53W53 is arguably the most architecturally significant addition to the New York skyline in recent years. A gracefully tapered, 1,050-foot-high tower rising above The Museum of Modern Art, 53W53 represents a bold artistic and technical achievement by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel. Make sure you read to the end to watch the latest video from The B1M.
A product of Nouvel’s inspired reading of its urban context, the building’s multiple tapered surfaces create a unique silhouette—both an heir to the classic towers that shaped the New York skyline and a paradigm for the skyscraper of the future. The architecture of 53W53 embraces a decidedly modern point of view. Its innovative exposed structural system, known as the diagrid, gives the facades of Nouvel’s tower a distinctly angular rhythm, which, when combined with floor-to-ceiling windows, creates a unique architectural context through which to view Central Park and the Manhattan skyline.
The elegant, refined interior spaces of the 145 private residences are designed by noted architect Thierry Despont. Complementing Nouvel’s innovative design, these homes offer a 21st century vision of the gracious urban living for which New York is celebrated.
Despont’s discerning eye has guided every aspect of 53W53’s finely tailored interiors. Each of the tower’s residences, which range from one-bedroom homes to duplex penthouses with private elevators, and full-floor dwellings, is imbued with the gracious proportions and attention to detail evident in all of Despont’s private home commissions. The architect’s expert touch comprises lighting designs and fully bespoke kitchens and bathrooms, as well as elegantly crafted furniture-grade mahogany doors with custom designed bronze hardware inspired by the tower’s distinctive silhouette.
Words from the architects…
Midtown Manhattan is an urban icon. The history of zoning laws that have been shaping it for a century command respect and attention. The City’s rules of vertical growth have created more than just a display of wealth or a new architectural style. They materialize Manhattan’s power and life energy, and make it the substance of the City’s monumental scale. Building a tower in Midtown Manhattan starts with a dialogue between decision makers. Ultimately, this dialogue will have to answer two questions of substance.
What ideas is this tower made of and what is its place in the City? With his design for the Tower Verre, Jean Nouvel proposes to take the strict respect of the zoning envelope to the point where its shape becomes the tower itself. Governed by its legal envelope and the structural framing needed to withstand the wind loads, this building is as unique and singular as the parcel it stands on. From close up, its receding stealth geometry makes it surprisingly discrete and unobtrusive for its height. Seen from Central Park, the bridges and most locations on the river banks, its triangular silhouette stands out and is very recognizable in the Manhattan skyline, inscribing the MoMA unmistakably as one of New York’s most famous and successful cultural institutions.
The façades of the tower are a structural glazing in standard glass dimensions and the bracing structure follows the simplest and most economical geometry. Living inside this building feels like inhabiting a powerfully present and reassuring structure, similar to that of a large tree. The tower draws its shape from the desire for more daylight in the streets. The narrow triangular top section is putting its unusually thin silhouette to good purposes. This tower is a monument to the rules of shadow and light, and to the forces of the wind.
Construction Photographs (Completion is anticipated by the end of 2018)
Video (Courtesy of The B1M)
New York City’s latest super-skinny residential tower – 53 West 53rd Street, or “53W53” – has been more than a decade in the making.
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Architects: Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Consultants: Office of Thierry Despont, Adamson Associates Architects, SLCE Architects, WSP Building Systems, Patrick Blanc, The Wright Fit, Kroll International Security, Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, Design by Pentagram, Renderings by Hayes Davidson