Designed by Danish firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group with Thornton Tomasetti providing structural engineering, the 709-unit residential building, which opened in late September, has reshaped Manhattan’s western skyline. Photos by Rob Otani.
The tetrahedron-shaped VIA 57 WEST, architect BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group’s first completed building in North America, opened Sept. 22. Thornton Tomasetti provided structural engineering services to BIG for the project, which the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has named the best tall building in the Americas for 2016. SLCE Architects was the executive architect.
A view of the Hudson River from one of the apartments, each of which is equipped with a bay window.
Located on 57th Street in Manhattan’s Midtown West neighborhood, the unique, sloped building, developed by the Durst Organization, contains 709 apartment units, of which 142 (20 percent) are set at below market rates, and 45,000 square feet of commercial retail space and street-level parking. Its design combines a European-style perimeter block/courtyard at the center with a Manhattan high-rise, utilizing the benefits of both. The courtyard is designed to have the same proportions as Central Park, 1/13,000 the size.
The building features 178 unique floorplans and a courtyard modeled to the proportions of Central Park.
The building’s northeast corner rises 448 feet (44 stories), while the remaining three corners are two stories high. In addition to providing private outdoor space, the courtyard and slope of the building allows low western sunlight deep into the block. Its shape also provides residents views of the nearby Hudson River and preserves the sight lines of the surrounding buildings.
Setbacks at each floor required the design of 396 unique transfer girders to support the slab edges.
The structure consists of flat plate concrete slabs with a dual shear wall, flat plate moment frame lateral system up to level 34. Above that is a braced frame steel crown. One of the project’s most challenging design features is the slab setbacks at each floor. To support the slab edge, a series of posts transfer on an 18-inch thickened slab with embedded girders. Each of the 396 transfer girders has a unique design, 22 of which consisting of pairs of embedded steel beams. The western portion of the building, which is within the 100-year flood plain, has integral flood walls as well as elevated mechanical units. A partial cellar contains storage and back-of-house space.
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