Architects: TEN Arquitectos
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Client: Two Trees Management Co. LLC
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Alexander Severin/RAZUMMEDIA, Images Courtesy Two Trees Management Co. LLC
Located at the Western edge of Midtown Manhattan, the Mercedes House mixed-use development occupies more than half of a city block, comprising a total of 1.3 million square feet of commercial and residential programs. The building integrates multiple commercial uses at the base and provides 27 floors of housing above. The base building will include a 55,000 square-foot auto showroom fronting 11th Avenue with 275,000 square feet of service floors below grade, a 37,000 square foot space for community use and retail, a smaller retail space, a 28,000 square foot health club and 200 parking spaces.
The residential form creates a total of 865 units (695 rental units and 170 condo units), including 20 percent inclusionary housing. The overall massing of the project slopes up and away from De Witt Clinton Park, starting at 86 feet along 11th Avenue and climbing up to 328 feet at the middle of the block. This height transition successfully reconciles two very dissimilar urban scales: The flat, horizontal one of the park located to the West of 11th Avenue and the vertical one of the windowless telephone switching tower to the East of the site. Securing light and air for a great majority of apartments, the double-loaded corridor shifts diagonally across the site in a unique orientation to the Manhattan grid, reducing the building’s mass adjacent to the neighboring buildings. Each floor steps up from the one below, allowing for unobstructed views to the park and the Hudson River and providing private roof terraces with green roofs on every floor. A varied treatment of street walls and interior facades makes reference to the historic court spaces of New York City housing. The street walls are faced with a silver perforated rain screen material, while the interior facades are comprised of a hybrid curtain wall.
The design of the project capitalizes on the site’s through-block condition and its spectacular views to De Witt Clinton Park and the Hudson River. In an attempt to keep the project’s mass both away from the park and off of the narrow side streets, the design presents a totally unique design resolution for Manhattan. The building’s mirrored structure introduces the creation of two courtyards, a sunbathed pool garden to the South and a shaded activities court to the North.