53 West 53rd Street: Jean Nouvel Tower Set to Rise Above MoMA

Jean Nouvel’s design for a new seventy-five story tower at 53 West 53rd Street, adjacent to the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown, was unveiled late last week. Hines, which will develop the property, purchased the 17,000-square-foot site from MoMA for $125 million earlier this year. Construction won’t get underway until sometime in 2009, but [...]

Jean Nouvel’s design for a new seventy-five story tower at 53 West 53rd Street, adjacent to the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown, was unveiled late last week. Hines, which will develop the property, purchased the 17,000-square-foot site from MoMA for $125 million earlier this year. Construction won’t get underway until sometime in 2009, but given Hines’ green track record, including One Jackson Square in the Village, as well as Nouvel’s work at 100 Eleventh Avenue (scheduled to open next year and seeking an unspecified LEED rating) it won’t be a surprise if the new building incorporates sustainable features and becomes a truly iconic piece of green architecture.

What’s similarly not surprising is that the project’s initial renderings are spectacular; a steel and glass façade tapers as the tower climbs into a dramatic spire that seems to echo Gotham’s urban infrastructure. The diagrid steel on the exterior is structural (allowing for large floor plates on the lower floors where MoMA will expand into 40,000 additional square feet of gallery space), and exterior mullions will house the building’s ventilation system. The tower will also include a one hundred-room, seven star hotel and 120 luxury condos. According to the Times, Nouvel presented Hines with two different design concepts and, to the city’s benefit, the developer chose the more daring vision. It’s early, but we’ll definitely be keeping tabs as the design process moves forward and construction begins on what promises to be an absolutely electric edition to the Midtown skyline.

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