Danish Creation VIA 57, The pyramid-shaped tetrahedron
VIΛ 57WEST is the name of a countryside building designed by the Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group(BIG). The pyramid-shaped tower block or "tetrahedron" rises 467 ft (142 m) and 35 stories tall and is located on West 57th Street in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, New York City. According to The New York Times, the name was chosen "because of the southbound West Side Highway. slopes down as drivers enter the city, right at the spot where the building is situated", serving as an entrance to Manhattan "via 57th".VIΛ 57 West, designed by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group for the Durst Organization, announce a new typology to New York City: the Courtscraper. The 830 000 sq ft highrise blend the density of the American skyscraper with the communal space of the European courtyard, offering 709 residential units with a lush 22 000 sq ft garden at the heart of the building.
It occupies a full city block at the corner of West 57th Street and the West Side Highway, with constant views towards the Hudson River Park and the waterfront. The Durst Organization instructed BIG to design a building for the site in the spring of 2010, and construction begins in 2011. The 32-story building has welcomed residents since May 2016 with the construction completing this Fall. Earlier this year, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) named VIA the best tall building in the Americas as part of its 2016 Tall Buildings Award. This Courtscraper is a hybrid between the European perimeter block and the traditional American highrise. The building peaks at 450 feet at its north-east corner, thereby maximizing the number of apartments and graciously preserving the adjacent Helena Tower's views of the river. VIΛ's volume changes depending on the viewer's vantage point. From the west, it is a hyperbolic paraboloid or a warped pyramid. From the east, the Courtscraper appears to be a slender spire.
A shared green space at the heart of the block is copied from the classic Copenhagen ‘urban oasis’.The courtyard has the exact same proportions as Olmsted's park, just 13,000 times smaller – a bonsai Central Park. In a similar accumulation of natural landscapes, the courtyard transforms from a shaded forest in the east to a sunny meadow in the west. Designed by landscape architecture firm Starr Whitehouse, it features 80 newly planted trees and lawns, and 47 species of native plant material.
In recent decades, some of the most interesting urban developments have come in the form of nature and public space, reinserting themselves back into the postindustrial pockets, freeing up around the city; the pedestrianization of Broadway & Times Square; the bicycle lanes, the High Line and the industrial piers turning into parks. Located at the northern tip of the Hudson River Park, VIΛ continues this process of greenification allowing open space to invade the urban fabric of the Manhattan city grid. In an unlikely fusion of what seems to be two mutually exclusive typologies – the courtyard and the skyscraper, the Courtscraper is the most recent addition to the Manhattan skyline.” Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.
The building also features a complementing eight-story sculpture by Stephen Glassman entitled “Flows Two Ways,” anchored on the façade of the adjacent Helena tower. Once completed, the ground floor commercial space will host such public amenities as a restaurant from the Livanos Restaurant Group, a Landmark Theatres movie cinema and the first U.S. retail store for the American Kennel Club.