53W53: Manhattan’s Modern Masterpiece | The B1M

Posted by

New York City is synonymous with the skyscraper. Since the late 19th Century, each economic
cycle and architectural trend has driven a different era of high-rise development, resulting
in the iconic skyline we know today. Now, as demand for luxury residential property
in Manhattan is far out-stripping the availability of land, super-skinny towers with a width-to-height
ratio greater than 1:7 are ushering in a new age. Rising from a narrow site, between an existing
40 storey office tower and New York’s Museum of Modern Art, 53 West 53rd Street has been
more than a decade in the making. In 2006, New York City’s Museum of Modern
Art began exploring ways to develop a small site they owned adjacent to their main buildings
in midtown. Their idea was make the land available for
development, funding an expansion of the museum onto part of the site. With demand for high-end residential properties
in Manhattan exceeding the amount of land available a super-skinny high-rise tower was conceived,
maximising floor area and value from the development. Named after its 53 West 53rd Street address,
the tower is officially known as “53W53” and is located just a stone’s throw away from
the city’s emerging “Billionaires Row” and Central Park. Originally proposed to stand 381m or 1,250
feet tall – the same height as the Empire State Building – the original designs for
the tower were rejected by city planners who considered it to be an over-development of
such a small site and who raised concerns regarding the large shadow it would cast over
Central Park. Taking these concerns on board, the project
team re-submitted plans for a shorter 320 metre, 1050 foot tower. The New York City Planning Commission approved
the development in 2009, on the condition that enough surrounding air rights were purchased
to offset the extreme height of the new tower and to ensure that neighbouring sites could
not be developed to the same extent in the future. The result for the development, would be a
skyscraper that could offer its residents breath-taking views of the city, without the risk of them becoming obstructed by neighbouring buildings. Shortly after this breakthrough, the project
was put on hold as the world wrestled with the worst financial crisis since the Great
Depression and as developer confidence receded. Despite this setback, the project’s developers
– Hines and Goldman Sachs – used the downtime to begin purchasing air rights from a number of
the tower’s adjoining sites – including the University Club of New York, St Thomas’
Church and the sites former owner; the Museum of Modern Art. With an eventual resurgence in the property
market some years later, developers formed a joint venture with the Pontiac Land Group
to resurrect the project. With the last air rights secured and the city
planner’s pre-conditions satisfied, construction of the tower commenced in 2014. Situated within three separate zoning districts,
each with its own height and setback regulations, the tower’s architect Jean Nouvel had to
take a number of factors into account when conceiving 53 West 53rd’s design. The result in an impressive and uniquely formed
structure that interprets its context, tapers in at different angles as it rises, and that
does not feel overbearing from street level. The tower offers 149 residences across its
77 floors, ranging from one to four bedroom apartments and a 617-square meter two level
penthouse at its summit. With an extreme width-to-height ratio of 1:12,
the tower’s structural engineering is considerably complex. From foundations that extend deep
into Manhattan Island’s underlying bedrock, the tower rises around a high strength reinforced
concrete core with an impressive diagrid structure supporting its perimeter façade. This eliminates the need for internal columns
within the high-end residences, improving flexibility of the layouts whilst creating
sweeping views. Whilst the tower’s diagrid perimeter was
originally planned in steel, the floor-to-floor heights this offered were limiting. Instead, the project team developed the structural elements in reinforced concrete. Some of the connections between these structural
members are extremely complex, with as many as 8 different elements converging into a
single node in some instances. The steel reinforcement for such junctions
and was so complicated that the project team constructed full scale mock-ups before construction
commenced. This ensured that the designs that had developed would work and that concrete could sufficiently cover and settle around the reinforcement. 53 West 53rd is topped by a breath-taking
40 metre, 131 foot, steel and glass spire that offers a modern interpretation of New
York’s famous tapering summits whilst obscuring a feature that is key to the tower’s structural
integrity; a 650-tonne tuned mass damper between the 74th and 76th floors. The residences within 53 West 53rd re-define
luxury living. With prices starting from $3M USD for a one bedroom apartment, the tower’s
two-level penthouse can be yours for $70M USD. Designed with solid American oak flooring,
top of the range appliances and marble countertops – to name just a few features – residents
also have access to a range of amenities including a library, state of the art theatre, pool
and a private wine lounge. They’ll also gain benefactor membership
with the neighbouring Museum of Modern Art as part of its 39,000-square foot expansion
into the lower three levels of the tower. Though not officially on “Billionaires Row”
– which is broadly located to the north of 57th Street – 53 West 53rd is recognised
as one of New York’s most exclusive new residential addresses, thanks to its incredible
design, proximity to Central Park and the views it offers of the city skyline. Once complete in late 2018, 53 West 53rd will
join 432 Park Avenue and the emerging 111 West 57th, as Manhattan’s newest super-skinny,
luxury residential tower; the latest step in the ever-continuing evolution of the world’s
most famous skyline. If you enjoyed this video and would like to get more from the definitive video channel for construction, subscribe to The B1M.


