Block 176 Lot 26
By Carter B. Horsley
stunning, 57-story residential
condominium tower planned for 56 Leonard Street in TriBeCa was designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the architects of the
"Bird's Nest" stadium for the Olympics in 2008 in Beijing and 40 Bond Street
It is a
project by Alexico,
which is headed by Ivan Senbahar and Simon Elias, who in 2009
were completing their conversion of part of the Mark Hotel on
the northwest corner of Madison Avenue and 77th Street to residential
condominiums. Alexico was also the developers of 165 Charles
Street, a Richard Meier-designed apartment building on West Street.
Leonard Street project,
which was planned to contain 145 apartments, was put on hold in
2009 after the site was cleared and after the great fiscal crisis
of late 2008.
one of four spectacular
high-rise towers that were widely seen as significantly transforming
the Lower Manhattan skyline apart from whatever might eventually
be developed at Ground Zero. It is not far from another major
project that was put on hold at about the same time by Larry
a mixed-use tower at 30 Park Place just to the west of the Woolworth
Building at 233 Broadway. The Silverstein tower, which was planned
to contain a hotel and residential condominium apartments, was designed in Post-Modern style by Robert A. M. Stern. The
status of the very tall and very prominent 80 South Street tower
near the South Street Seaport and designed by Santiago Calatrava
has been in doubt even before the fiscal crisis as it consisted
of several four-story-high "houses" stacked vertically.
fourth major non-Ground
Zero tower in Lower Manhattan is 8 Spruce Street designed by Frank
O. Gehry as a rental apartment tower with a very shiny and rippling
stainless steel facade that will overlook City Hall and the Manhattan
approach to the Brooklyn Bridge. At one point in early 2009,
there were rumors that its construction might stop at only half
its planned height, but construction resumed on the project, which
will also have a school at its base.
other spectacular towers
in midtown - Jean Nouvel's 100 Eleventh Avenue in Chelsea, which
was topped out in 2009, and his asymmetrical tower just to the
west of the Museum of Modern Art on East 53rd Street, which received
its public approvals in 2009 but whose construction timetable
is uncertain - joined the four downtown projects in signaling
an exciting new era in the the city's skyscraper history.
acquired the 56 Leonard
Street site from the New York Law School and the new tower is planned
for the 12,500-square-foot site of the Mendik Law Library building
on the northeast corner of the block bounded by Church, Worth
and Leonard Streets and West Broadway. The school's property
was not included in a 1995 rezoning of the area.
& de Meuron's design
for 40 Bond Street for Ian Schrager included huge green glass
cylindrical elements and a graffiti-inspired gate. Recently,
the firm showed a flamboyant design for a major new philharmonic
hall in Hamburg.
floor in the new Herzog
& de Meuron tower is different and rotated from the floors
above and below. The press release for the project described
it as "a thoughtful, daring and ultimately dazzling new alternative
- the iconic American skyscraper re-envisioned as a pixilated
vertical layering of individually sculpted, highly customized,
graceful private residences opening to the atmosphere." In other words,
every apartment in the shimmy-shimmy-shake form
for the tower will have a balcony.
press release also noted
that the project "updates the relationship between private
tower and public streetscape with an articulated base whose cantilevers
generate a sense of movement and permeability," adding that
"Here, the building's defining corner will be the site of
a major commissioned sculpture by internationally celebrated
artist Anish Kapoor."
the architecture itself as if to say that culture and the city
are indivisible," the press release continued, "Kapoor's
massive, reflective stainless steel piece - an enigmatic balloon-like
form that appears to be combating compression from above - will
be a new cultural landmark in TriBeCa...."
artist's dazzling and very
impressive "Cloud Gate" sculpture in A. T. & T.
Plaza in Millennium Park in Chicago is very similar but much,
much larger and free-standing. Some have suggested that Kapoor's
mercurial sculpture might be seen to better advantage atop the
in the tower will
range in size from 1,430 to 6,380 square feet and in price from
$3.5 million to $33 million.
proposed tower will have
a double-height lobby sheathed in "gleaming" black granite
with a concierge and doorman and seven elevators. Above the lobby
will be several floors of "townhouse" residences and
then two floors of amenities including a 75-foot "infinity
edge" pool, a sundeck, a fitness center, a spa, a library
lounge, a screening room, a conference room and a TriBeCa Tot
eight through forty-five
contain the building's two- to five-bedroom apartments, each of
which will have 12-foot-high glass doors leading to private outdoor
spaces with travertine pavers. Fireplace "hearths"
soar from floor to ceiling, crafted by the architects in high-gloss
white-enameled steel, and kitchens will have a high-gloss black
lacquer island with black granite countertop "accompanied
by a custom hood either sculpted from the wall or descending from
building will have 8 full-floor
penthouses and two that occupy half floors, all with 14-foot-high