Manhattan’s strict zoning law moulds 53 West 53’s needlelike tower shape designed by Jean Nouvel Architects

Manhattan’s strict zoning law moulds 53 West 53’s needlelike tower shape designed by Jean Nouvel Architects

3 Apr 2020 News

Jean Nouvel designed a tower that respects the zoning envelope to the point that it shapes the exact receding volume of the tower. The diagrid structure of the 1050 feet (320 meters) slender tower follows the simplest and most economical geometry.

Giles Ashford 

High-strength concrete and reinforced steel was used to create a shear-wall core, where the facade plays an important structural role. Jean Nouvel wanted the facade to express the building’s structure underneath.

Giles Ashford 

“Normally we are the ones dictating where the columns go but this was the opposite,” explains Gustavo Oliveira, vice president at structural engineers WSP in New York. “We couldn’t add diagrids in, we had to mimic what was on the façade, so it was an iterative process with the architect. We had never approached a building that way before.”

Giles Ashford 

The cleverly engineered 82 storeys envelope allowed for apartments without interior columns. The interior spaces are designed by Thierry Despont. AAI Architects and SLCE Architects function as architects of record.

Stephen Kent Johnson

Unit 36B and 36C are model 2 and 3 bedroom residences by Andre Fu and Roman & Williams. Prices range from 3.6 million dollars to over 70 million.

The complexity of the structure resulted in a construction time of five years. Around double the time of a project with a similar size. The building was completed late 2019 and residents started moving into the first apartments. 

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