Foster+Partners’ First US Residential Building Breaks Ground

  • 14 Nov 2012
  • by
  • Architecture News Editor's Choice
image by dbox for Foster and Partners

50 UN Plaza, Foster+Partners‘ first residential building in the U.S., broke ground this morning. With the Hearst Tower long finished, Tower 2 at Ground Zero near complete, and a new iconic building planned for 425 Park Avenue, 50 UN Plaza will only further solidify Lord Foster’s mark on City.

The 44-story luxury tower’s privileged spot at the United Nations Plaza will give it remarkable views of the UN Building, the East River, and the Manhattan skyline. According to Foster, the building’s deep bay windows (which line each of the tower’s 3 volumes) will maximize that view and, along with its steel and glass facade, give the tower a distinctive, “jewel-like quality”: “The slender proportion of 50 United Nations Plaza is attenuated by the vertical stacks of bay windows, which give it a distinctive identity[...] The polished stainless steel detailing of the facade is in the sprit of earlier historic towers in the city and it reflects the sharp quality of light which is special to New York.”

The building, whose construction will incorporate recycled materials, also has a strong environmental agenda, combining active and passive energy strategies. According to the New York Observer, the tower’s 87 units will range in size from 1,100 square feet one-bedrooms; three bedrooms as big as 3,000 square feet; full-floor residences; and a penthouse duplex, measuring about 10,000 square feet. One of the marquee features will also be a private driveway. The tower is expected to cost $500 million and be completed in 2014.  

Foster+Partner’s description of 50 UN Plaza, after the break… Construction is underway on the first residential tower by in the United States. Developed by Zeckendorf Development with Global Holdings, the 44-storey luxury apartment tower occupies a prestigious location within the green setting of United Nations Plaza, with views of the celebrated modernist UN Headquarters building, the East River and the Manhattan skyline.

The tower’s massing respects the height and scale of its neighbours. Its three slender volumes appear faceted in elevation, visually reducing the building’s scale, while emphasising its vertical form. Each volume extends into a series of deep bay windows, which maximise views and broaden the elegant living spaces within. The bay windows are unified by a delicate horizontal grid of stainless steel bands, referencing the refined New York Art Deco style of nearby buildings. The tower’s jewel-like quality is further enhanced by highly reflective panels, which run vertically between each of the bays. Entrance is via a bracelet of lush planting that surrounds the tower. Inside, the colour palette for the lobby is warm, complemented by granite, marble, wood and an open fire to the rear of a full-height water feature that divides the space. Every apartment is focused on the floor to ceiling bay windows and the interiors are luxurious, with generous space for entertaining. A spa in the basement incorporates a large exercise pool for residents, and the penthouse features an infinity pool, dramatically cut out from the top level of the building. The tower incorporates a combination of active and passive environmental strategies – more than half of the facade is solid, with the rest made up of highly insulated glazing and construction will incorporate recycled materials.

The project is scheduled for completion at the end of 2014. Lord Foster:  “The slender proportion of 50 United Nations Plaza is attenuated by the vertical stacks of bay windows, which give it a distinctive identity. From the apartments within, these bays offer spectacular views of the East River and Manhattan’s skyline. The polished stainless steel detailing of the facade is in the sprit of earlier historic towers in the city and it reflects the sharp quality of light which is special to New York. The building has a strong environmental agenda combining measures to reduce energy consumption with the use of recycled materials.”

William Zeckendorf, co-chairman of Zeckendorf Development:  “50 United Nations Plaza is destined to become an international landmark, defined by its modern architecture and renowned location. This neighborhood is of great personal significance to my brother Arthur and I, as our maternal grandfather Trygve Lie was the first UN Secretary General, and our paternal grandfather assembled the land upon which the UN Secretariat building now stands.”

Eyal Ofer, Chairman of Global Holdings:  “We are thrilled to again partner with Zeckendorf Development on creating another premier New York City residential condominium.  With a location facing one of the most famous and important buildings in the world, 50 United Nations Plaza will attract considerable interest from buyers who recognize there is no other opportunity in New York City to own a home created by one of today’s great architects.”

Story via the New York Observer and Foster+Partners 

Cite: Quirk, Vanessa. "Foster+Partners’ First US Residential Building Breaks Ground" 14 Nov 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Jul 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=293810>

5 comments

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    Horrible. Who wants to live in an office building. Foster should have stayed out of high rise residential.

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