The new residential tower is set to become a pivotal anchor for a changing neighborhood.
PROJECT: 15 Hudson Yards LOCATION: New York, NY COMPLETION: January 2019 HEIGHT: 960,000 square feet LEAD ARCHITECT: Diller Scofidio + Renfro LEAD INTERIOR ARCHITECT: Rockwell Group FACADE DESIGN CONSULTANT: Neil Thelen Architect EXECUTIVE ARCHITECT: Ismael Leyva Architects STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: WSP Cantor Seinuk MEP ENGINEERS: Jaros Baum & Bolles CONTRACTOR: Tutor Perini BUILDING ENVELOPE CONSULTANT: Vidaris LIGHTING: L’Observatoire International, Cline Bettridge Bernstein, LightBox Studios
Manhattan’s Hudson Yards welcomed one of its most stylish new neighbors when residential tower 15 Hudson Yards opened in early 2019. It’s all part of the ongoing development in the community that includes the beloved High Line and new cultural center The Shed.
At more than 900 feet tall, 15 Hudson Yards is a beautiful glass behemoth with soft lines that morph into a clover at the top. Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) designed the project to LEED Gold standards. The architecture firm previously worked with interior architect Rockwell Group on the Shed, and in 2012 accepted the commission for 15 Hudson Yards, according to Elizabeth Diller, partner at DS+R, creating an opportunity to have a conversation with the area’s other projects. “We thought it was an interesting opportunity to negotiate with ourselves—and with the High Line—to have three projects for three different clients and programs interlock as an urban ensemble,” she says. “We considered the project within the context of the High Line specifically, and interrogated how we could make an interface between a commercial property and the public realm. And then we considered the project from the point of view of The Shed and considered how we could create a level of transparency and be a good neighbor.”
Describing 15 Hudson Yards and the Shed as “Siamese twins—very different but connected and sharing vital systems,” DS+R Partner Benjamin Gilmartin said the firm opted for an envelope made of bent glass as a “tribute to the tradition of modernist towers in the city.” But the building’s graceful lines also match the softness of the Shed. “Where the Shed structure docks at the tower expresses the interconnection—the two buildings fit together there, as the tower bends inward to receive the shape of the Shed,” he says.
The 15 Hudson Yards tower sits among a dense cluster of tall towers, so there was a natural desire to transform it by having it open out into four lobes as it ascends to the top floors where residential units are located. The morphing of the tower begins in the middle, where the architecture firm located the building’s shared amenities to draw people together. “It becomes a place that your eye is gradually drawn to when looking at the building,” says Benjamin Gilmartin, DS+R partner.
“We approached 15 Hudson Yards with one very simple goal: given the building’s linkage between the plaza, The Shed, and the High Line, we wanted to transition residents and visitors from more public experiences to more private ones,” says Greg Keffer, partner at Rockwell Group, the project’s interior architect. Keffer says the transition was achieved by creating a series of public spaces—including the lobby, lounge, and fitness area—that are “simultaneously calm and strong.” They used sealed travertine and French limestone to create an effect of carving and engraving throughout the interiors. Other materials include dyed oak and stones from Carrara, Italy, in the residential units’ kitchens. But Keffer says the real star of the interiors are the views. “The interiors are designed to underline them, making the most out of the orientation and daylight.”
Using the cold warping technique allowed DS+R to achieve the building’s sinuous lines without expending additional energy when shaping the glass. The Hudson Yards tower is about 50% vision glass, and the team incorporated high-performance glass and highly insulated opaque walls to mitigate some of the heat transfer. The building also makes use of a microgrid with cogenerator plants that is said to be twice as efficient as conventional electricity generation sources. It uses filtered fresh air and a greywater recycling system.
The lobby features walls and floors of Este Light travertine stone, as well as resin and metal arrival screens. Small Axon floor lamps and rugs are also part of the decor. Wall art by Katharina Grosse and a sculpture by Joel Shapiro above the fountain complete the decor.