BIG unveils designs for The Spiral office tower in New York


Bjarke Ingels Group has released a conceptual design for its latest project in New York, an office skyscraper wrapped in a ribbon of green terraces (+ movie).

The Spiral by BIG

Called The Spiral, the 65-storey glass tower is slated to rise at 66 Hudson Boulevard, as part of the massive Hudson Yards mixed-use development that is now under construction on the west side of Manhattan.

The tower will cover a full block, stretching from West 34th Street to West 35th Street, and from 10th Avenue to Hudson Park. It will be located near the intersection of the High Line elevated park and the 1.6 hectare Hudson Boulevard Park.

The Spiral by BIG

Climbing 306 metres, the tower's design draws from both historic and contemporary design styles.

"The Spiral combines the classic ziggurat silhouette of the premodern skyscraper with the slender proportions and efficient layouts of the modern high-rise," said Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of BIG.

The Spiral by BIG

The tower's signature element is a series of landscaped terraces that ascend in a spiral, forming a continuous green pathway around the building and providing tenants with outdoor space.

"The Spiral will punctuate the northern end of the High Line, and the linear park will appear to carry through into the tower, forming an ascending ribbon of lively green spaces, extending the High Line to the skyline," said Ingels.

The Spiral by BIG

From the base to the pinnacle of the tower, every floor is designed to open up to the outdoors through "hanging gardens and cascading atria" that connect the open floor plates, Ingels added.

The tower will encompass 265,000 square metres. Amenities include double-height atria, expansive views of the city, and flexible layouts.

The Spiral by BIG

Floors can be opened up and adapted for tenants who want to occupy multiple stories. "This element offers an alternative to elevators, thus encouraging physical activity and enhanced interaction among colleagues," said the developer in a statement.

The building's six-storey podium will contain retail space totalling roughly 2,500 square metres, along with a large "amenity terrace" on the seventh floor. Ceiling heights in the building's lobby will reach nine metres.

The Spiral by BIG

Tishman Speyer, a global real estate firm, is backing the project. The firm's portfolio includes iconic New York projects such as the Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Center.

"Working with Bjarke Ingels and his team, we have designed a tower that offers stunning green spaces to all and will serve as a significant leap forward in the evolution of the modern, collaborative and sustainable workplace," said Rob Speyer, CEO and president of Tishman Speyer.

The Spiral by BIG

The developer added that the building site is within close proximity to major transit hubs, such as Penn Station, and is just steps away from a stop for a newly expanded 7 subway line.

The Spiral by BIG

The Hudson Yards development contains 2.4 million square metres of office space, 20,000 units of new housing, 185,000 square metres of retail space, and 278,000 square metres of hotels.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro and David Rockwell have designed a residential tower for the site. Kohn Pedersen Fox designed the master plan.

The Spiral by BIG

Hudson Yards is being constructed next to another major mixed-use development: Manhattan West, for which SOM has designed a trio of towers.

Danish firm BIG has unveiled a series of US projects since opening its New York office in 2010. Major projects in New York include the Two World Trade Center skyscraper in Lower Manhattan and the Via 57 apartment tower on Manhattan's West Side. The firm also just unveiled its design of a police station in the Bronx.

Beyond New York, the firm is working on the new Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, which it is designing with Thomas Heatherwick, an office tower in Philadelphia, and a primary school in Virginia, among other projects.

  • dkad

    Yikes, another terrible Hudson Yards design. This whole development is a dying ground of glassy watered-down concepts. An architectural embarrassment for NYC when so many progressive works are being built worldwide.

    Looking forward to the eventual exposure-caused tree death that turns this tower into its full banal self.

    • karl john

      I love the glassy tower itself. I DO NOT love trees and fauna on it. It should be a PURIST glass building.

      • Nameless

        If that was the case then it would not be as impressive. Glass on glass is so last century.

  • mik

    Christ! This guy really knows how to sell himself!

  • dre

    I hope he hires that video application guy, so they can make part two of this video: “Yo, listen up, we turn Highline into skyline… Yes is more, yeah bruh, that’s my line.”

  • John

    At first I thought this was the Trump tower.

  • When the video began on an image of the cosmos I actually laughed out loud. Impressive marketing video though. Normal people (non-architects) will love this.

    • Edward

      “Normal people will love this” – and that’s what makes BIG such a forward thinking office… They sell their work in a fashion that is easily understood and doesn’t need pretentious language used by a majority of architects today. Architecture needs to be more accessible, not only to clients who buy into the designs but to the “normal” people who actually experience them. No more “discourse”. More “discussion”.

      • Amen!

        • Nameless


  • Qui-Gon Gin

    A very dark moment for architecture. Narratives have replaced the art of architecture.

    • Archi-Nerd

      Narrative is a longstanding tradition in great architecture. The Primitive Hut, Villa Savoye and Le Corbusier’s five points of architecture, the Danteum and its connection to Dante’s Inferno. The links between the Deconstructivist movement and semiotics. It is important that he’s managed to link the tradition with skyscrapers.

      • Jørn U

        I think you’re missing the point. The narratives and historical connections presented are quiet good and somehow understandable. But the design, especially in comparison with the impressing and overwhelming narratives, is poor – like really poor.

        I neither feel the spiral galaxy has landed in NY or any significant traces from the Art Deco setback prototype. I only see a quiet dull curtain-wall building, representing no ambition for the built environment. And to me that’s a sad kind of architecture.

