Richard Meier & Partners has revealed the design of 685 First Avenue, a new 42-story residential tower to be located just south of the United Nations Headquarters along the East River in Manhattan. The 460-foot-tall building, Meier’s tallest in New York City, will be primarily constructed of black glass and metal panels, marking a surprising departure away from Meier’s signature all-white aesthetic.
“We asked ourselves, can formal ideas and the philosophy of lightness and transparency, the interplay of natural light and shadow with forms and spaces, be reinterpreted in the precise opposite – white being all colors and black the absence of color?” explains Meier. “Our perspective continues to evolve, but our intuition and intention remain the same – to make architecture that evokes passion and emotion, lifts the spirit, and is executed perfectly.”
The building takes a minimalist approach to form, drawing attention to its considered “materiality, lightness, transparency and order.” The facade’s sleek, black-glass curtain wall presents a solid figure on its eastern elevation, interrupted only by an architectural cut-out at the 27th and 28th floors, while on the western side, balconies, canopies and corners have been introduced to break up the elevation into human-scaled elements.
Individual window modules spanning full floor-to-floor heights have been subdivided into a system of operable window panels, joints and reveals. According to the architects, the use of black glass “unifies the façade, provides privacy for residents, and modulates the reflections of the context.”
The interiors of the 556 rental and condominium apartments have also been designed by Richard Meier & Partners, and will feature a material palette of white, gray and earth tones complemented by wood, plaster and glass. Residents will have access to a multitude of building amenities located on the second floor, including an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, child playroom, work room, game room, private dining room, and lounge.
Down at street level, a double-height glazed lobby space will act as a link to the site context, while retail space along First Avenue will inject urban activity into the building.
“The singular form of 685 First Avenue is borne of a desire to create an iconic building unique to Midtown Manhattan,” said Meier. “With advanced technologies and building materials, we seek an innovative and timeless design that adds to the history and roster of Manhattan’s landmark buildings. The architecture will be finely crafted, precise, elegant and striking. It is very meaningful to me personally to work in New York City, and to give something enduring to the city I call home.”
685 First Avenue is being developed by Sheldon Solow’s East River Realty Development, becoming Meier’s 19th designed project in New York City, with other designs including the Perry Street & Charles Street Condominiums, the Westbeth Artists’ Housing in the West Village, and the Aye Simon Reading Room at the Guggenheim Museum.
News via Richard Meier & Partners.
Location685 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States
Design TeamRichard Meier, FAIA, FRIBA; Dukho Yeon, AIA; Stefan Scheiber-Loeis
Project ManagerRichard Liu
Project Architect (Architecture)Sang-Min You
Project Architect (Interiors)Bori Kang, Hans Put
Project TeamTetsuhito Abe, Diana Carta, Luis Arturo Corzo, Joseph DeSense III, Ana Paola Hernandez, Henry Jarzabkowski, Graham Kervin, Peter J. Liao, Jackson Lindsay, Cameron Longyear, Diana Lui, Sharon Oh, Greg Chung Whan Park, Luciana Ruiz, Anne Struewing, Xiaodi Sun, Yuanyang Teng
Owner & DeveloperSheldon Solow, East River Realty Development LLC
Major Building MaterialsGlass and Aluminum Curtain Wall, Metal Panel, and Stone
ProgramResidential Tower, Street Level Retail and below grade Garage
Floors42 floors above grade, cellar, and sub-cellar
Site Area32,365 SFT
Model PhotographScott Frances
Architectural DrawingsCourtesy Richard Meier & Partners Architects
Facebook & Instagram@richardmeierpartners
PhotographsCourtesy of bloomimages, Scott Frances, Courtesy of Richard Meier & Partners Architects