Five Franklin Place

by | 09. Aug 2012

Feature | Residential | Skyscrapers

Photo: © Archpartners 2008

Located in the Tribeca Historic Cast Iron District in Downtown Manhattan, Five Franklin Place will be the first major American building by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio.


Photo: © Archpartners 2008


Photo: © Archpartners 2008


Photo: © Archpartners 2008


Photo: © Archpartners 2008


Photo: © Archpartners 2008


Photo: © Archpartners 2008


Photo: © Archpartners 2008


Photo: © Archpartners 2008

The building will rise 20 stories, offering impressive panoramic views of the Hudson River, East River and Manhattan Skyline.

The building will be wrapped in an optically dazzling, constantly shifting pattern of horizontal black metal bands sewn onto its form the way decorative seams and pleats are sewn onto a luxurious couture garment.

A direct homage to the applied metal facade decoration of Tribeca’s celebrated 19th century cast iron architecture, these gleaming reflective ribbons will grow thinner and thicker, wrapping the entire tower and moving softly around corners to give the whole structure an etched effect and curvilinear softness, while reflecting the evolving light of day, the clouds and the colors of the city in one of the most dramatic compositions attempted in modern Manhattan’s recent building boom.

Because of strategic twisting and torquing, the facade bands will serve as essential functional elements of the tower as well, transforming into balconies for more than half of the building’s residences, terraces for the penthouses at the top, and sunshades that deflect heat and protect all of the structure’s interiors from excess sunlight.

Residents will enter the building on Franklin Place, a narrow, cobbled north-south lane once known as Sugar Loaf Alley, the heart of New York City’s 19th century sugar trade. Newly restored with period lighting, cleaned and re-pointed pavers, and lush vertical plantings, this historic passageway will offer an atmosphere evocative of Old New York and Tribeca’s great past.

The lobby will unfold as a distinctly sculptural but serene, softly lit environment of curving white lacquer fixtures, including built-in leather seating areas and a sparkling violet glass-chip floor. A sweeping curved stairwell will lead from the lobby to a sub-grade level private spa and fitness center.

Five Franklin Place will have three distinct residence types, each with its own unique aesthetic, materials palette and special features. Duplex Loft Residences occupy floors 2 through 7. City Residences occupy floors 8 through 18. Sky Penthouses are duplexes that occupy the top floors of the

Tribeca is a wonderful place with a fascinating history – an amazing architectural history, but also an interesting history of how artists have worked and lived in the district’s buildings. In our view, those artists defined the neighborhood’s lifestyle, the casual way that people occupy the lofts there, interpreting the spaces in unusual ways. Thinking about this, we wanted to create homes with some of that same casualness and flexibility. We did not want to over-define the rooms, because people today want to live with a sense of freedom and define these things for themselves even in the most luxurious homes. Our job was to bring the views indoors, to make a place that is truly embracing and comforting and pleasurable, and perhaps also to expand the definition of how we live at home.
/Ben van Berkel

Sketch courtesy UNStudio



CITY New York, New York
ARCHITECT Montroy Andersen DeMarco LLP