A new skyline reinvents Manhattan between the scenic Hudson River and the oasis of the High Line, transformed into an architectural promenade by outstanding names in design: from the XI (Eleventh) dancing towers by BIG, to the masterpiece by Zaha Hadid and buildings by Frank O. Gehry and Jean Nouvel. The creative ferment never stops, making New York the current center of contemporary architecture. In this emphatic context, March saw the launch of part of the immense, long-awaited Hudson Yards complex, a development by Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group.
The grand opening presented a public square and garden, including The Shed center for the arts with its Bloomberg Building, the symbolic Vessel, the exclusive mall and the Fifteen Hudson Yards tower. The luxury shopping experience organized on five levels – with design by Elkus Manfredi – is the new home of brands like Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, Patek Philippe and Chanel, the immersive SnarkPark by Snarkitecture, and the gourmand visions of the chefs José Andrés, David Chang and Thomas Keller. The Observation Deck of Hudson Yards – the highest in the Western Hemisphere – will be opening soon. Visitors are stunned by the splendor of the so-called Vessel, the architectural totem by Thomas Heatherwick/Heatherwick Studio, or by the avant-garde creativity of the Bloomberg Building, the mutable performing art center by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, lead architect, and Rockwell Group, collaborating architect, with its shell that moves on tracks. All around shiny skyscrapers for offices, private residences and hospitality facilities about to open – including the first Equinox Hotel with the largest fitness center – rise into the skies over Manhattan, looming over the West Side and the future public garden that will be connected to the High Line and revealing the unstoppable metamorphosis of the physiognomy of New York.
Creative audacity to match the history of the High Line, the West Side Yard and its inseparable railroad identity, transforming the static idea of architecture into an avant-garde achievement: the performing arts center of the Bloomberg Building which contains The Shed – a nonprofit cultural institution – designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, lead architect, with Rockwell Group, collaborating architect, has been conceived as a kinetic, mutable facility of 20,000 square meters, with a telescopic ‘shell’ that slides on tracks. An innovative location for various creative productions, whose structural flexibility responds to the most ambitious requirements of artists. With a height of 36 meters, the mobile shell is composed of a visible steel framework clad by translucent ‘panels’ in ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) – a material offering excellent thermal performance – and is one of the largest such structures in the world. The multiple levels contain a versatile theater space, a rehearsal room, two floors of exhibition space, a creative workshop for artistic productions and a zone for events. The most iconic space is the McCourt – the area inside the mobile shell – which can welcome up to 2000 viewers; the 2nd and 4th levels are set aside for exhibitions, like the rooms of a museum, free of pillars; on the 6th floor the Kenneth C. Griffin Theater can be subdivided into smaller spaces for various needs, while the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Skylights and Tisch Lab on the 8th and uppermost level are set aside for events, rehearsals and artist activities. Finally, the Plaza is a public space that doubles its size when the shell slides back into the building, becoming an outdoor stage.
Photo © Iwan Baan, courtesy The Shed
Its sinuous shape suggesting a beehive and the glow of its copper cladding that reflects every detail of the surroundings make the Vessel an authentic theatrical set, an iconic and totemic sculpture to ‘climb’ and walk through, step after step, in search of new horizons. Created by Thomas Heatherwick / Heatherwick Studio, the symbol of Hudson Yards stands at the center of the public square and garden, becoming a perspective fulcrum for the district, immersed in its fascinating structure composed of a weave of steps and ramps. The Vessel modules made in Italy, at Monfalcone, and assembled at the site, at Hudson Yards, create an intersection of volumes and a kaleidoscope of forms. The architectural composition is intriguing: the majestic glowing totem that is the landmark of a new hub of creativity translates and interprets one of the emblems of New York, the ladder, transformed into an artistic feature. An elsewhere that has already been adopted by New Yorkers as a new icon of Manhattan, a network of 2500 steps, 154 ramps and 80 panoramic platforms. In what seems like an infinite ‘becoming’: that of the future.
