520 West 28th Street

by | 31. May 2018

Apartment | Project | Residential
520 West 28th Street by Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Hufton+Crow

520 West 28th Street by Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Hufton+Crow

When living adjacent to New York City’s iconic high line, privacy is not the norm. Visited by more than 7 million people every year, the elevated pathway is one of the city’s newest and most popular tourist attractions, rivaling some of the city’s established landmarks in annual visitors. While once considered undesirable real estate, property values along the High Line’s 2.3-kilometre span have soared since the first phase reached completion in 2009, attracting the city’s development and architectural elite. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and flanked by now-iconic structures designed by Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, and the nearly-complete Thomas Heatherwick-designed “vessel” at Hudson Yards, the districts surrounding the High Line have become an architectural playground for the world’s most prolific designers.

520 West 28th Street as seen from the street. Image © Hufton+Crow

520 West 28th Street as seen from the street. Image © Hufton+Crow

 

520 West 28th Street as seen from the High Line. Image © Hufton+Crow

520 West 28th Street as seen from the High Line. Image © Hufton+Crow

Enter 520 West 28th Street by Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), an 11-story luxury residential building anchored at street level by a series of high-end art galleries. Home to a mere 39 residences, the building is modest in size, but ostentatious in its appearance. While the building embodies Zaha’s signature curvaceous and futuristic approach, its shape is pure, sensible New York design. Here, the firm’s white polished curves and concrete planes of projects past are replaced by a restrained yet sophisticated and powerful low-rise design, clad in tinted and brushed steel.

A facade detail on 520 West 28th Street. Image © Hufton+Crow

A facade detail on 520 West 28th Street. Image © Hufton+Crow

Relentlessly eye catching, the building’s sinuous curves are unlike anything in the immediate landscape. Framed by Chelsea’s signature low-rise warehouses—a reality that has begun to shift as Manhattan’s skyscraper boom reaches further south—and soaring glass towers, 520 West 28th Street stands out.

520 West 28th Street in elevation. Image © Zaha Hadid Architects

520 West 28th Street in elevation. Image © Zaha Hadid Architects

520 West 28th Street in plan. Image © Zaha Hadid Architects

520 West 28th Street in plan. Image © Zaha Hadid Architects

The building features an organized exterior of staggered balconies, extruded windows, and sunken surfaces, ensuring that no two exterior views are the same. From one façade to the next, the building is virtually unrecognizable: parametric curves appear to elastically hold the building’s cantilevered balconies in place, creating a zig-zagging effect to enliven two otherwise glass-clad facades. Perhaps its most futuristic element, the building’s fishbowl-like balconies jut from the exterior, punctuating the façade and creating a visual hierarchy from base to penthouse, where units begin to recede and privacy becomes a possibility—albeit unlikely.

Fishbowl-like balconies punctuate the facade. Image © Hufton+Crow

Fishbowl-like balconies punctuate the facade. Image © Hufton+Crow

A hierarchy of balconies allows the building to recede as it grows taller. Image © Hufton+Crow

A hierarchy of balconies allows the building to recede as it grows taller. Image © Hufton+Crow

When viewed the High Line, 520 West 28th Street is awe-inspiring, dynamic, and particularly transparent. Its unorthodox angles and bizarre shapes create curious optical illusions, drawing the eye across its worn surfaces. Its expansive glass walls encourage voyeurism as passersby have the opportunity to engage, at eye-level at times, with the building’s occupants. From the street, the building appears as if gently dropped into the city from a subsequent century, drawing a sharp but necessary contrast with its historic red brick neighbours.

A facade and balcony detail. Image © Hufton+Crow

A facade and balcony detail. Image © Hufton+Crow

Detail of the parametric elements of the facade. Image © Hufton+Crow

Detail of the parametric elements of the facade. Image © Hufton+Crow

Each facade is distinct from the next, creating a dynamic for passersby. Image © Hufton+Crow

Each facade is distinct from the next, creating a dynamic for passersby. Image © Hufton+Crow

Inside, in true Zaha fashion, the building’s spaces are dramatic, beautiful, and meticulously designed. Its signature curves carry though every room, including the building’s pool, where a Zaha Hadid-designed precast concrete relief evokes the movement of waves of the water below. Its lobbies are expansive, daylit, and adorned with Zaha Hadid-designed furniture. The residential kitchens, realized by Zaha Hadid Design for Boffi, show the architect’s linear and minimalist tendencies, deferring visual interest to immense curved windows that seem to slice through walls and floor plates with the preciseness for which Zaha became known. The units themselves are not unlike typical luxury New York residences, offering amenities like private elevator lobbies, a sculpture garden, and a residents-only IMAX theatre.

The lobby is expansive and daylit, and features work by Zaha Hadid Design. Image © Hufton+Crow

The lobby is expansive and daylit, and features work by Zaha Hadid Design. Image © Hufton+Crow

The lobby. Image © Hufton+Crow

The lobby. Image © Hufton+Crow

The pool includes a Hadid-designed relief that evokes the movement of water. Image © Hufton+Crow

The pool includes a Hadid-designed relief that evokes the movement of water. Image © Hufton+Crow

Residential interiors feature dramatic windows at odd angles, continuing the curves inside. Image © Scott Frances

Residential interiors feature dramatic windows at odd angles, continuing the curves inside. Image © Scott Frances

Most remarkable about the building is its unabashed dedication to futurism in a landscape typified by adaptive reuse or outright demolition. As Zaha Hadid Architects’ first and only built project in New York City, 520 West 28th Street is in a league all its own, occupying a unique space in a real estate market made for admirers of Zaha’s brand of simultaneously eccentric and logical design. To live here is not merely to desire great views of the High Line or to want 11-foot ceilings—although they come standard—to live here is celebrate the zany elegance of Zaha’s parametric world firsthand.

520 West 28th Street by Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Hufton+Crow

520 West 28th Street by Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Hufton+Crow

INFORMATION

CITYNew York City
COUNTRYUSA
ARCHITECTZaha Hadid Architects

CLIENT

CONTRACTOR