Construction has begun on the 23-story tower, described by Nouvel as “a vision machine,” at the intersection of 19th Street and the West Side Highway, along the Hudson River in Manhattan. The glass and steel building is a direct material and conceptual descendant of Nouvel’s 1987 Headquarters for the Arab World Institute in Paris.
The main south curtain wall is comprised of approximately 1,647 completely different colorless windowpanes organized within enormous steel-framed “megapanels” that range from 11 to 16 feet tall and as wide as 37 feet across.Each windowpane inside these megapanels is tilted at a different angle and in a different direction – up, down, in, out - bearing a slightly different degree of transparency.
Study for the mosaic-like curtain wall.
By contrast, the north and east facades will be clad in black brick that references the masonry characteristic of West Chelsea’s industrial architecture. These facades will also contain a complex pattern of different-sized punched windows framing dramatic views from inside.
A seven story free-standing “screen” of densely mullioned glass, a near repeat of the main facade’s steel-framed mosaic pattern, is placed 15 feet from the building’s south facade.The space created between the tower’s multifaceted glass curtain wall and this street wall screen forms a semi-enclosed atrium, called “The Loggia.” Within this atrium fully-grown trees and beds of ornamental plantings, placed within the grid, will appear to float in mid-air.
At 70 feet long, the building’s mirror-canopied pool will be one of the longest in Manhattan. The majority of the pool is sheltered within the building’s structure, with 24 feet extending into a landscaped outdoor space (the lower tier of the garden).
In the 20 foot-high ceiling lobby enormous, single-pane punched windows of different textures and degrees of transparency will face the building’s private multitiered slope garden on the north side of the building, bringing nature indoors.
The palette of apartment interiors is pale and materials have been chosen to achieve maximum luminosity, with an overall look inspired by the sleek minimalism of the neighborhood’s many contemporary art galleries.
Elevator shafts will contain random LED lighting and full-scale punched windows, so that passengers in glass-walled cabs can see city vistas as they ascend at 450 feet per minute, while twinkling light patterns are visible from elsewhere in the neighborhood.
The building will contain 72 residences and be LEED certified.
Estimated completion: Fall 2008