  1. Damn must be nice. I'm not materialistic but when I see things like this I want the rich life of no stress and beautiful apartments in the city.

  2. 2:01 The building on the right, Solow 9 West 57 St. was a building I drew for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, architects in 1970. As a waiter from Hong Kong, I am proud to take part in building the skyline of New York City, even I am poor at my old age. George Wu, ARCHITECT, A.I.A., NCARB 2018-11-21

  3. I am so grateful that "Goldman – Sachs" had the foresight to wait until after their US tax payer funded bailout before they continued with the development & construction of yet another predictable piece of billionaire blight.

  4. The result of Trump's tax cuts is making people have more disposable income to afford this apartments…such an incredible tower though

  5. Beautiful building. It's a sign of math in economics too.

    Build by the wealthy for the rich. The top 1% has 80% of the wealth. It's much faster to offer very expensive products to those 1%, than to try to get the same amount of money from the 99% of the rest of the people, who have no resources to pay the desired number anyway.

    This is how the wealthy can only provide services and products to the rich, if they want to get even richer, since they already got the wealth and the rest of the people will not have enough to satisfy the number that they want on paper.

    The cleaner in that building will never be able to afford a bedroom in there, if she charges too low on her / his services. This is how the products for the rich force them to be even more stuck in the struggle to earn more and more.

  6. Well if you love megarich Chinese or Arabs, who might only stay there for a couple of weeks every year, then this is a place for you. Also, you would probably need a few millions in your bank account to purchase a unit.

  7. The shadow over CP is a real thing. I was walking by 72nd street in Central Park the other day around 3PM and the shadow from a tower rising up next to this one (it's even taller) on 52nd street was casting a shaddow all the way to that little pond from Stuart Little (high 70s)!!!

  8. I'd rather live in my 150 year old house with exposed beams, fieldstone foundation, fireplaces and mountain views out every window with the sound of water every night. To each their own.

  9. At 1:54, I was the draftsman who drew the black and white high rise building on the right for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Architects in 1970. George Wu, ARCHITECT, A.I.A., NCARB 2018-12-22

  10. At 1:54, I detailed the curved curtain wall for number 9 West 57th Street for S.O.M. in 1957. A waiter from Hong Kong penniless in New York and took part of the skyline of NYC. George Wu, ARCHITECT, A.I.A., NCARB 2018-12-22

  11. I want to hear the meeting about the original plans โ€œIโ€™ll be straight with you Mr Adams, weโ€™re worried the shadow will look like a giant dick on Central Park. Can we make it shorter and change the shape?โ€

  12. Such a shame about the small reduction in height, would that small reduction really make much of a difference? either way gotta be NY best skyscraper in the last 80 years.

  13. I have had a look at the floor plans for that penthouse and its what? 3366sq ft, not including master bath and stairwells/corridors plus 3 bedrooms? I'm thinking ditch the 3rd bedroom on the 78th, put the kitchen/dining room where the 'library' is. Have a large study where the kitchen/diner was and also scrap the bathroom between bedroom 3 and the 'library' as there is en-suite for both the other bedrooms, there is a P.R on the 78th already that looks like it could be enlarged slightly. This would put the kitchen/diner at the back of the building facing the Empire State and make a large study with views out the front and back of the building. Its not a huge space so I'm wondering why have 3 bedrooms?

    Maybe I have thought about this way too much?

  14. I work in Times Square and I'm just about to visit this now! I've seen it growing over the months during my commute in from Astoria (Queens) and I've been wanting to see it up close. Of course I realize that security is at a whole different level since 2001, but I really wish there was some form of public access to these towers that we all live with in the city, like an observation deck or a restaurant, etc. The first 3 floors of MOMA gallery space is not the same thing as experiencing the actual architecture or views of the building. Oh well, here I come!

  15. The B1 M thank you for posting this wonderful video Manhattan's in my mind and also in my heart The New York City top of the world the big apple city I do have so much memory of my teenager life that I really enjoy at all wit so much love to any kind of season special in the winter time wit a lot storm of snow really playful now I miss you so much you are in my thoughts in my heart luv .

  16. Very good video. Well produced. Boring architecture. The tapering lines does very little to make it interesting to look at.

  17. Most of the super skinnies are among the ugliest buildings I've ever seen. This one at least seems to have some character to it.

