Denari’s special vision of architecture will finally take full physical form when construction begins in New York City on the first free-standing building of his career.
Denari has been a leader in his generation’s use of advanced technology to propose architecture that shifts, bends, folds and unfolds, always challenging conventional geometry with pure beauty and a quality he refers to as “cultural sustainability” – the ambition to give each new building enduring public relevance through a highly progressive, experimental design approach that nevertheless draws upon the history and culture of the site.
HL23 will rise fourteen stories from a 40 foot-wide footprint, just steps from Tenth Avenue and half covered by the High Line, the historic elevated railway bed slated for transformation into one of the nation’s most lyrical urban parks.
Overcoming this through-block site’s inherited restrictions Denari has conceived a building that will dramatically increase in size as it rises from its slender footing to cantilever gracefully over the rails. The reverse-tapering form will create cinematic views and unrivaled intimacy with the High Line for the residents.
We wanted to make new architecture that honors the old in certain ways, but that stands as an elevated world, integrated with the High Line in a new way.
Photo courtesy Neil Denari Architects
|The building’s reverse-tapering form is more “carved” or “shaped” than set back, but the inverted geometry, the way the building gets larger as it goes higher, was not just a dare on our part. It was an upfront response to the tough conditions of our site and its proximity to the industrial structure of the railway. We also generated HL23’s profile to make the building appear slimmer than it is, and thus more hospitable to the surrounding buildings – a friendly if unconventional neighbor for the High Line and West Chelsea.|
HL23 will house eleven residences – nine full-floor apartments, a duplex penthouse with terraces, and a two-floor maisonette with a private garden at the building’s base. Each residence will have a different layout.
Residents will enter the building through a lobby on West 23rd Street, in the shadow of the High Line’s muscular beams. From the lobby space, designed as a transition from the street and the building’s expressive exterior, they will ascend to the residences.
A pale, luminous exterior will give the building the appearance of an elegant, partially dressed figure. By strategically draping and fitting the structure with a gleaming pressed-pattern steel skin that covers here and slips back there, Denari alternately reveals and protects, simultaneously opening remarkable vistas through massive expanses of glass and concealing private life by wrapping areas of the structure in fitted metal panels
HL23 is a concrete and steel frame structure with diagonal perimeter bracing that allows for a minimum of interior columns that would interrupt the flow of open, usable space within interiors. The spandrel-free north and south curtain walls consist of some of the largest single-pane windows ever used in residential high-rise construction. Facade window panels are over eleven feet high by six feet wide, creating soaring floor to ceiling visual spans and infinite panoramas north and south from each unit.
The building’s east facade will have the appearance of a monumental public sculpture clad with a system of custom-designed, three-dimensionally curving stainless steel panels. The pattern will move along the dramatically shaped skin in much the same way a printed pattern moves across an avant-garde garment, slipping into different visual effects with the change of the body beneath.
The steel surface will also read differently throughout the day and during different weather patterns, glowing and seeming to change color with the movement of the sun and the passing of clouds. At the center of this facade, the structure and its skin will appear to split apart, revealing windows and cast ever changing shadows in a radical play of light.
Upon completion, the building is expected to receive a prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification from the United States Green Building Council.
Fast Forward: Neil Denari Builds On The Highline
The architecture of HL23 and its relationship to the West Chelsea arts district and the High Line was the subjects of an exhibition opening in June 2008 at the Museum of the City of New York.
|ARCHITECT||Thomas Juul-Hansen Architects, LLC|