Foster's skinny skyscraper underway
beside Mies' Seagram Building

| 7 comments

Foster's skinny skyscraper underway beside Mies' Seagram Building

News: construction has finally begun on a 216-metre skinny skyscraper designed by Foster + Partners for a site next door to Mies van der Rohe's Seagram Building in New York.

Foster + Partners first unveiled plans to build the residential tower at 610 Lexington Avenue in 2005, but was stalled by the 2008 recession. Replacing the old YWCA building, the 61-storey structure will sit alongside Mies van der Rohe's 38-storey Seagram Building and SOM's 21-storey Lever House, both of which were completed in the 1950s.

Foster's skinny skyscraper underway beside Mies' Seagram Building

The building's slender shape is intended by the architects to capture "Mies's philosophy of rationality, simplicity and clarity", and will feature a sheer glass facade that will stand in contrast to the dark bronze exterior of the Seagram.

"It's not simply about our new building, but about the composition it creates together with one of the twentieth century's greatest," said Foster + Partners architect Chris Connell. "In contrast to Seagram's dark bronze, our tower will have a pure white, undulating skin. Its proportions are almost impossibly slim and the views will be just incredible."

Foster's skinny skyscraper underway beside Mies' Seagram Building

A total of 91 apartments will occupy the tower, with many taking up entire floors, while a glazed atrium will connect the residences with a smaller building accommodating a bar and restaurant, as well as a spa and swimming pool facility.

Connell added: "Simplicity of design is often the hardest thing to achieve but in a sophisticated marketplace, people appreciate the timeless beauty that comes from it. Our design philosophy has always extended through the entire building and we will look to create interiors that blend seamlessly with the exterior approach."

Construction is set to complete by the winter of 2017. Approximately 2000-square-metres of the building will be allocated as commercial space.

Foster's skinny skyscraper underway beside Mies' Seagram Building

Images are by Hayes Davidson.

Here's the original project description from Foster + Partners:


610 Lexington Avenue
New York City, USA 2005

This 61-storey residential tower at 610 Lexington Avenue continues the practice’s investigations into the nature of the tall building in New York, exploring the dynamic between the city and its skyline. Located on the corner of Lexington and 53rd Street, it replaces the old YWCA building in Midtown Manhattan. Formally, it responds to the precedent set by two neighbouring twentieth-century Modernist icons – SOM's 21-storey Lever House of 1952 and Mies van der Rohe's 38-storey Seagram Building of 1958. In the spirit of Mies's philosophy of rationality, simplicity and clarity, the tower has a slender, minimalist geometric form, designed to complement these distinguished neighbours.

The entrance is recessed beneath a canopy that sits harmoniously alongside the entrance and pavilion of the Seagram Building. The entry sequence continues on a single plane from the street to reveal a glazed atrium that joins the tower to a smaller building on the right. The smaller building houses a bar and restaurant, a spa and swimming pool, the tower contains lounge areas and apartment levels. From the floor of the atrium, the tower rises up like a soaring vertical blade, the view up creating a sense of drama and reinforcing the connection between the summit and the ground.

Some of the larger apartments occupy the entire floor area of the higher levels. The tower's slender form creates a narrow floor plate, allowing the interior spaces to be flooded with daylight and creating spectacular views across the city from every side. An innovative glazed skin wraps around the building, concealing the structural elements which are further masked beneath integrated shadow boxes. To preserve the smooth appearance of the facade, opening vents in the glazing flap discreetly inwards. The effect is a sheer envelope that shines in brilliant contrast to the dark bronze of the Seagram building.

  • Guest

    He does it again! Love it!

  • philippe b

    What ? No external diagrid?

  • Alan

    “My curtain wall penis is bigger than your curtain wall penis”

  • http://mathieuregnier.com Mathieu Régnier

    The project description seems to avoid a real problem behind the distinguished neighbours issue. What would Mies really think of the Foster project? The proposed building is extremely close to the iconic Seagram Building protected under the NRHP.

  • Concerned Citizen

    “continues the practice’s investigations into the nature of the tall building in New York, exploring the dynamic between the city and its skyline.”

    So he decided to make it indistinguishable from all the other New York skyscrapers.

  • micanichi

    #OLIGARCHITECTURE Super-thin Investment structures inhabited only by housekeepers and doormen. Owners nowhere to be seen.

  • Diogenes

    Why is he practicing a historicist revival style?