  18. The only reason that the "need" for additional housing is present is because the city planners and landowners won't do what is necessary to allow truly adequate housing to be built.
    The first solution that comes to mind is to eminent domain the entirety of Hell's Kitchen and create one mega project that encompasses the entire area from 44th to 50th, from 9th Ave to the river.
    Put in 5x-10x the number of residential homes across all income levels, throw in major arts, entertainment and commercial venues and reconfigure the subway access to allow proper access to the area. It would redefine the whole of the west side and New York City itself, especially if the centerpiece of the whole thing was a 2000m tall building.
    Yes, the cost would be mindboggling but worth every penny spent on it.

  19. love NYC = a classic world city with great people and neighborhoods to explore. i go at least every five years and spend a month in the city.

  20. In 1960's, Trump used his father's money , and the tax abatement from Mayor Beam, the Jewish mayor of New York City, to put a glass and aluminum jacket on the old Hotel Commodore, next door to Grand Central, Most people at that time moved out of the crime centers. People with vision like Trump and my Jewish classmate, a concentration camp survivor decided to make it big in NYC. These people are very rich today! George Wu, ARCHITECT, A.I.A., NCARB 2012-2-6 I did not do what they did, that is why I am a church mouse at the age of 82. I should not complain at all. When I first arrived here from Hong Kong in 1956 at the age of 19, I was a penniless waiter and could not speak the language….

  21. Beautiful..all these new skinny buildings. But it seems like the dystopia of the new Guilded Age, we are watching our extinction in real time.

  22. This is modern architecture done right, it's quite gorgeous. If only it was meant for normal people and no the 1%

  23. I love NYC. Who was it who said it would be great if all the buildings could be moved back three feet? Glad they are having these buildings purchase air rights. Kind of a carbon tax, but for sunlight and views. Donโ€™t throw shade on Central Park!

  24. building planners and astronomers are seriously the worst at naming things

    hey man where do you live?
    1187 west 4th north circle on the south end

  25. Is Fred Mills the narrator? The effect overshadows the ability to absorb and enjoy the content. It's as if there's a layer of interference, like some sort of fog, to filter out in order to view and hear just the pure content without being aware of the medium.

  26. Yay for rich people? At least these videos will let the angry mob know where to go first when we all figure out that the rich are killing the world.

  27. Sky fortresses for the global elites disconnected from city life. The only ones who enjoy these places are the tycoons that live there.

  28. all sky scrappers should connected each other in case disaster people can escape to other towers and on to ground
    Also what are escape plane for these towers in case emergency strike ?

  29. Skinny because if the sell they'll have to move because they won't be able to afford comparable property nearby. Shadow and historical is crooked politics with achy-breaky hearts.

  30. Skinny looks better, especially in cities which allow such extreme heights. Many cities can't because of aircraft routes (FAA).

  31. I'm standing in front of this building right now. I watched this a year ago, thought it would be cool to see one day. So today I saw it biking up 6 Av and it blew me away. I was like, holy shit that's the B1M building, and I had to go check it out. It feels monumental seeing it in person, if only I could afford to live in it haha

  32. It makes a bit of a connection (modernist but also light – for people and the environment, water, birds and people – everything ripped) to this tower from Hong Kong and slightly (because it ends with this shape) from London .

    (and when will Empire be hidden (even if only partially)? (!)

  33. While the millionaires and Democrats sit back we have homeless veterans freezing in the subways we put them on an endless cycle of welfare and Illegal immigrants are more important while Cuomo does layoffs.

  34. This shows to me at least that the depression which had paralyzed the Big Apple after 9/11 in 2001 has been overcome and New York looks optimistically forward now.

  35. Stunning and breathtaking views, and spacious living in New York City at Central Park. Museum of Modern Art expansion which was planned decade ago! Julie Ann Racino, Cornell and Syracuse University Alumni, 2019 "Cornell Weill Medical School in NYC with Chelsea Clinton on the Board"

  36. Very amazing thi$ New Tower in..N.Y.C..OK…๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ˜

  37. a lot of wasted effort put into this. 30% of the owners should probably be put on trial in a fair nation if not a higher percentage. not to disrespect the rest of them.

  38. ู„ู‚ุฏ ุดูˆู‡ูˆุง ุงู„ุงุฑุถ ูˆุงุชู‚ู„ูˆู‡ุง ุจุงู„ุจู†ุงูŠุงุช ู„ุทููƒ ูŠุง ุฑุจ ูˆุนูˆู†ูƒ.

  39. This is what happens when there is a shortage of land. The price for each parcel goes up, up, up. Simple economics. Supply vs. Demand

  40. I was on the tippy top. Greatest view ever! I get paid for the view. While others pay for the view. I love my job.

  41. The fact that high end residential skyscrapers are springing like mushrooms, in a city where homelessness is exploding, is showing for the two faces of America. The income inequality that is actively halting overall progress in the US and the Western World in its entirety.

  42. I don't like how we're using so many resources and making so many emissions for skinny towers for only the super rich, who don't even live in them. Seems like a waste.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *