Tag Archives: SLCE Architects


Blue is much too young to be a landmark in the historical sense, but it has certainly made its mark in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The towering (in the local context) cantilevered glass box, with its Mondrian-esque grid of blue and black, stands out like the proverbial sore thumb against the Lower East Side’s historic tenements (the Tenement Museum is three blocks away). Not long after the controversial apartments went up, New York City Council rezoned the East Village and Lower East Side, limiting building heights to preserve “neighborhood scale and character.”

The architect – charged, after all, with the task of creating a profitable building – said the structure was the logical result of maximizing square footage within the separate requirements of two lots. The cantilevered south section (103 Norfolk Street) rises over a commercial zone lot; the north section (105 Norfolk Street) is on a residential zone lot.

You must admit it’s an arresting design from any angle, even on a cloudy day.

Blue Vital Statistics
Blue Recommended Reading

Google Map

21 West Street

21 West Street (aka Le Rivage), a slender 31-story Art Deco landmark, was converted from offices to apartments in 1998. The building complements the adjoining Downtown Athletic Club, designed by the same architects but built five years earlier.

When built in 1931 (at the same time as the Empire State Building), 21 West Street was across the street from the waterfront. Upper-story tenants then had an unobstructed view of the Hudson. Battery Park City was built on landfill placed in 1980 from excavation for the World Trade Center.

The exposed corners of the building are cantilevered, allowing corner windows. The building was promoted as “An office building with glass corners.” The original red window frames have been replaced by a more neutral tan matching the brick surrounds.

Starrett & Van Vleck used different-colored bricks to create a “woven” texture and to accentuate the building’s vertical lines. The Washington Street facade has setbacks at the 10th and 16th floors; all three facades have setbacks above the 21st, 26th, 29th and 30th floors.

21 West Street Vital Statistics
21 West Street Recommended Reading

Google Map