Photo © Michael Moran for Related Oxford
Fifteen Hudson Yards
A sinuous tower rises with 88 floors and a height of 270 meters by the Hudson River, immersed in a panorama that takes in the 360-degree spectacle of Manhattan. Designed by the same architects who have invented the dynamic Bloomberg Building (The Shed), Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group, Fifteen Hudson Yards is the first residential tower to be opened inside the complex. “The tower stands out from the orthogonal logic of the street grid of New York, thanks to its sinuous clover-like shape, capturing a 360-degree view of the surrounding skyline – says Elizabeth Diller, founding partner of the firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro – while the glass facade makes a typically fragile, rigid material become organic and elastic.” The building offers an exclusive collection of 285 private residences with different layouts, perfect for contemporary luxury living, featuring fine marble, classic and modern furnishings, eclectic wallpaper and elegant finishes, a two-story lobby like an art gallery, and amenities that set a new standard of excellence. For a remise en forme with a bird’s-eye view, the entire 50th floor is set aside for wellness: from the fitness center designed by The Wright Fit to the spa, the yoga studio and the impressive indoor swimming pool with its breathtaking panoramas. At the 51st floor there are spaces for entertainment, private dining suites, a business center, a golf club lounge, zones for wine tasting and performance rooms. “We have developed a wide, carefully detailed range of natural materials – says David Rockwell, founder and president of Rockwell Group – while exploiting the orientation of the building and the sunlight to underscore the amazing views of the dynamic New York skyline, and its ongoing evolution.”
Photo © courtesy of Scott Frances for Related Oxford
35 Hudson Yards
It is the most impressive skyscraper of the entire complex: 35 Hudson Yards, 300 meters of elegance envisioned by David M. Childs of the firm SOM (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill) – the architect behind One World Trade Center – with interior design by Tony Ingrao and next generation services by Equinox Hotels®. “With its combination of shops, offices, hotel facilities and private residences, our tower is a ‘city’ in its own right, inside Hudson Yards, just as Hudson Yards is a ‘city’ in Manhattan,” says David Childs. A skyscraper for mixed uses that will host offices, commercial spaces, 143 exclusive homes, an Equinox Hotel® with over 200 rooms, and an Equinox® fitness club and spa, organized in an area of about 6000 square meters, making it the world’s largest. With direct access to the High Line and Hudson Park & Boulevard, immersed in the shopping experience and facing the Vessel, 35 Hudson Yards embodies a new idea of art de vivre, with gallery-like spaces, fine wood and exceptional marble, as well as tapestries by the well-known artist Helena Hernmarck. At the 6th floor the temple of wellness set aside for residents contains a fitness center with the latest equipment, as well as a yoga studio, a meditation room, a screening room and a library. “35 Hudson Yards – Tony Ingrao explains – is a totally unique site that offers a complete lifestyle experience, inserted in a magnificent urban context, connected to the innovative elevated park – the High Line – and facing the river.
A combination of avant-garde architecture and impeccable services, including an extraordinary outdoor pool, a spa and fitness center, restaurants, shops and boutiques… In a high-end vision for mind, body and soul.”
Photo © courtesy of Related Oxford
The Shops & Restaurants
On seven levels, the Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards provide a new shopping experience, opened on 15 March, designed by the legendary architecture firm Elkus Manfredi. A surprising place that pays homage in its design to the industrial past of the West Side, amidst materials like steel and dark wood, referencing the rail yards once prevalent in the whole area. The natural stone of the pavement reflects the discreet elegance of the neighborhood. An exclusive destination selected by Neiman Marcus as its main location, along with the boutiques of high-end fashion and beauty brands – Louis Vuitton, Coach, Fendi, Tory Burch, Chanel and Kiehl’s, just to mention a few – and outstanding names in joaillerie/horlogerie like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Van Cleef & Arpels… Not just a mecca for shopping, but also a place with a focus on creative expression, first of all the immersive permanent SnarkPark designed by the visionary studio Snarkitecture, as well as works of art, interactive installations and humorous murals by 13 protagonists of the art scene – including Francesco Clemente, Jamilla Okubo, Will Cotton, Jeanette Hayes, Willie Cole, Misaki Kawai, Serban Ionescu – within a constantly updated program of events. Food enthusiasts can sample the offerings of international culinary luminaries, in restaurants run by Thomas Keller and Kenneth A. Himmel, Momofuku, Anya Fernald, Costas Spiliadis and Peter Jin, or inside the evocative Mercado Little Spain, the Spanish food hall driven by the flair of the chef José Andrés in collaboration with Ferran and Albert Adrià. In the meantime, we can look forward to the opening of the Observation Deck, the most dizzying lookout spot in the Western Hemisphere.
Photo © courtesy of Francis Dzikowski for Related Oxford