56 Leonard Street, New York / Herzog & de Meuron

Yesterday, I was visiting the Skyscraper Museum in , and I saw an incredible aerial photo that shows the evolution of downtown Manhattan during the last century, from the water reclamation to the black towers to the new skyline without the twin towers. Undoubtedly, this city changes its shape very often.

And as of now, new residential buildings are bringing new forms to this skyline. First, we have OMA on the 23rd street with its structural facade and cantilevered volume, and now the 56 Leonard Street building by Herzog & de Meuron, which entered the construction phase.

This 57-story residential in the Tribeca area will house 145 residences, each one with its own unique floor plan and private outdoor space. This typology makes the building look like a stack of houses, away from the traditional skyscraper form. I wonder how the concrete structure works on this building, which was done by consultant firm WSP Cantor Seinuk (who also worked on the Freedom Tower).

With this height, it will surely impact the city skyline as you can see on the panoramic above.

The building features several interior design details done by Herzog & de Meuron, and also a sculpture comissioned to artist Anish Kapoor.

All photos  Copyright Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, 2008

56 Leonard Street, between Church Street and West Broadway, in the Tribeca Historic District of Manhattan, New York City (map).

Site Preparation:  Spring/Summer 2008
Construction Commences:  Fall 2008
Projected Occupancy:  Fall 2010

Alexico Group LLC, New York, NY
Principals:  Izak Senbahar, Simon Elias
Client Representative:  Eric Anderson

Design Architect
Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, Switzerland
Partners: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Ascan Mergenthaler
Project Architects: Vladimir Pajkic (Associate), Philip Schmerbeck , Mehmet Noyan
Project Team: Zachary Vourlas, Jason Whiteley, Daniela     Zimmer,    Mark Chan, Simon Filler, Sara Jacinto, Jin Tack Lim, Mark Loughnan (Associate), Jaroslav Mach, Donald Mak, Hugo Moura, Jeremy Purcell,     James Richards, Heeri Song, Charles Stone (Associate)

Executive Architect
Costas Kondylis and Partners, New York, NY

Construction Management
Hunter Roberts, New York, NY
Site Area: 12,500 square feet

Building Footprint: 12,500 square feet

Building Dimensions
Width:  125 feet
Depth:  100 feet
Height:  830 feet

Gross Floor Area (GF): 425,000 square feet. plus technical, parking and structure

Floors: 57 above (+1 below)

Exterior Materials
Structure:  concrete
Facade:  glass, stainless steel, aluminium, concrete

Interior Materials:
Lobby:  granite floors, absolute granite tile walls, concrete ceilings
Elevators: terrazzo floor, stainless steel mosaic tile walls, polished stainless steel frame

Cite: Basulto, David. "56 Leonard Street, New York / Herzog & de Meuron" 16 Sep 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=6268>
  • tyler

    I really like this building… nice deconstruction of a tower.

  • Scott

    I like it. In my opinion, I think the balconies on the lower portion of the building detract from the overall look. The building goes from a regular floorplan to an irregular one quite dramatically, but the balconies hide that, and make the building look messy.

    The cantilevers of the upper portion look less dramatic when the entire building has small balconies cantilevering up the whole facade.

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  • Paul Garrett

    Paul Rudolph often incorporated design ideas of other architects into his work, and even joked about it, saying “A good idea is a good idea,” However, I find it unconscionable that Paul Rudolph is not mentioned as an insiprationl source for this new 56 Leonard Street highhrise. It’s an exciting new building and should certainly be encouraged, but it also looks like Paul Rudolph’s Graphic Arts Center project on Prozac. Is this failure to credit out of self promotion or shameful ignorance?

  • http://pw-software.com Nokadota

    Wow, this is amazing. I would love to live in a building like this.

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  • Terry Glenn Phipps

    Mr. Garrett it seems really doubtful to me that Herzog & DeMeuron have the faintest idea who Paul Rudolph was or exactly whom they are cribbing ideas from. Luckily for New York this building happens to make sense. It could just as easily have not. These days asking for knowledge of architectural history, theory, and reason is simply asking too much.

    Terry Glenn Phipps

    • ygogolak

      So every building that is done now has to credit the person who had a similar idea? It’s all been done before to some extent. I didn’t know Rudolph was the first of his kind to do such work, and to imply that shows a lack of “knowledge of architectural history, theory, and reason”.

      • Taylan

        the users do not know the history of architecture.
        they see something, they like it or not. it is liveable or not. the rest of the noise is luckily heard and made by architects.

  • http://ttaconstruction_design thanhtran Architect

    really great!, 1 is the game’s creative, is not to say when ngoa architects is the brain of science, the soul of poetry and sometimes the hands of the artist ….

  • http://ttaconstruction_design thanhtran Architect

    really great!, 1 is the game’s creative, is not to say when said architects is the brain of science, the soul of poetry and sometimes the hands of the artist ….

  • Joshua

    @ Terry and Paul

    Paul, stylistically I cna understand your reference to Rudolph, however architecturally, there’s not that much crossover as this project is in situ, not pre fabricated. Instead of the G Arts center on prozac [somehow you mean it is happier?!] I’d say this project is more like the Farnsworth house on Viagra.


    H&dM are one of the most important offices in the world, their work is undeniably thoughtful, engaging and elegantly detailed. They won the Pritzker for Pete’s sake! I’m pretty sure they know about the Dean of Yale. To say that H&dM doesn’t know or care about a pillar of late modernism is kind of like saying Carmelo Anthony never heard of Michael Jordan.
    What a ridiculous statement.

  • moun

    I just wanna know, what’s on the ground floor? A bean? A potato? Why? So strange for them to put such a sculpture there.

    • Scott

      It’s by Anish Kapoor – same guy who did Cloud Gate (“the Bean”) in Chicago. Supposed to look like it’s getting squished…who knows why. =P

  • Lorenzo

    Yesterday I was near the site but I dont saw anything that remember a constuction site. Are they two Leonard Street in New York or what?

  • Miao Zhang

    That’s nice.I really like it.Meaybe the bean at the first floor is little strang.How does it conect with the inverianment?

  • http://www.garalysoka.com oscar falcón lara

    This building will definitely be a great sight once it is finished. I can imagine any of those higher apartments being used as a set for a movie or a tv show. Beckons a thought or two.

  • Lorenzo

    I discovered why I didnt saw its construction site: everything’s stopped due finacial problems :D

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  • Matt C

    @ Joshua

    Yes! Thank you, I completely agree with you. I’m not sure where Terry and Paul are coming from. To say that Paul Rudolph is the inspiration for this?! Moshe Safdie had this design down before Paul Rudolph with his Habitat 67, which was actually built and designed before Paul Rudolph’s Graphic Art Center. Also, PR’s is totally prefab, each unit with the same floor plan; whereas in 56 Leonard each floor is increasingly differentiated from the floor below.

    Needless to say, this building is beautiful and I love how the design concept of taking a “simple” box and layering them upon each other is pushed to the max. It totally fits in NYC — a city that is essentially a bunch of boxes stacked upon one another.

  • eco

    Great idea – all those rich scoundrels in one place and no airfield or landing field. Nice building but completly without soul.

  • http://robertobortoli.com.br/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=69948 Allen Totman

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