Tapered Tower Redefines the Skyline While Respecting the Ground Level: 111 West 57th Street, New York City
Session: Track A: Best Tall Building Award: Under 100m Part 2, 300-399m & 400m+ Part 2
Founder and CEO, JDS Development Group
New York City
Founding Principal, SHoP Architects
New York City
111 West 57th Street strives to be a good neighbor. The footprint of the tower was kept as compact as possible to respect and preserve the landmark Steinway Hall building (designed 1925) at its base. Positioning the tower well back from 57th Street allows for a generous public entry pavilion. Additionally, the tower takes its place proudly among the new generation of tall residential towers rising in the Midtown Manhattan skyline.
The tower’s form is derived through a reinterpretation of what is possible within the zoning envelope. Mandated setbacks were multiplied where the building form contacts the sky-exposure plane, resulting in a feathered rather than a stepped profile. The setbacks serve as residential balconies, each marked by a pair of finials capping one of the ornamental terra-cotta pilasters that rise on the east and west façades. These elements provide beneficial wind-buffering effects in addition to their ornamental role and comprise a series of custom terra-cotta blocks in 26 sequentially varying profiles—extruded, glazed in six selected tones, and then stacked to create an involuted pattern similar to a breaking wave.
To achieve wellbeing and minimize movement for maximum residential comfort, , continuous shear walls along the deep east and west sides of the building, was paired with a custom tuned-mass damper installation on an upper level to obviate any remaining sway. A dual-use system that features stacked passenger and service cabs within the same shaft supports the speed and reliability of the elevators.
At ground level, the historic building was restored and given a new residential use after its primary use as a commercial office, retail space, and small performance space. Also, opportunities were found to adapt materials that were displaced from their original purpose during construction For example, stone from the party wall of the original building that had to be removed to integrate the shaft of the new tower and was used to repair the front façade of Steinway Hall. The preservation, integration, and adaptive reuse of the existing Steinway Hall was a guiding principle for the project.