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520 West 28th Street: Review and Ratings

between High Line & Eleventh Avenue View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 520 West 28th Street by Carter Horsley

A swirl of glass with a center vortex of intersecting dark steel bands, this 11-story residential condominium building at 520 West 28th Street between the High Line and 11th Avenue is the first New York City building designed by Zaha Hadid, the first woman winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize and the world’s most famous female architect.  She died in 2016 at the age of 65. 

The striking and curvaceous building has 39 apartments and adjoins the High Line Elevated Park. 

It was developed by The Related Companies.

Bottom Line

Like all designs by Zaha Hadid, this swoosh structure by the High Line is dizzying and dramatic and aerodynamically a bit tipsy with rounded glass balcony railings in two wings that differ in height.  The visual impact is very energetic, like a slinky.


An April 5, 2017 article by Hadley Keller at described the building as "sculpture inhabited," adding that “That's how Tiago Correia, the U.S. director of Zaha Hadid Architects describes his firm's condo building at 520 West 28th Street. "We made a building that very deliberately blurs the lines between art and architecture," he explained. 

The building’s form has an energetic dynamic accented by its curved edges that converge in whirlpool fashion at the intersection of the building’s main wings. 

"For a pedestrian, the High Line creates a new way to see the city," Mr. Correia explained. "For the first time, pedestrians can see it from an elevated perspective, as though they were on an urban balcony. So this sense of layering is something we tried to develop in the project."

The broad horizontal windows in this building end in curves or sharp angles that meet in the building’s center like a zipper. The building’s form is quite complex with some balconies not extending as far out from the building as others and some being shorter than others and some having narrowing curves that “thin out.” 

The result is a strong sense of movement and Hadid also designed the interiors.  The concierge desk slants inwards and spills over and is contained in an angled and curved opening and the lobby’s ceiling have similarly curved and angled coffers and columns in the space have slightly angled tops and bottoms.  

As “duckie” commented on a long article on the building in New York Magazine by Carl Swanson July 14, 2013, “it looks like a super-high-tech yacht.  I’d never want to live there, but it’s incredibly cool,” leading another commenter, Fidelio, to proclaim it “downright sexy.” 

Another commenter asked if “the pointy ends of the rooms just wasted space (or is it her fantasy Stiletto Platform heel Storage)…and do all the pencils and lipsticks roll towards the center of the building?” 

And one commenter started to ponder “zoomy” buildings. 

One can’t knock any building that elicits such strong responses…. 

The building’s overall aesthetic does not come altogether like her very fine, syncopated residential complex at CityLife in Milan, Italy that was completed in 2013 with asymmetrically scalloped edges and openings.  The balconies have low glass railings with rounded corners that  echo the large curved glass corner windows that are impressive but the glass railings clash as bit and interrupt the balconies’ flow. 

Furthermore, the windows pleat near the center intersection with one’s near the center rising upwards and those coming away from the High Line dipping a bit into “soft” arrowheads.  The resulting composition is furious, especially because the inner windows morph into large semi-circular ends as they emerge in the south wing where they “kiss” similarly shaped ends of that wing’s curved glass ends.  The meeting of the large curved edges is rather chunky compared to the sharpness of the façade “meshing” in the middle of the east wing.

To Hadid’s credit, the building’s entrance is quite dashing with a broader curve and a slashing and then marquee heading off to the east in a break with the façade’s regular spacing. 


The building has a double-height lobby, a garden, a 75-foot-long indoor pool and spa, an automated garage, a concierge, a fitness center, and a 12-seat IMAX theater.


Apartments have 10-foot-high ceilings, Boffi kitchen cabinetry and Gaggenaus kitchen appliances.  Bathrooms have electochromic glass that “frosts” for privacy. 

A July 29, 2014 article by Hana R. Roberts at about the “swooping, spaceship building” noted that the kitchen has “a central island that looks just about as undulating as you’d imagine,” adding that “the downlights integrated into the ceiling panels follow the geometry created by the architecture” and “there’s a geometrically incomprehensible faucet, because, you know, Zaha!” 

Penthouse 37 is a three-level unit with 6,853 square feet of interior space and 2,552 square feet of outdoor space with 5 bedrooms and a 10-foot-wide entrance gallery that leads to a 51-foot-wide great room adjacent to a 29-foot-wide kitchen, a 14-foot-wide library, a bedroom and a 50-foot-long balcony on the upper level, a 27-foot-long roof pavilion and four bedrooms and a 50-foot-long balcony on the lower level.  This apartment has a very lovely staircase with solid white walls topped by clear glass tapering in height and topped by a thin grey rail.  The tapering dynamic is particularly effective whereas the cutaway breakfast bar in the open kitchen is not as handsome. 

Residence 32 is a four-bedroom unit with 4,460 square feet of interior space and 2,040 square feet of outdoor space with a and entry foyer that leads past a 23-foot-wide kitchen to a 34-foot-long great room with a 68-foot-long terrace that turns a corner to a 28-foot-long terrace and a 16-foot-lomng terraced garden that is adjacent to a 15-foot-wide family room. 

Residence 15 is a five-bedroom unit with a 29-foot-long entrance gallery that leads past an enclosed 21-foot-long, windowed kitchen with an island and a 19-foot-long family room that to a 31-foot-long great room with a 26-foot-wide balcony. 

Residence 4 is a 3-bedroom unit with 3,632 square feet of interior space and 253 square feet of outdoor space with a 34-foot-long great room with and open kitchen with an island next to a 12-foot-wide study and a 29-foot-wide balcony. 

Residence 9 is a two-bedroom unit with 2,147 square feet of interior space and 162 square feet of outdoor space with a 29-foot-long great room with an open kitchen with an island and a 29-foot-wide balcony. 

Residence 26 is a corner two-bedroom unit with 1,717 square feet of interior space and 198 square feet of outdoor space with a 9-foot-long entrance gallery that leads to a 39-foot-long great room with an open kitchen with an island. 


Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 31 / 44

Out of 36

Location Rating: 29 / 36

Out of 39

Features Rating: 26 / 39


CityRealty Rating Reference

  • 30+ remarkable
  • 20-29 distinguished
  • 11-19 average
  • < 11 below average
  • 27+ remarkable
  • 18-26 distinguished
  • 9-17 average
  • < 9 below average
  • 22+ remarkable
  • 16-21 distinguished
  • 9-15 average
  • < 9 below average
  • #11 Rated condo in Manhattan
  • #5 Rated condo - Downtown
  • #2 Rated condo - Chelsea
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Key Details
Front & York
at York Street corner of Front Street
Manhattan views and Brooklyn character, 1 - 4-bed condos from $995K, 150,000-sf of indoor and outdoor amenities.
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