Herzog & de Meuron
Project
2006-2008, 2012-2017
Realization
2008, 2012-2017

The high-rise tower is an important ingredient within the contemporary city. However, towers have come to be defined solely by their height and, as a type, they have become anonymous. Typical residential towers, while successful in aggregating the living unit, often fail to improve upon the living environment. The multiplication of units within simple extruded shapes produces repetitive and anonymous structures with no extra benefits or architectural qualities despite the incredible densities they achieve. For those who live in these structures, this experience of sameness and repetition can be relatively unpleasant. 56 Leonard Street acts against this anonymity and repetitiveness, emanating from so many towers of the recent past. Its ambition is to achieve, despite its size, a character that is individual and personal, perhaps even intimate.

The project is conceived as a stack of individual rooms, where each room is unique and identifiable within the overall stack. A careful investigation of local construction methods revealed the possibility of shifting and varying floor-slabs to create corners, cantilevers and balconies – all welcome strategies for providing individual and different conditions in each apartment. At the base of the tower, the stack reacts to the scale and specific local conditions on the street, while the top staggers and shifts to engage with the sky. In-between, the staggering and variation in the middle-levels is more controlled and subtle, like in a column shaft.

To break-up the tendency towards repetition and anonymity in high-rise buildings, 56 Leonard Street was developed from the inside out. The project began with individual rooms, treating them as “blocks of glass” grouped together on a floor-by-floor basis. These blocks come together to directly inform the volume and to shape the outside of the tower. From the interior the experience of these blocks is like stepping into a series of large bay windows.

The strategy of stacking rooms also happens in section, creating a large number of terraces and projecting balconies. While careful to avoid directly overlooking a neighbouring apartment, these outdoor spaces provide indirect visual links between people – maybe strangers – who share the building. Aggregated together, these houses-in-the-sky, form a cohesive stack, a vertical neighbourhood, somewhat akin to New York’s specific neighbourhoods with their distinctive mix of proximity and privacy in equal measure.

The top of any tower is its most visible element and, in keeping with this, the top of 56 Leonard Street is the most expressive part of the project and relates to the tradition of iconic tower tops in New York City. This expressiveness is driven directly by the requirements of the interior, consisting of ten large-scale penthouses with expansive outdoor spaces and spacious living areas. These large program components register on the exterior as large-scale blocks, cantilevering and shifting according to internal configurations and the desire to capture specific views that ultimately result in the sculptural expression of the top.

Meanwhile, the base of the tower responds to the special character of Tribeca. This is a part of New York characterized by a wide range of building scales – from small townhouses to large industrial blocks and the ubiquitous high-rise buildings of downtown. By grouping together blocks of various sizes, including lobby, parking deck, housing amenities and a few apartments, the tower reflects and incorporates each of these neighborhood scales.

The overall appearance of the tower is very much a result of accepting and pushing to the limit simple and familiar local methods of construction. As a volume, the building has extreme proportions – at the very edge of what is structurally possible – and given its relatively small footprint, is exceptionally tall and slender. The building also shows its structural ‘bones’ and does not hide the method of its fabrication underneath layers of cladding. Instead, exposed horizontal concrete slabs register the floor-by-floor stacking of the construction process and exposed in-situ concrete columns allow the scale of the structural forces at work to be experienced from within the interior. The system of staggering and stacking is further animated through operable windows in every second- or third- façade unit. This unusual feature for high-rise buildings also allows occupants to directly control fresh air intake.

Together these different strategies – considering the tower from the inside-out, responding to local scales, and maximizing the potential of local construction systems – produce a building where only five out of the 145 apartments are repeated, giving those who will live in this project their own unique home characterized by distinct moments of individuality within the overall stack.

Herzog & de Meuron, 2016

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Process

A residential tower in Lower Manhattan features three zones in response to the architecture and street grid of the neighborhood.

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The units are a composite of rooms typical of New York real estate and are grouped like pixels around a central core. The mix generates individual apartments and stories. The combination of different types of units and precisely planned setbacks heightens the sense of perspective from the outside.