        Immaterial things are not in itself architecture, neither should it be used to cover up a horrible architectural design. Immaterial phenomena, such as narratives, feelings and inspiration, automatically occur with great multifaceted architecture. The narrative about a scheme, should never be more impressing than the actual architectural product, as it is in this case.

        • Archi-Nerd

          Remember that this is something that may ACTUALLY be built, and not a crazy thesis project. There is a budget and a client that has more power than the architect. There’s the fact that skyscrapers are the most expensive building types and NYC is one of the most expensive place to build. I think people are being overly critical of this particular project.

    • Ian

      Are you kidding? Narrative is the art of architecture.

      • Jake

        Narrative is part of the poetics of good architecture. It isn’t “the art” of architecture. That’s reductionist and probably the reason Qui made the comment.

    • Edward

      What is architecture without narrative? Meaningless spaces.

  • Pat A.

    Wow, I’m amazed that the design media’s it-boy makes Donald Trump’s built work look tasteful.

  • Eames Aguilar

    BIG represents a total breakdown of the architecture/media relationship, revealing how money has filled in the vacuum of criticism. No architecture critics will go near the obvious. Why?

  • ombe

    This is just a poor version of Ole Scheeren’s tower in Bangkok.

  • chris

    I’m sorry but what a lame concept that is even worse than Two World Trade Center. The reality is the gardens will be unusable and windswept. I can’t see how this video will win anyone over unless you are susceptible to gullibility.

    • Randy Moss

      You do realise that there are tons of rooftop bars and patios in buildings all over Manhattan and Brooklyn, right? All are useable.

    • W. Sose

      Is it possible to trump the awfulness of BIG’s Two World Trade Center? Didn’t think so. But this one is trying hard.

      RE: the wind problem. I’m not sure about this location, but the Two World Trade Center building is located in a three-way wind churn: wind channels down the East River and the Hudson, plus the wind coming off the ocean. Remember how the old WTC used to sway in the wind even on sunny days? And on a stormy day!

      The three wind channels come together and make for very turbulent and powerful gusts that whip around all those buildings. With BIG’s extensive open terraces all the way up to the top level, people venturing out will be airborne over New Jersey before they know what happened to them. Sadly, another example of BIG’s windy mind.

  • Meme

    I say I like it a lot. BIG’s Two World Trade Center tower never convinced me but this I love. I hope it will be executed well.

  • Leonardo

    The fact that we are finally reaching the rock bottom is a good thing. This means that in the near future we will have a good architecture time, as the cycle indicates.

  • Eric B

    Speechless, in a bad way.

  • Kevin

    This is how it will be after the green gardens are removed from the design for being not feasible and too expensive. Picture: Viñoly Tower, Amsterdam.

  • jbech

    I like it. Yes, there’s a lot of glass, like any other skyscraper of our time. But the idea of enhancing the vertical connections inside the building (as well as outside on a more conceptual level) is nice. And “high line to sky line” is just a very catchy concept that seems to fit well into the context.

  • Nikola Stakinov

    This looks like MahaNakhon Tower in Bangkok designed by Ole Sheeren. Bjarke could be little more original than this.

  • Doubtful Dodger

    This design might represent the future of New York’s skyline. It needs to be greener and cleaner. I like it.

  • cl

    Another similar proposal for Hudson Yards by SHoP Architects in 2007.

  • Sad tree

    Why is everyone putting trees/greenery on skyscrapers/roofs? So just the rich people can enjoy these spaces? They are turning parks into something private. I don’t wan’t to even talk about the technical aspects. Very sad.

    • Chris

      Yeah it’s a pity there aren’t any green spaces in New York for the general public to utilise. Oh wait…

    • Nameless

      Parks future is to be private. We are soon to be an overcrowded civilisation. Relaxation is already a privilege of the rich as is the coast, the clean air, open spaces and the water. We live in dystopia created by our own disdain in our shared future. As architects the world today is our fault.

  • spadestick

    More like candy cane than a spiral.

  • ivan.capitani

    Isn’t calling a spiral something that is basically square a bit of a stretch?

  • SB

    They should have just adopted the Chicago Spire plans. It’s a great building that never will be. This square block is just a square block with some trees poking out of it. Not the end of the world, but not going to make anyone jump for joy.

  • dbz123

    So many people drinking the hater-ade! I can only dream that one day I can have a firm that has such projects. Good for him!

  • ArchiMAD

    It’s an inventive concept based on present architecture (not futuristic in a way), with a both-feet-on-the ground economical aspect, I guess.

    The fact he can explain and sell his concept with a 1:59 minute film makes the company and him smart and lucrative. I do agree with some of the remarks about the functionality, durability and maintenance of plants on extreme weather (height) conditions, but it doesn’t really undermine the general concept; even if the height of the glass railing has to become two metres it will still remain a breathtaking view.

  • Sharon

    Innovation is always mocked by middle management, and mid-weight minds.

  • CC

    Roger Ferri, Spiral Tower, 1984. Welp.

  • Ricky SAmbora

    If you’re going to have greenery on a building, please do it right.

  • Nameless

    I bet the creative meeting for the zigurath went something like: I give you a golden idol! kneel before your god! Or something like that.

  • Onboard

    Do you really need to be some Ameridanish quasi-David Attenborough to sell design these days? Don’t bring the universe into this!