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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.96 Santiago ago. 2017 

Works & projects

160 East 22 nd Street

s9 architecture


Normative urban instruments - such as setbacks, heights, etc. - define the maximum volume to be built on urban plots so as to ensure common good. With the chance of selling air rights, however, the incentive to trade the idle shares of a building’s volume becomes a way of subverting the law without affecting public space. This example shows how the combination of regulatory instruments and the compromise between private parties can completely define the form of a building.

Keywords: building; air rights; setbacks; regulation; New York

Source: © S9 Architecture / Miguel de Guzmán

Figure 1. 

Source: © S9 Architecture / Miguel de Guzmán

Figure 2. 

Source: © S9 Architecture / Miguel de Guzmán

Figure 3. 

Located in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan, 160 East 22nd Street is a 21-story, 84-unit condominium apartment building. In addition to luxury residences, the structure includes ground floor retail space.

The design is based on a modern interpretation of the elegant and timeless classic pre-war apartment buildings in the neighborhood. The limestone-clad building’s massing is sculpted to incorporate a 24’ (7.3 m) cantilever, and punctuated with alternating deep set fenestration pattern. The building’s cantilever was conceived to successfully integrate additional development rights purchased by the property, while the required setbacks were incorporated into the composition, allowing the top-level apartment units to enjoy access to terraces.

Source: © S9 Architecture / Miguel de Guzmán

Figure 4. 

As with the exterior design, the interior is comprised of classical proportions and contemporary character. A well-balanced variation of noble materials and details throughout the building creates a sleek style with a touch of luxury vintage, all executed by local craftsmen. Millwork details in the lobby and apartment units accentuate a sophisticated traditional touch, while the muted natural elements and white spaces stage the perfect backdrop for the owners’ eclectic styles.

Source: © S9 Architecture

Figure 5 Ground floor plan. Published scale 1: 250 

Source: © S9 Architecture

Figure 6 2nd to 5th floor plan. Published scale 1: 250 

Source: © S9 Architecture

Figure 7 6th and 7th floor plan. Published scale 1: 250 

Source: © S9 Architecture

Figure 8 8th to 14th floor plan. Published scale 1: 250 

Source: © S9 Architecture

Figure 9 15th and 20th floor plan. Published scale 1: 250 

Source: © S9 Architecture

Figure 10 16th to 19th floor plan. Published scale 1: 250 

Overall, 160 East 22nd Street’s design aims to blend classic contemporary lines with historic contextual influences, resolving complex vernacular New York City regulations, while meeting the fine aesthetic and pragmatic needs of its end users.

Source: © S9 Architecture

Figure 11 East and south elevations. Published scale 1: 500. 

Source: © S9 Architecture

Figure 12 West and north elevations. Published scale 1: 500. 

Source: © S9 Architecture / Justin Huang

Figure 13 

Source: © S9 Architecture / Justin Huang

Figure 14 

Source: © S9 Architecture / Justin Huang

Figure 15. 

160 East 22 nd Street

Architect: S9 Architecture

Location: 160 East 22nd Street, New York

Client: Toll Brothers City Living

Materials: Monolithic load-bearing brick

Finishings: Exposed concrete slabs and floors, black anodized aluminum windows

Built surface: 10,776 m2

Project year: 2011

Construction year: 2014

Source: © S9 Architecture

Figure 16 Section. Published scale 1: 500 

Source: © S9 Architecture / Miguel de Guzman

Figure 17. 

Calculated Cantilever

Marcelo López-Dinardi. Adjunct Assistant Professor, Barnard+Columbia Architecture, New York, usa

In the early 2000s a building in the Meatpacking district, the Porter House, took advantage of New York City’s buildings regulations to expand and overhang over and existing historic building. The cantilever operation was argued as material efficiency but also as a historic preservation strategy; it would cancel the possibility of building over the historic structure. That building was not only a smart joint venture between architecture and real estate, but one intervention that helped cast the transformation of nyc’s luxury residential market.

Modern, elegant, timeless, classic, luxury, vintage, local, sophisticated, traditional, noble, contemporary, sleek, historic and contextual, are all words used to describe the new residential - not housing - building in the 160 East 22nd Street of Manhattan. The building, learning and expanding on SHoP’s Meatpacking District building, took advantage of air-rights acquisition regulations to build more surface, more apartment units, and multiply the land’s footprint. The fifteen stories cantilever is not a heroic architectural achievement like that of early modernists, it’s not meant to be one; it is architecture been the product of spatial regulations in favor of square footage, not architectural innovation.

The building’s deep enclosure creates a stark homogenization of its exterior surface, a characteristic first developed in New York City’s corporate and financial skyscrapers, now expanded to every building type. The upside, it allows to have windows all around bringing more light to each unit. Unfortunately, the floor plan - a site for architectural achievement - loses its clarity subjected to an intricate core resulting from the agglomeration of spaces around it.

The building will, nevertheless, fulfill the end users’ desires, written, rendered and packaged in the building’s media as seen in Street Easy (the first result in a web search), and formalized in a broken address with 82 units in 21 stories. Its daily life will indeed be contextual, but contextual to New York City’s historic development of housing as a luxury and not as a right.

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