Studies for the shape and surface structure of the tower: from a square to an oval ground plan.

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Variations on stacked volumes. The base of the building contains general uses and relates to passers-by; a sculpture by Anish Kapoor commands the open space next to the lobby.

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The apartments are like homes in the sky, reminiscent of modernist villas. Variations in the layout of the stories allow for spacious terraces and facades set back from the
slab edges.

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Studies for the material of the ceilings. Custom-designed kitchen, living area with fireplace, and bathroom.

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The detailing of stairs and interiors echoes the oval shape of the transfer columns.

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The residential tower in its urban context.

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Drawings

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Team

Facts

Client
Alexico Group
Planning
This project was developed in collaboration with an architect licensed in the state of New York acting as the "Architect of Record". Herzog & de Meuron is not licensed to practice architecture in New York State.
Design Consultant : Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, Switzerland
Executive Architect: Goldstein, Hill & West Architects LLP, New York, USA
Construction Management: Lend Lease, New York, USA
Mechanical Engineering: Cosentini Associates, New York, USA
Structural Engineering: WSP Cantor Seinuk, New York, USA
Specialist / Consulting
Acoustics Consulting: Shem Wilsom & Wilke, LLC, New York, NY, USA
Building Code Consulting: Construction Consultant Associates, New York, NY, USA
Concrete Consulting: Reginald Hough Associates, LLC, New York, NY, USA
Concrete Consulting: Reginald D. Hough, Rhinebeck, NY, USA
Crane Engineer: Howard I. Shapiro Associates, Lynbrook, NY , USA
Crane Inspector: Enso Crane Services, Kittery, ME, USA
Energy Consulting (Schematic Design - Construction Documents): Veridian Energy & Environmental LLC, Norwalk, CT, USA
Facade Consulting: Gordon H Smith Corporation, New York, NY, USA
Geotechnic Consulting: Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, New York, NY, USA
Gym Consulting: The Wright Fit, Inc., New York, NY, USA
Lighting Consulting: Schwinghammer Lighting LLC, New York, NY, USA
Hardware Consulting: Glezen Fisher Group LLC, Campbell Hall, NY, USA
LEED Enhanced Commissioning Consultant (Concept Study)): Vidaris, Inc., Norwalk, NY, USA
Parking Consulting: Philip Habib & Associates, New York, NY, USA
Pool Consulting - Trace Pool Design: A Division of Lothrop Assoicates LLP, White Plains, NY, USA
Stone Consulting: Swenson Stone Consultants, Ltd, Hanover, NH, USA
Surveyor: New York Land Surveyors, PC, Staten Island, NY, USA
Testing & Inspection Company: FTC-Future Tech Consultants, Mineola, NY, USA
Testing and Inspection for Crane Pad: Twenty/Twenty Engineering, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Theater Consulting: TK Theaters, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Vertical Circulation Consulting: Jenkins & Huntington, Avon, CT, USA
Waterproofing Consulting (Sub Consultant for Heintges): Henshell and Buccellato, Shrewberry, NJ, USA
Wind Tunnel & Slosh Tank Consultant: Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc., Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Window Washing Consulting: Entek Engineering, PLLC, Hackensack, NJ, USA
Wood Floor Consulting: Janos P. Spitzer Flooring Consultants Inc, New York, NY, USA
