Instagram photos reveal impact of Viñoly’s super-tall skyscraper on New York skyline

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Instagram users have captured dramatic images of 432 Park Avenue, the super-tall tower in Manhattan by Rafael Viñoly Architects that is set to open this year.

Rising 1,396 feet (425 metres), the skyscraper is regarded as the tallest residential building in the western hemisphere. If measured based on roof height, it is the tallest building in New York, surpassing SOM's One World Trade Center by 28 feet (8.5 metres).

The rectilinear 96-storey skyscraper, which features a gridded concrete facade, was designed by New York-based Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly and is being developed by Macklowe Properties and CIM Group.

A photo posted by Dee Age (@dee_age) on

Construction began in 2011 and is nearly finished, with hoists expected to be removed within the next few months. An official opening date has not yet been announced, although sources say it will occur this year.

The tower's first condominium, located on the 35th floor, was sold in late December for $18 million (£12 million). The sale prompted the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat to declare the tower complete.



"The CTBUH officially confirmed 432 Park Avenue's completion date to be December 23, 2015, as this was when the first owners closed on their residences and the building met CTBUH's final criteria for completion – that the building be at least partially occupiable," the Chicago-based organisation stated, noting that there are now 100 completed super-tall buildings around the world.

The sale of all 104 units within 432 Park Avenue is expected to total $3.1 billion (£2.1 billion), which would set a record for New York City, according to Curbed.

Located near Central Park, the tower rises up from Park Avenue, between 56th and 57th Streets. Its perfectly square footprint extends all the way to the top, with each side of the tower measuring 93 feet (28 metres) and each floor plate measuring 8,650 square feet (803 square metres).

The tower has an exposed concrete structural frame, which enables column-free interiors. Several open floors enable wind to pass through the building.

Viñoly has said the design — specifically, the grid-like facade – was partly inspired by a metal trash bin designed by the Austrian architect Josef Hoffmann.

He has also said the big idea, or "parti", is simply that the building is a skyscraper.

"I always thought that this was a building type that came without the agony of trying to find the parti because it's a parti in and of itself," said Viñoly during a 2014 lecture in New York.

A photo posted by Jacob Stetson (@jacobgstetson) on

Inside, the tower offers amenities totaling 30,000 square feet (2,780 square metres), including a screening room, a billiards room, an indoor pool, a spa, a restaurant and a tree-filled plaza.

Images show a sleek lobby with marble and wood finishes, and a porte cochere covered with a glass canopy.

A photo posted by Jason Rihaly (@jrihaly) on

The condo units – described as "Palladian-proportioned spaces" – feature ceiling heights of over 12 feet (3.6 metres) and 10 by 10 foot windows (three by three metres).

The tower offers "the grand experience of estate living — in the sky", said the developer.

A number of design firms are involved in the project. New York-based SLCE Architects is serving as executive architect, and interior design is being overseen by Deborah Berke Partners, Bentel & Bentel, Lilla J Smith and Viñoly.

Zion Breen Richardson Associates is providing landscape design service, and Handel Architects was the masterplanner.

The Drake Hotel, a historic 21-storey tower dating to 1926, was demolished to make way for the super-tall tower.

Construction was temporarily halted in January 2015 due to a complaint about falling construction material, as Dezeen reported. A 2.5-metre pipe reportedly dropped from a hoist on the 81st floor of the tower and landed in the street. Nobody was injured, and construction resumed following an inspection by the city.

A photo posted by @cabenter1 on

432 Park Avenue is one of several skinny skyscrapers now rising in central Manhattan, ranging from a skinny skyscraper by Foster + Partners to a rash of super-tall towers that have sparked protests due to the long shadows they cast over Central Park.

In a piece for Dezeen, architect Steven Holl said that "architecture with a sense of social purpose is becoming increasingly rare". Dezeen columnist Aaron Betsky has also said that the towers are part of Manhattan's transformation into a Capitalist holy land with no space for the poor.

  • Jonathan Ortegat

    More pictures to decorate the post!

  • Concerned Citizen

    Have to admit, though, it’s an incredibly boring building.

    • jerstam

      One concerned citizen’s bore is another’s beauty. I’ve always loved it.

    • Meme

      For me it is a very exciting building, but it doesn’t fit its surroundings.

  • Kate

    Yeah, that is ridiculous…

  • “A historic 21-storey tower…” Story?

    • Hi Kaleb,

      “Storey” is the spelling in British English, which we use in all Dezeen articles.

      Hope this clarifies!

      Dan

      • Ahh very cool, I didn’t even think to check. Thank you for responding and letting me know!

        • Thomas

          Yeah…

  • Steffen

    If they had cut the top third of it, it would have looked more harmonic with the surroundings.

    • amsam

      a) but then it wouldn’t have got built.
      b) there is nothing harmonic about NYC architecture to begin with.

  • DWLindeman

    From a distance, eg Union City, NJ, this building looks like a giant smoke stack. For now, it stands very much alone, and so is a startling image. Will it ever be joined by fellow skyscrapers that could soften its profile on the skyline?

    • Guest

      Call me an old cynic, but it’s my impression that the last thing Mr Vinoly would want is for this building’s profile to be softened.

      • DWLindeman

        In which case, some neighbourhoods in Manhattan will end up looking like San Gimignano, but without the charm.

  • spadestick

    This is Viñoly’s redeeming project after the Carbuncle debacle.

