One can't help but admire the stylish designs for Bjarke Ingels' Two World Trade Center and The Spiral in New York, but a third from the firm is perhaps the most eye-catching of all. Perched at the side of the Hudson, Via 57 West is a dramatic slice of a building with a green oasis peeking out from its center.
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) describes Via 57 West as "a hybrid between the European perimeter block and a traditional Manhattan high-rise," explaining that it combines the "compactness and efficiency of a courtyard building with the airiness and the expansive views of a skyscraper."
The building covers an area of 80,000 sq m (861,000 sq ft) and three of its corners are pulled down low, giving it a striking pyramid-like shape that maximizes light to its residences and allows for views of the nearby river from its courtyard. BIG has used this variance in height to similar effect previously in its design for 79 & Park in Stockholm, Sweden.
The building's shape appears to change from different vantage points thanks to sloping sides, which also allow it to blend into the surrounding area from the low-rise buildings to the south of the building to the high-rise towers to its north and west.
Another major focus of the design is sustainability. Project developer the Durst Organization says Via 57 West is aimed at redefining green living by being respectful of nature and promoting the well-being of its residents. A little tenuously, it describes the building as being "centered around the four core elements of water, energy, air and earth." This is, however, a handy means of breaking down the building's sustainability credentials.
To begin with, the building is designed not only to minimize water usage, but to reuse water and to improve its quality. Each residence has efficient kitchen and bathroom plumbing fittings, along with an energy-efficient washer and dryer. Rainwater is collected for use where possible and an estimated 60,000 gal (273,000 l) of water will be recycled on-site every day. An on-site filtering system is used to clean water.
A variety of features are employed to minimize the building's energy use. In addition to energy-efficient appliances, digital, programmable thermostats and high-efficiency hybrid heat pump systems are also empolyed. There are roller shades and LED lighting in amenity areas and residences, with occupancy sensors for lighting in shared spaces.
Materials have been chosen to minimize off-gassing and to ensure low levels of volatile organic compounds, helping optimize the building's air quality. In addition, all residences are ventilated with fresh air.
Also, in terms of the materials, cradle-to-cradle certified products have been used, as well as responsibly forested wood. There will be a collection program for composting residents' organic waste and recycling for electronics, paper and plastic. Elsewhere, construction material packaging has been reused where possible and the stainless steel façade is fully recyclable.
The architecture of the building is said to incorporate "biophilic principles," which are aimed at connecting residents to nature so as to foster well-being. One such example of this is the 22,000-sq ft (2,044-sq m) courtyard, with native plants and 43 trees.
There are 709 apartments in total, with 178 different floor-plans to accommodate the varying needs of prospective residents. The apartments all have bay windows with floor-to-ceiling glazing to make the most of the views, and many have terraces.
Residents have access to lounges, a library, a party room, a screening room, a games room and a kids' playroom. There's a fitness center too, with a swimming pool, gym, wellness lounge, exercise studios, spin studio, sundeck, golf simulator and putting green and indoor half-court basketball.
A 24-hour concierge service, a package service and a dry cleaning service in the lobby are also available. An events program includes neighborhood outings, arts and crafts workshops, cooking demonstrations, conversations and readings, food and drink events and kids' classes.
Via 57 West's first tenants are expected to take up residence next month and the building is expect to be fully finished in the next few months.