VIA 57 West- 2017 Global Awards for Excellence Finalist

Location: New York, New York, United States
Developer: The Durst Organization
Designers: Bjarke Ingels Group, SLCE Architects (Executive Architect)
Site Size: 2.5 acres

VIA 57 WEST is a hybrid between the European perimeter block and the traditional Manhattan high-rise that creates a new typology: the “courtscraper.” VIA combines the advantages of both: the compactness, density, and intimacy of a classic courtyard building, with the airiness and the expansive views of a skyscraper. By keeping three corners of the block low and lifting the northeast corner up towards its 467-ft peak, the courtyard opens views towards the Hudson River, bringing western sun deep into the block and preserving the adjacent tower’s views of the river. Every apartment gets a bay window to amplify the benefits of the generous view and balconies.

VIA resolves issues inherent to its challenged 110,400 SF site: a former brownfield and uneven plot in a flood-evacuation zone, bounded by a power plant, sanitation facility, heavily-trafficked highway, and a residential tower owned by the same client. Originally, the block was zoned for a low-rise industrial building. By working closely with the Department of City Planning, NYC Planning Commission, Community Boards, the NYC Council and Mayor through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure including a full Environmental Impact Statement, the team secured modifications to existing zoning restrictions in order to develop a 709-unit high-rise residential tower and street scape that would enliven the neighborhood.

View from residential unit looking west © Iwan Baan
View from residential unit looking west.
© Iwan Baan
nside the VIA courtyard © Iwan Baan
Inside the VIA courtyard.
© Iwan Baan
Game room with clerestory connection to courtyard © Iwan Baan
Game room with clerestory connection to courtyard.
© Iwan Baan
View from across the Hudson River © Nic Lehoux
View from across the Hudson River.
© Nic Lehoux

VIA succeeds in creating a unique and desirable residential environment: an inner green oasis. By allowing VIA’s inner facades to frame nature on all four sides, residents have direct access to nature; by incorporating VIA into the Manhattan grid, green space is allowed to invade the urban fabric. Like a metropolitan backyard, the courtyard is framed by all the amenities of the building. Amenity space ceilings slope upwards to the courtyard so the spaces are stimulated by the ever-changing sunlight throughout the day. From above, residents can look into this urban oasis, their very own Central Park.

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