111 West 57th Street
Location: New York, USA
Status: Under Construction
Manhattan‘s classic skyscrapers are a powerful combination of optimistic expression and technical invention. 111 West 57th Street updates that heritage for today. With a total height of 1,428 feet, the residential tower at 111 West 57th Street is among the tallest buildings in New York City. As a prominent new local and regional landmark, it bears a special responsibility to contribute meaningfully and elegantly to the shared skyline. We achieved that goal by carefully shaping the tower’s profile, and by developing an innovative approach to using an authentic material from the golden age of the Manhattan skyscraper: terra-cotta.
The tower’s form is a bold interpretation of what is possible within the requirements of the Midtown Manhattan zoning envelope. Mandated setbacks were multiplied where the building form contacts the sky-exposure plane, resulting in a feathered rather than a stepped profile. The setbacks serve as sites for a finial at the top of each column of the terra-cotta ornament that rises on the east and west facades. Without mimicking historic precedent, this approach unifies the massing of 111 West 57th Street in the tradition of classic towers such as One Wall Street, 30 Rockefeller Center, or the Empire State Building.
Terra-cotta is one of the most beautiful and adaptable materials available to architects today. For 111 West 57th Street, blocks of sequentially varying profiles were modeled, extruded, glazed, and then stacked into an involuted pattern, like a softly breaking wave, that appears at once novel and familiar. Staggering those elements across the facade creates a distinctive moiré that changes dramatically when seen in different lights or from various distances.