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Defying Rules of Convention on the Chelsea High Line

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Bjarke Ingels Group designed two twisting towers, which HFZ is developing along the Chelsea High Line on West 17th and 18th Street, across from Frank Gehry’s IAC Building. At the time Gehry designed the IAC headquarters, commentators asserted that the architectural style “joins a growing list of new projects that reflect how mainstream developers in the city are significantly raising the creative stakes after decades of settling for bland, soul-sapping office buildings.”[1] Bjarke Ingels has mirrored Gehry’s style by designing unconventional monolithic structures featuring fractured lines to create a perfect imbalance that shakes up New York’s skyline.

The innovative project aims to “maximize desirable views for residents inside, by allowing the buildings to peek around each other and neighboring structures.”[2] The two concrete towers, connected by a glass bridge, feature non-linear lines, creating the illusion of fluidity and movement. The far west tower will rise to 36 stories reaching 400 feet for 149 condo units. Each apartment interior will be designed by Gabellini Sheppard, a New York firm whose work includes the Rainbow Room, Top of the Rock, and Knickerbocker Hotel.

The east tower, which twists in the opposite direction of the west, will consist of 26 floors reaching 300 feet and be home to the Six Senses hotel and spa in addition to 87 condos starting on the 11th floor. The interiors of the east tower will be designed by Gilles & Boissier, a French firm whose portfolio includes the Four Seasons in Mexico City and New York’s Baccarat Hotel. The east tower will also feature an art space and courtyard. Gilles & Boissier plan to reflect the style of the Six Senses hotel in the 87 condos.

In addition to having access to the Six Senses hotel, amenities will include a 4,000 square-foot fitness center, swimming pool, lounge, gallery, wine tasting room and more.[3] Sales are set to start on May 7, with one-bedrooms starting at $2.8 million. Under the High Line there will be various retail spaces, restaurants and a park and the architects will be expanding the Highline walkway. Ingels’ ultimate goal is to “create a resort environment in an urban setting” with “all natural resources – the water, the park, the High Line.”[4]

Click here to see the twisting towers.


[1] Ouroussoff, Nicolai. (Mar. 22, 2007) “Gehry’s New York Debut: Subdued Tower of Light.” Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/22/arts/design/22dill.html. Accessed on April 25, 2018.

[2] Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/20/realestate/two-twisting-towers-come-to-the-far-west-side.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Frealestate&action=click&contentCollection=realestate&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=6&pgtype=sectionfront. Accessed on April 25, 2018.

[3] Ib.

[4] Ib.

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