Both the architecture and Dane-ophile communities have been abuzz this week with news that sustainable architect de jour Bjarke Ingels — he of the ski-slope waste incinerator and 8-Tallet, a green roofed eco-village outside of Copenhagen — has revealed renderings of West 57th, a dramatic, kind-of-pyramid-shaped residential complex in the hinterlands of Hell’s Kitchen on 57th Street, Or, as Curbed puts it “the worst-kept secret in New York City architecture is finally out.”
After checking out the many renderings and reading more about the latest (and first stateside) mountainous project from Ingels and his firm Bjarkes Ingels Group, or BIG, I have one thing to say: what a doozy.
Gigantic (870,000 square feet with room for 600 residential units; 20 percent of them are reported to be affordable), unusually shaped (Justin Davidson of New York Magazine describes the 350-foot tall building as “either tower nor slab nor even quite a pyramid, but a gracefully asymmetrical peak with a landscaped bower in its hollowed core,” and green (Durst Fetner Residential, the building’s developers, are aiming for LEED Gold certification), Ingels himself refers to West 57th as “a cross breed between the Copenhagen courtyard and the New York skyscraper.”
Ingels goes on to explain in an official press release that “the communal intimacy of the central urban oasis meets the efficiency, density and panoramic views of the tall tower in a new hybrid typology. The courtyard is to architecture what Central Park is to urbanism: a giant green garden surrounded by a dense wall of spaces for living."
Not shockingly, there's been a whole lot of coverage of West 57th over the past few days. For some of the better stories, check out New York Magazine (an interesting profile on 36-year-old Ingels as well as the project), ArchDaily (an excellent overview of the project), and Curbed (tantalizing NYC real estate goss around the "courtyard-sprouting colossus"). The building will be going through the grueling city review process over the next couple of months in order to get the final stamp of approval. Here's hoping it actually gets built.
I'll leave you with some words on the project from Ingels:
New York is rapidly becoming an increasingly green and livable city. The transformation of the Hudson River waterfront and the Highline into green parks, the ongoing effort to plant a million trees, the pedestrianization of Broadway and the creation of more miles of bicycle lanes than the entire city of my native Copenhagen are all evidence of urban oases appearing all over the city. With West 57th we attempt to continue this transformation into the heart of the city fabric - into the center of a city block
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