Tag Archives: 2009

459 W 18th Street

459 W 18th Street so perfectly complements Chelsea Modern, the condo next door, you might think that they were one building. That’s quite a trick, considering that the two structures have different heights, widths, orientations, colors and materials – not to mention architects.

But 459’s vertically-aligned angles and stark black and white aluminum panels paradoxically marry the blue and white glass and horizontal lines of Chelsea Modern.

459 W 18th Street Vital Statistics
459 W 18th Street Recommended Reading

Click to access architecture090615.pdf

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Bank of America Tower

Bank of America Tower is a model architectural and environmental citizen, despite its height: Easy on the eyes and on resources.

Although BoAT is New York’s third-tallest* skyscraper, it seems understated, just one of the crowd on 42nd Street.

Where it does stand out is its reflective, faceted design, which looks different from every angle and minute-by-minute. Bank of America Tower is surrounded by other glass buildings in different colors and patterns; their constantly changing hues, reflections and intersections are like a massive mobile. Looking up along the skin is akin to looking through a kaleidoscope.

Under the skin, Bank of America Tower is impressive for its environment-friendly features. BoAT used massive quantities of recycled materials in its construction; the building captures and uses rainwater; it has its own power plant; at night, when electrical demand is low, the building makes ice to use for cooling during peak-demand daylight hours. There’s much more – explore the Recommended Reading links below!

Bank of America Tower’s base includes the landmark Henry Miller’s Theatre (now named Stephen Sondheim Theatre) and Anita’s Way – a mid-block passageway between W 42nd and W 43rd Streets (named after Anita Durst, founder of Chashama, which transforms vacant properties into artists’ spaces). The southeast corner (6th Ave./W 43rd St.) includes an “Urban Garden Room” open to the public.

* Based on structural height, 1200 feet, which includes the spire.

Bank of America Tower Vital Statistics
Bank of America Tower Recommended Reading

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Standard Hotel

Standard Hotel, as they are fond of saying, is not your standard hotel. Perched 30 feet above the High Line park, it’s shaped like an open book – a book that’s also open in the sense that the facades are transparent (not mirrored or tinted) glass.

All that glass makes rooms seem larger than they are, but sometimes guests forget(?) to close the drapes, leading the NY Post to dub the Standard Hotel the “eyeful tower.”

The building’s design and location presented some unique engineering challenges. Engineers had to cope with the soil conditions (landfill), flood resistance, a high water table, and strict limits on how close to the existing High Line structure they could build. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat case study describes how Ennead Architects met those challenges.

For all of the Standard Hotel’s non-standard features, the property did try to blend in at street level: The Standard Grill restaurant was constructed with salvaged brick, in a style that closely mimics the meatpacking warehouses of the neighborhood. You’d never guess that it was new construction.

Standard Hotel Vital Statistics
Standard Hotel Recommended Reading

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324 E 51st Street

324 E 51st Street is not your typical townhouse. It’s startling, even for New York architecture. But there is reason behind the perforated skin.

The building may remind you of Cassa NY, though on a smaller scale. The architect explains the facade as a way to reference rather than mimic its neighbors: The perforations are the size and shape of bricks.


Behind the street wall there are no traditional rooms to hold traditional windows. The stair and elevator core was moved to the front, to consolidate space and create a “vertical loft.” See the project video – it makes sense.

Thinking outside the box, even if it looks like a box.

324 E 51st Street Vital Statistics
324 E 51st Street Recommended Reading

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