Transparency and Connectivity: The Glass Skybridge Linking SHoP Architects' American Copper Buildings

Artfully dancing together to the beat of their own drum, the familiar look of the New York skyline has now been broken up by an eye-catching pair of skyscrapers on the banks of the East River. The dual copper-clad residential towers are reminiscent of a couple dancing, leaning back slightly and linked together by a bridge with a metallic reflecting finish half-way up the tower. The glass for the 100-meter-high skybridge for this extraordinary project was created by the Swiss specialists Glas Trösch which developed a complex, double-insulating glass with an internally laminated, metallic web to give a glossy finish.

The design of the American Copper Buildings overcame the challenges posed by development and zoning plans, which helped to determine the layout and architectural volumes. This makes the end result all the more impressive: New York firm SHoP Architects has created a distinctive building complex for developer JDS that stands out both in its material choice and shape—even in a city as architecturally distinctive as New York. The central design element is the Skybridge, which goes beyond a purely aesthetic function as it links the utilities of both towers and is integrated into the structure’s static design.

Architecture with a symbolic identity: The American Copper Buildings clearly stand out from the other buildings in the vicinity. © Glas Trösch AG

Copper Meets Glass

The cladding of the 41 and 48-story towers is composed of copper plates, the surface of which will change from reddish-brown to a matt green over time. By contrast, the three-story connecting bridge is wrapped entirely in a metallic shimmering glass—resting between the two tall towers, it forms an elegant contrast to the façade, providing a captivating, light effect.

What looks impressive from the outside is simply breathtaking from the inside. The Skybridge houses a lounge, a fitness studio with a bar, and a hammam spa. The absolute highlight of the ensemble is the pool, which allows you to swim high above New York’s rooftops from one American Copper Building to the other. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide an uninterrupted, fascinating view of the East River and Midtown Manhattan skyline. Stringent demands were likewise made on the glazing. In collaboration with Glas Trösch and McGrory Glass, a double-insulating glass was developed for the extraordinary project, not only ensuring undisturbed views but also meeting the strict energy requirements.

The pool measures approx. 22 metres and stretches almost the entire length of the Skybridge. © JDS

Highest Bridge in the City

The glass bridge, which was created with the help of an imposing steel framework, is the vital centerpiece of the architecture. The characteristic design element provides the structural link between the two skyscrapers and also acts as a distribution station for the building utilities, enabling the East and West Tower to be supplied via one common system. The result is a spectacular space that connects both technology and residents across the two towers. With a floor area of almost 5,600 square meters, the Skybridge provides space for more than just the swimming pool and fitness center, and includes open spaces for working, playing pool, or simply relaxing—with a panoramic view, of course.

The occupants of the two towers meet in the open spaces. Thanks to the special glazing, the buildings provide sufficient solar protection and ensure that nothing obstructs the uninterrupted views. © JDS

Fine Gauze, Spectacular Views

Consisting of two laminated safety glass panes and covering all three floors, the suspended glass façade provides the ultimate unrestrained panoramic view. In addition, a gauze with a metallic shimmering effect was laminated into the outer laminated safety glass. This gives the façade a special sheen from the outside, creating a look which is both elegant and at the same time unobtrusive. The filigree mesh openings of the gauze allow plenty of daylight inside but also offers basic solar protection. In combination with the LUXAR anti-reflective glass from Glas Trösch, the pane structure also ensures internal visibility and transparency which is essentially glare-free and above all offers a low level of reflectance—even in the dark. The overall reflection value is just two percent, which not only enhances the view but also acts as a counter to bird strikes. The additional COMBI layer SILVERSTAR SELEKT also meets all the energy requirements simultaneously offering optimum solar and heat protection and a high daylight efficiency. The figures speak for themselves: the total energy transmittance is 26 percent, the Ug value 1.1 W/m2K and the light transmittance is 44 percent.

Architecture with a symbolic identity: The American Copper Buildings clearly stand out from the other buildings in the vicinity. © Glas Trösch AG

Together, the American Copper Buildings in Manhattan form an iconographic structure that combines sophisticated architectural design with engineering solutions of the highest standard. There’s probably nowhere else in New York that offers the chance to enjoy a sunset uninterrupted and without the problem of glare—whether at the poolside, on the running machine in the fitness center, or playing pool in the lounge.

Project: American Copper Buildings
Location: New York (USA)
Completion: 2017
Architect: SHoP Architects, New York (USA)
Developer: JDS Development Group, New York (USA)
Metals Manufacturer: Elicc Americas Corporation, Escondido (USA)
Insulating Glass Manufacturer: Glas Trösch, Bützberg (CH)
Glass Structure: LSG made from LUXAR (item 1), CN 70/40 item 4, metal web in LSG // 16mm Argon // LSG made from LUXAR item 5 and 8
Coating: Glas Trösch, Bützberg (CH)

Cite: "Transparency and Connectivity: The Glass Skybridge Linking SHoP Architects' American Copper Buildings" 06 Jun 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.