the design becomes more slender as it continues to rise into the sky. The opposing corners of the building are sliced away to create balconies with broad views of the city. This zipper of loggias runs the full length of the upper volume, visually connecting the body to its lustrous, sculpted crown. Angled facets evoke this chiseled vocabulary, revealing the same gleaming bronze found at the building’s base. 50 West 66th will glow as a warm lantern, a new friend in the New York City skyline.

Nick Myall

News editor

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