  • Kay

    I love it, I find its simplicity refreshing and its boldness inspiring. What I can’t get over is the demolition of The Drake, a really beautiful and elegant early 20th century Art Deco structure.

  • Wayne McCutcheon

    Does that mean the average selling price was $30 million (3.1 million/104 units)?

  • D. Pispilis

    To add more to the album. :-)

  • beinbaumler

    Marvellous building, but it should have been built by the original Max Dudler.

  • IDRACULA

    New York has lost its edge… It’s a boring, crowded place.

  • X

    This is a masterpiece!

  • Jimmy James

    Been watching that building rise over the years. Absolute eyesore. I’m sure it is much prettier on the inside!

  • Todd Larson

    “Masterpiece,” nothing. It resembles nothing more than a stack-up of fireplace-matchstick boxes, and it sticks out like a sore thumb on the New York skyline, commanding too much attention but offering no dignified architectural statement in return.

    It will never equal the iconic distinction of the Chrysler Building or the Empire State Building, the way it recalls the boxy blandness of the old World Trade Center towers—with even less of a sense of verticality, courtesy of its tic-tac-toe fenestration.

    In short, it’s as trashy as the trash bin that inspired it. The Drake Hotel it replaced contributed much more to the neighbourhood with its roaring-’20s refinement. Even if I could afford one of 432 Park Avenue’s high-end condos, I’d be too scared to live up so high.

  • James Thomas

    Do such buildings have any renewable energy, water recycling, hydroponic gardens, etc?

    • Ralph Kent

      Hydroponic gardens! What a joke they are.

    • You’re just missing the regulation number of trees mandated by the commission for sustainable renderings.

  • Ralph Kent

    Do any of us care what these type of commissions represent? Who are they for? This is the celebration of safe-deposit, buy-to-leave plutocracy. I’m not completely comfortable with that, regardless of how elegant the edifice might appear.

  • jewsrapebabys

    It is looking good. Too bad One World Trade Center looks like doo doo. They should have rebuilt the Twin Towers. What a mistake that was to build such an ugly building.

  • brooklyndesigner

    I walk by this building a few times a week. You need to see it in person. It is obnoxious and I personally hate it. It’s like a big middle finger to the city.

  • Beautyon

    Spaces in New York are privately owned, and their owners can do whatever they like with their property. They can demolish “iconic” buildings and replace them with an “eyesore” and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

    That is why it is one of the greatest cities on earth; property rights are less restricted in New York than in other cities, which look more like museums in some parts than places where humans actually live as humans and not caretakers or characters in a film.

    Someone here said that this building is an insult to New York. New York is not a living person, and a building can’t insult it. Also, these strange ideas that the infinitely abstract skyline is a public resource collectively owned by “the people” to be preserved is a completely absurd idea.

    Cities where this idea is law contain buildings that shoot out rays of distortion, preventing new buildings from emerging in line with the needs of their owners.

    If we were to take the strange opinions of today’s architecture fans and superimpose them on the New York of 1800, there would be no skyscrapers at all, because everyone would reject “tall”, “ugly” buildings. Look at these photos of New York:

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/old-photos-of-new-york-city-in-the-1800s-with-google-street-view-2015-9?r=US&IR=T

    This is exactly the sort of thing preservation orders and UK style “Planning Permission” would save intact. Free countries do not have such restrictions, and the result is an incredibly prosperous, dynamic and adventurous spirit of property owners, architects and developers who serve the market.

    New York is the greatest city precisely because people can do what they want with their own property to a large extent. Mawkish sentimentality is not the biggest factor in what goes up in New York, and that is an entirely good thing.

  • David Gillen

    I just read the other day that your chances of surviving a heart attack decreases dramatically if you live above the 7th floor in a building. Whether you like the architecture or not, this building will thin the herd.

  • Claudia Farris

    I think the Viñoly building is a tragedy for the NYC skyline, and particularly the once clean and symmetrical perspective down Park Avenue.

    As a native New Yorker, I am still in shock that this was built. How could this building have happened?

  • Chrigid

    I can see this from every room in my apartment. As it grew, I went from anger to mockery to actually liking it, possibly because its surroundings are trying too hard to prove they mean something beyond real estate. I do wish the building still had the aqua lights that ran up and down its facades at night during construction.

  • DWLindeman

    Some further thoughts on this building. To begin with, Claudia Farris’ observation on this thread that it interferes with the symmetrical perspective down Park Avenue is acute, it does, and this is quite unfortunate.

    Viñoly’s inscrutable design for 432’s facade makes it virtually impossible to read unless a contextualised prospect becomes available. What sort of design statement is this? That is, when some frame provides itself, eg from Central Park, it’s possible to judge how tall the building is, ie, taller than the Empire State Building, etc.

    But, when such frame isn’t there, and this occurs a lot as I walk around Manhattan, it becomes a surreal object, and its height cannot be adequately judged at all. This is a serious flaw for the design without doubt. Subtle adjustment of the window proportions going up (not unlike the principle of entasis, albeit retaining orthogonals) might have helped.

    And regarding another of these super-tall buildings: Christian de Portzamparc’s One57 is an even worse building. It’s featureless, opaque curtain wall gives it the aspect of a telephone switching-station and so it announces claustrophobic reactions. Only once has de Portzamparc’s “waterfall effect” for the facade ever become apparent to me.

  • Matt

    It’s ugly. I’m surprised it ever got approved, let alone built.