Contractors
Electrical Installations: Livingston Electric Associated, I, Flushing, USA
Lifts: Schindler Elevator Corporation, New York, USA
Plumbing Works: Almar Plumbing & Heating Corporation, Hicksville, USA
Terrazzo: Port Morris Tile & Marble Corp
Appliance Supplier: PC Richard & Son L.I. Corp, Farmingdale, USA
Electrical Installations: Con Edison Vault - Civetta Cousins, Bronx, USA
Concrete Works (Concept Study): Sorbara Construction Corp, Lynbrook, USA
Concrete Works: Collavino Construction Compan, Northport, USA
Coring: United Drilling & Cutting Corp., Woodside, USA
Drywall: Pabco Construction Corp, Farmingdale, USA
Fire Protection (Concept Study): Federated Fire Protection, Bronx, USA
Fire Protection (Concept Study): RAEL Automatic Sprinkler Company, Inc., New Hyde Park, USA
Hoist & Bridge: Atlantic Hoist & Scaffold, Carlstadt, USA
Hollow Metal Hardware: Long Island Fireproof Door, Flushing, USA
Kitchen Fittings and Equipment: Molteni, IT, Milan, Italia
Lighting Fixtures: Maison Lucien Gau, Paris, France
Lighting Fixtures: PND, Brooklyn, USA
Maintenance Rig: R&R Scaffolding, Ltd, Moonachie, NJ, USA
Masonry: Signature Restoration Services LLC, Bronx, NY, USA
Mechanical: R&S United Services, Inc., Amityville, NY, USA
Millwork: Patella Woodworking, Orangeburg, NY, USA
Millwork: Conway Hardwood Products LLC, Gaylordsville, CT, USA
Miscelleanous Metal: MENT Brothers Iron Works Co, New York, NY, USA
Miscelleanous Metal 'A' Package: Post Road Iron Works, Inc., Greenwich, CT, USA
Ornamental Metal: Coordinated Metals Inc., Carlstadt, NJ, USA
Internal Paint and Lacquer : Spectrum Painting Contractors, Scarsdale, NY, USA
Precast Concrete Elements: Get Real Surfaces, Inc., Poughkeepsie, NY, USA
Roofing & Waterproofing: KJC Inc., Dumont, NY, USA
Roofing/ Waterproofing/ Temporary Roofing: Eagle One Roofing Contractors Inc., Astoria, NY, USA
Safety: Construction & Realty Safety Group, New York, NY, USA
Stone and Tile: V.A.L. Floors, Inc., Carlstadt, NJ, USA
Shower Door: Jerome Aluminum Products Corp., Westbury, NY , USA
Swimming Pool: Bradford Products, Riverside, CT, USA
Trash Chutes & Fireplaces: Action Chutes, Patterson, NY, USA
Testing & Balancing: Northern Test & Balance Corporation, Redding Ridge, CT, USA
Aluminum Window Wall: Enclos Corp, New York, USA
Wood Floor Supplier: RQ Floors Corp , Ridgefield, NJ, USA
Wood Flooring and Carpet Contractor: Resource New Jersey , Denville, NJ, USA
Special Collaborators
Public Art Work: Anish Kapoor, London, UK
Building Data
Site Area: 12'508 sqft, 1'162 sqm
Gross floor area (GFA): 487'508 sqft, 45'291 sqm
Number of levels: 57
Footprint: 10'656 sqft, 989 sqm
Length: 125 ft, 38 m
Width: 100 ft, 30 m
Height: 831 ft, 253 m
Facade surface: 328'000 sqft, 30'472 sqm
Links
www.56leonardtribeca.com

Bibliography

Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: “Herzog & de Meuron 2005-2007. The Complete Works. Volume 6.” Edited by: Gerhard Mack. Basel, Birkhäuser, 2018.

Luis Fernández-Galiano (Ed.): “Arquitectura Viva Monografias. Herzog & de Meuron 2013-2017.” Vol. No. 191-192, Madrid, Arquitectura Viva SL, 12.2016.

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.

“56 Leonard Street by Herzog & de Meuron.” In: Nobuyuki Yoshida (Ed.). “Architecture and Urbanism. Dwelling and the Land.” Vol. No. 458, Tokyo, A+U Publishing Co., Ltd., 11.2008. p. 7.

Edwin Heathcote: “New Start for an Urban Forum.” In: Lionel Barber (Ed.). “Financial Times.” London, The Financial Times Ltd., 17.09.2008. p. 13.

“Una Pila de Casas de Herzog & de Meuron en Tribeca.” In: Luis Fernández-Galiano (Ed.). “Arquitectura Viva.” Vol. No. 120, Madrid, Arquitectura Viva, 2008. p. 13.

Location