In 2019, NYC saw the completion of more than 15 new buildings over 500 feet, and in the coming couple of years, even more tall buildings are slated for completion, including Central Park Tower, the world’s tallest residential building at 1,500 feet. None of this is a surprise. By building up, New York is able to maximize available space and even diversify certain neighborhoods by creating mixed-income housing communities. At their best, high-rise developments can drive economic and social change, but are these buildings also good for our health? Ahead, we look at the risks and benefits of high-rise living, many of which have taken on a new meaning during a time when New Yorkers are mainly confined to their homes.
Image: Michael Vadon via Flickr
In 1962, nine of the world’s tallest buildings were south of 59th Street in Manhattan–and things hadn’t changed much by 1981 when five of the tallest towers were concentrated on the same tiny island, which, with Chicago’s three, gave the U.S. nine of the world’s top 10 tallest skyscrapers. If you added Toronto’s entry that made 10. Today, the only U.S. entry the top ten is lower Manhattan’s One World Trade Center. This same tiny island though, is still number two in the world when it comes to concentration of tall towers.
6sqft has reported previously on the increasing alarm caused by New York City’s future skyline and its growing army of skyscrapers-to-be, with community groups expressing deep concern about the shadows cast across the city’s parks by the tall towers. The Municipal Art Society (MAS) has been leading the pack when it comes to thorough analysis of the issue, which they see as having its roots not only in the sheer height of the new buildings but in a lack of regulation of how and where they rise in the larger context of the city. This “accidental skyline” effect reflects the fact that New York City currently has no restrictions on the shadows a tower may cast–the city doesn’t limit height, it only regulates FAR (floor area ratio). At this week’s MAS Summit for New York City, the organization released its third Accidental Skyline report, calling for immediate reform in light of an unprecedented boom in as-of-right–and seemingly out-of-scale–development. MAS president Elizabeth Goldstein said, “New York doesn’t have to settle for an ‘accidental skyline.’”
Back in September, the developer Joseph Chetrit filed plans to build a 48-floor mixed-use tower with 421 hotel rooms and 135 residential units in the Hudson Yards neighborhood. Now, the wait is over as renderings of Chetrit Group’s proposed tower at 541-545 West 37th Street have officially been revealed. As CityRealty learned, CetraRuddy Architecture is designing the high-tech skyscraper, which is expected to rise 622 feet and overlook the future Hudson Boulevard Park. The building will span 621,000 square feet and include exhibition, retail, hotel and residential spaces.
Three years after completing his first New York City building, an affordable housing complex in Harlem called the Sugar Hill Development, starchitect David Adjaye is back. This time, he’ll be working with David Lichtenstein’s Lightstone Group to design a 61-story, 750-foot-tall condominium in the Financial District at 130 William Street known as the Wall Street Tower. Early conceptual studies uncovered by CityRealty show a gold-trimmed prism set against rigid rows of arched windows, as well as a glimpse at what the 244 apartments and amenity spaces will look like.
Yesterday, 6sqft shared a proposal for an inside-out Midtown tower that received an honorable mention in Evolo’s 2017 Skyscraper Competition. Another that made the list is the Flexible Materials Skyscraper, an idea for a Billionaires’ Row supertall with an exterior made of a new material that can be folded, cut, sewed, and turned over, falling into a pattern. The designers called it “draping,” and hope building skyscrapers with flexible materials will allow architects to explore a new model of building while also cutting down on the construction process.
The original rendering of 3 Sutton Place by Foster + Partners
Following a contentious legal battle, Gamma Real Estate has won the foreclosure auction and closed on the $86 million acquisition of 3 Sutton Place, a development site where the firm plans on building a 700-foot-tall condominium tower. As Commercial Observer learned, this includes three neighboring lots at 428-432 East 58th Street between First Avenue and Sutton Place. Earlier this year, 6sqft explained that a bankruptcy judge authorized the sale of the property after Joseph Beninati’s Bauhouse Group failed to pay back creditors. While Stephen B Jacobs remains the executive architect, Gamma has hired Thomas Juul-Hansen, a Danish-born architect, who will design the skyscraper.
Given our growing obsession with skyscrapers–and our growing collection of them–we’re pleased to find that New York City has more skyscrapers than the next 10 skyscraper-boasting cities–combined. The infographic from highrises.com (h/t TRD) shows that NYC has 6,229 high-rise buildings, while Chicago has just 1,180, and second-most-populous Los Angeles a mere 518.
We’ve just been looking at the amazing growth of the skyscraper in its early years, and now ArchDaily informs us that 2016 was a record year for tall buildings throughout the world. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) announced in its 2016 Tall Building Year in Review that 128 buildings 200 meters/656 feet or higher were completed in 2016, beating the previous year’s record of 114 completions. Of those buildings, 18 nabbed the spot of tallest building in their respective city, country or region; 10 were classified as supertalls (300 meters/984 feet or higher). And it looks like we’re on a roll…
The Times calls the phenomenon a “struggle for light and air.” And indeed, while New York City architecture is lauded for both its design and innovation, the decades-long race to build bigger and taller has taken a toll on the cityscape, particularly in the form of shadows. While any recent criticism of the effect has been directed towards the towers rising along Billionaire’s Row, as The Upshot’s map reveals, New Yorkers on the whole spend a lot of their time cutting through long stretches of shadow. The map documents thousands of buildings across the five boroughs, denoting age, height and the resulting shadows cast at ground level over the course of one day, down to the minute, during all seasons. As seen above, tall-tower haven Central Park South is cloaked in darkness 24/7 during the fall, winter, spring and summer months—but then again, if you peruse the map, you’ll see a lot of other blocks are too.