Manhattan is not quite a stranger to offbeat typological experiments: Pyramidal multi-use buildings and sprawling indoor–outdoor complexes were quite popular 40 or so years ago, before developers lost their nerve and started going for anodyne context-iness. So BIG’s West 57th is, in a sense, a return to form—and a big, jagged, twisting V of a form, at that.
Rising from a simple rectangular base, each of the 1.003-million-square-foot building’s four elevations appears entirely different from the next, the effect of carefully contrived cutaways that bring light and views (the Hudson River to the west, the skyline to south and east) to all of the 700 apartments within. This visual dynamism is complemented by a programmatic complexity unusual in a residential high-rise: Public-facing street-level storefronts, art displays, and an improved pedestrian streetscape bring a little action to what has long been a very dull enclave of West Midtown. A grand staircase connects these to a verdant central courtyard on the third floor that echoes the proportions of nearby Central Park, with some apartments opening directly onto the courtyard.
The overall sense of a private building with a public dimension—and one in which the boundary between the two spheres is deliberately blurred—seems in keeping with the Copenhagen- and New York–based designers’ avowed “Scandimericanism,” a blending of their open, socially minded Danish outlook with a rougher Gothamite edge. This hybridization is also expressed in a materials palette that mixes natural elements like cork and oak with decidedly urban ones like blackened steel and exposed brick.
Project: West 57th, New York
Client: Durst Fetner Residential
Architect: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), New York and Copenhagen . Bjarke Ingels, Thomas Christoffersen (partners in charge); Beat Schenk, AIA (project manager); David Brown, AIA, Sören Grünert (project designers); Aleksander Tokarz, Assoc. AIA, Alessandro Ronfini, Alessio Valmori, Alvaro Garcia Mendive, Benjamin Schulte, Birk Daugaard, Celine Jeanne, Christoffer Gotfredsen, Daniel Sundlin, Dominyka Mineikyte, Eivor Davidsen, Felicia Guldberg, Florian Oberschneider, Gabrielle Nadeau, Gül Ertekin, Ho Kyung Lee, Hongyi Jin, Julian Liang, Julianne Gola, Laura Youf, Lucian Racovitan, Marcella Martinez, Maria Nikolova, Maya Shopova, Mitesh Dixit, Nicklas Rasch, Ola Hariri, Riccardo Mariano, Steffan Heath, Stanley Lung, Tara Hagan, Thilani Rajarathna, Tyler Polich, Valentina Mele, Valerie Lechene, Xu Li, Yi Li (core and shell project team); David Brown, AIA (interior designer); Aaron Hales, Alessandro Ronfini, Brian Foster, Christoffer Gotfredsen, Ho Kyung Lee, Hongyi Jin, Ivy Hume, Jenny Chang, Lauren Turner, Mina Rafiee, Rakel Karlsdottir, Tara Hagan, Thomas Fagan, Tiago Barros, Valentina Mele (interiors project team)
Architect of Record: SLCE Architects
Landscape Architect: Starr Whitehouse
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
Size: 1.003 million square feet
You'll find all of the other winners of this year's Progressive Architecture Awards here.