Residential building brings a BIG Smile to New York
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has completed a new residential building in New York City. Named The Smile after its distinctive curving street-facing side, which looks a bit like a smile from a bird's eye view, the building contains a mixture of luxury housing, high-end amenities, and some affordable housing too.
The Smile is the second residential project by BIG to be completed in NYC following the remarkable West 57th Street. It was created in collaboration with Blumenfeld Development Group and is situated on 126th Street in Manhattan's East Harlem neighborhood. The building takes the overall form of a three-pronged Y-shaped structure stretching between two streets and partly cantilevering over an existing commercial building. It also draws some inspiration from the Moon, says BIG.
"Along 126th Street, the building's facade gently slopes inwards, deviating from the hard, linear street edge in an elegant gesture and forming its namesake curved 'smile' in bird's eye view," says the firm. "In turn, the curve allows the building form to be contained within the allowable zoning envelope, while giving the residential street more access to direct sunlight.
"The Smile's facade takes inspiration from the textured surface of the Moon, and blends with the black and red brick of the existing buildings in the neighborhood. Its windows mirror the same shape of those that characterize Harlem, while the blackened stainless-steel panels were handmade in Germany and produced by a combination of mechanical, chemical, and electro-chemical treatments that, without any lacquer, create a natural and durable surface."
Visitors to The Smile arrive in a colorful lobby inspired by Harlem's Puerto Rican and Caribbean-influenced culture and history, with wooden furniture shaped to mimic the curve of the building's form.
The 260,000-sq-ft (roughly 24,000-sq-m) interior contains a total of 233 residential units, with one third of the apartments reserved for affordable housing (we've no word on prices for the luxury homes but The Smile Affordable Housing website lists the cheapest studio apartments starting at US$1,023, per month). The interiors of the apartments themselves are designed with a minimal palette of warm wood and exposed concrete, and come with access to amenities like a gym, sauna and co-working spaces. There's also a six-story gallery and the rooftop terrace contains a swimming pool and three hot tubs, plus lounge areas and barbecues.
Despite all the disruption during 2020, BIG has still managed to put out a number of notable projects this year, including the superb Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet, The Village, BiodiverCity, and The Plus.