Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd.
4056 Basel, Switzerland
Phone: +41 61 385 5757
New York, New York, USA
The site, which occupies five typical narrow New York lots is located on Bond Street, a relatively wide street with cobblestones in the heart of NoHo. It is embedded in brownstones, warehouses and lofts, which vary significantly in scale and proportion.
The Bond Street area was one of NY’s most exclusive residential neighborhoods at the beginning of the 18th century. Prominent families lived in elegant brick and marble-faced row houses and mansions. The area lost its glamour in the 1840s when Fifth Avenue became more desirable and commercial buildings began to replace row houses. The diversity of buildings in NoHo, the mix of residential and industrial buildings, reflects the economic, social and technological transformation of New York in the 19th century.
When we became involved with the project, the framework for the site had already been established. The building’s use, mass and volume had been negotiated with the City over several years. The task was to develop a design for 28 condominiums within strictly defined criteria.
Our idea was to stack two distinct typologies for living – the townhouse and the apartment block.
The five townhouses reintroduce the scale of the original lots. Each townhouse has a recessed entrance porch across its street frontage and a garden to the rear. The porch is separated from the street by a cast aluminium gate, which acts as a physical barrier as well as a visual screen. The gate is a collage of graffiti tags, which have been translated into the third dimension with the help of a computer. The thickness of the strokes is defined according to material and thickness requirements of the casting process. The computer program optimises the density and distribution of the tags according to the structural requirements of the gate. The entrance lobby for the condominiums, a narrow, double-height cut, sits between townhouses Three and Four and connects the street with a small communal garden at the back.
The apartment block is stacked above the townhouses and forms a bracket across the entire width of the site. Its design is a reinvention of the cast-iron building found through NoHo and SoHo. The structure of the building is pushed to the exterior and follows the grid of the large floor-to-ceiling window bays. This introduces a depth to the facade on the exterior and liberates the interior from freestanding columns. Slab and column are clad with gently curved glass covers, which wrap over the structure and can be read as a continuation of the windowpanes. On the one hand the skeleton and bones of the building are expressed, on the other they melt into the glass surface of the window bays and dissolve in a play of translucency, light and reflection. The colour of the building is the colour of glass, with its many shades of green, which depend on light, viewing angle, thickness and layering of the glass.
In the interior, many of the master bathrooms have large windows to the exterior and are organised in narrow and tall bays, reminiscent of the New York lot. Sinks, shower and bathtub are partly embedded in the walls to create intimate, embracing niches. The separation of dry and wet areas and the selection of wood and corian as the finish for each emphasise and enhance the specific use.
Herzog & de Meuron, 2006
Translation by Catherine Schelbert
Once an exclusive residential area in the nineteenth century, Bond Street in Lower Manhattan has had a colorful history, which is reflected today in its mixture of everything from townhouses to loft buildings.
The design combines two local typologies: five townhouses occupy the lower two floors, above which there are eight floors of apartments; the structure of the building is pushed to the outside and defines a striking facade of large panes of glass.
Rounded glass cladding conceals the externalized slabs and columns that remove the need for internal columns.
Models are created to develop the glass cladding for the support structure. Copper is used on the rear facade.
The width of the glass panes is determined by internal functions; their variety adds rhythm to the grid.
The architects continue the language of curves in their design for the interiors: curved stairways, bath niches and ceiling cut-outs relate to the curves of the human body.
Three-dimensional grids developed from graffiti patterns allude to New York’s tradition of ornamentation.
Models of the ornamental patterns that are seen again in the lobby in metal, wood, and concrete.
The finished building makes a strong statement but also fits into the neighborhood.
Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: “Herzog & de Meuron 2002-2004. Das Gesamtwerk. Band 5.” Edited by: Gerhard Mack. Basel, Birkhäuser, 2020.
Also published in English: “Herzog & de Meuron 2002-2004. The Complete Works. Volume 5.” Birkhäuser, 2020.
Luis Fernández-Galiano (Ed.): “Arquitectura Viva Monografías. Herzog & de Meuron 2005-2013.” Vol. No. 157/158, Madrid, Arquitectura Viva SL, 09.2012.
Fernando Márquez Cecilia; Richard Levene (Eds.): “El Croquis. Herzog & de Meuron 2005-2010. Programme, Monument, Landscape. Programa, Monumento, Paisaje.” Vol. No. 152/153, Madrid, El Croquis, 2010.
Paul Kuitenbrouwer: “Herzog & de Meuron: 40 Bond, New York.” In: Eelco van Welie (Ed.). “DASH Delft Architectural Studies on Housing. The Luxury City Apartment. Het Luxe Stadsappartement.” Rotterdam, NAi, 2009. pp. 60-67
Herzog & de Meuron. “40 Bond, Apartment Building.” In: “Materia.” Vol. No. 58, Milan, Frederico Motta Editore, 06.2008. pp. 62-75.
Stefano Casciani: “Tags and the City.” In: “Domus. Contemporary Architecture, Interiors, Design, Art.” Vol. No. 910, Rozzano, Editoriale Domus S.p.A., 01.2008. pp. 92-99.
Luis Fernández-Galiano (Ed.): “Arquitectura Viva. Herzog & de Meuron 1978-2007.” 2nd rev. ed. Madrid, Arquitectura Viva, 2007.