The tower that now rises out of the heart of Midtown Manhattan in the exclusive district that lies between Carnegie Hall and Central Park (hence its alternative name ‘Carnegie 57’) is a standing testament to the visionary imagination and determination of its creators. One57, which houses a hotel and some of the most expensive luxury apartments to be found in the city, has already been dubbed the ‘Billionaires’ Tower’. With 90 floors and soaring to a height of 306 m (1,004 ft), its pre-eminence among the great skyscrapers of the Big Apple is assured.
306 m / 1004 ft
90 stories tall
The Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc, designed a soaring tower that provides each residence with extraordinary views and an abundance of natural light. The building is an artistic sculpture, billowing upward in a cloud-like formation, with an elegant striated custom curtain wall that appears to flow toward the earth like a cascading waterfall. In a challenging and articulated context, the architectural envelope, consisting of a transparent custom-made skin that draws attention to the staggered volumes of the tower, delineates its shape and plays with the light from the sky, plays a significant role. In addition to conforming to the design precepts for the development of an intelligent façade, the final result is also a monument to the visionary aesthetic of the architect, who sought to endow the whole with a sense of volumetric movement and flow, like a cascade of water that the multiple panes of glass split into a myriad of colored fragments. At the same time, the building is a successful realization of the architect and the developer’s primary objective, which was to erect a tower with a unique and unobstructed view of its surrounds.
Design & engineering, manufacturing and installation of 47,300 sqm (509,100 sq ft) of curtain wall made up of 8,200 units of which 2,200 are different configurations.
A three-dimensional puzzle
The silhouette is completely covered with a transparent skin of glass and aluminum tightly stretched over the curves and volumes of the tower. Two different types of glass, one clear and the other dark, create a striped effect on the south face and accentuate the verticality of the structure. While the north face overlooking Central Park presents a rectilinear and square-shaped profile that creates an impression of engineered rigidity, the south face seems to sweep downwards with a cascading effect that draws attention to how the staggered and curved volumes undulate and overlap with each section below. The sense of sinuous movement becomes even more pronounced closer to the ground thanks to the artful deployment of teardrop-shaped glass panels that seem to bulge inwards and outwards from the façade and terminate on the canopy covering the front entrance, where the vertical lines of the façade intersect with the horizontal trajectory of the street, over which the building rises like a frozen wave.
The skin of One57 constitutes one of the fundamental design elements of the building. It embodies both the architect’s vision and the developer’s concept of how the skyscraper should fit into the Manhattan’ skyline. The design and engineering of the components took more than two years to complete as the development team sought to strike a perfect balance between the technical requirements of the project and the high performance expected of the materials in terms of environmental comfort, noise abatement, and protection from solar radiation coupled with the exploitation of solar energy. At the same time, the team had to consider not only the aesthetics of the building, but also its setting and its extraordinary capacity to mingle light, shape and color.
The multiple and complex geometries that are such a defining characteristic of the building’s exterior are the result of a cladding composed of diverse materials and finishes. The skin is made up of around 8,200 unitized units of more than 2,200 distinct types covering an area of 47,300 sqm (509,100 sq ft). Many of the elements are unique. Indeed, the most ‘typical’ façade module is repeated approximately 300 times. Every stage of the project, from original design to installation, was replete with complexities and challenges.
The complex geometry of the façade is achieved by a vast array of diverse units of varying shapes and configurations, like puzzle pieces combined to form a variegated three-dimensional composition.
Elegant striated curtain wall that seems to flow like a cascading waterfall
Floor-to-ceiling windows giving unobstructed views
8,200 customized façade glass units
2,200 different types of units
Many unique elements
DEVELOPER: Extell Development Company
ARCHITECT: Christian de Portzamparc, Atelier Christian de Portzamparc
EXECUTIVE ARCHITECT: SLCE Architects, LLP
CONTRACTOR: Bovis Lendlease
To have so many separate elements in a single project be the object of so much research and development work is unprecedented. The result is an unique building that is also a full-scale prototype integrating some of the most advanced technologies and a rich variety of forms and structural complexities.
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