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(l-r) Centurion, Metal Shutters House, and 152 Elizabeth Street (l-r) Centurion, Metal Shutters House, and 152 Elizabeth Street
May 1, 2023 marks the beginning of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. May was chosen in honor of the arrival of the first Japanese to the United States in the mid-19th century, and it is now a time to celebrate the contributions that generations of AAPIs have made to American history and culture. That can certainly be seen throughout New York City in the form of food, fashion, art, music, and architecture. We look at New York City residential buildings designed by notable AAPI architects. These are some of the city’s most in-demand buildings – only a small handful of apartments for sale and rent may be found among the six buildings featured below!

I.M. Pei

I.M. Pei
Pritzker Prize laureate I.M. Pei is best known for the glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris, the East Building at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. In addition to the Silver Towers complex at New York University, he has designed a small number of residential buildings in New York City

1 unit | 4 stories
Renovated by I.M. Pei

11-Sutton-Place-01 11 Sutton Place (Christie's International Real Estate)
Sutton Place townhouses I.M. Pei (Wiki Commons); 11 Sutton Place
NYC townhouses
Beekman Place townhouses
11 Sutton Place
This article will focus on multi-family New York City buildings, but an exception must be made for the Sutton Place townhouse where Mr. Pei and his wife, Eileen, lived for 45 years. During that time, Mr. Pei’s renovations to the house included installing dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows to overlook a shared back garden, designing soapstone mantles for three of the four fireplaces, and putting in a dramatic spiral staircase and an oblong skylight above it. When he wasn’t enhancing his home, he was working on his designs in his home study.

The Peis bought the house for $215,000 (not a typo!) in the early 1970s, and it sold for $8,600,000 in September 2021. At that time, the listing agent told The Wall Street Journal, “I.M. Pei and his legacy definitely played a big part in the marketability of the house.”

33 West 56th Street
48 units | 17 stories
Completed in 2009
2 availabilities from $1,488,000

33-West-56th-Street-01 Centurion (Douglas Elliman)
Midtown West condos
NYC condos
When the supertalls of Billionaires’ Row were still on the drawing board, the Pei-designed Centurion brought a touch of celebrity architect stardust to what was then a ho-hum section of Midtown West. While not the tallest building on its block, it stands out in the streetscape for its soft limestone facade, cascading terraces, and five “lanterns,” as Pei described the five double-height windows. Interiors feature high ceilings, teak floors, and custom kitchens.

300-343 East 33rd Street
1,100+ units | 21 stories
Completed in 1961
4 availabilities for rent from $2,900/month

300-353-East-33rd-Street-01 Kips Bay Towers (Keller Williams)
Kips Bay condos
NYC condos
Kips Bay is in the midst of a residential renaissance that has attracted acclaimed architects, and Mr. Pei was an early entrant with the four-building Kips Bay Towers complex. An early plan called for six buildings, but Pei wanted fewer so as to create more open space; decades later, the three-acre private garden is one of the chief selling points. It is surrounded by four buildings with oversized picture windows and minimalist-style facades.

Shigeru Ban

Shigeru Ban
When Japanese-born architect Shigeru Ban was named the Pritzker Prize laureate of 2014, the committee cited the Centre Pompidou-Metz in France and his imaginative disaster relief shelters all over the world. However, his esteemed portfolio includes two of New York's most eye-catching downtown buildings.

524 West 19th Street
9 units | 11 stories
Completed in 2008
1 availability for rent for $15,000/month

524-West-19th-Street-01 Metal Shutter Houses (Douglas Elliman)
West Chelsea condos
NYC condos
In a neighborhood that has attracted no shortage of acclaimed architects from all over the world, the Ban-designed Metal Shutter House stands out for the perforated metal shutters that open and close across the entire breadth of the full-floor apartments inside. Not only does this create seamless indoor-outdoor living space, but the opening and closing of the shutters changes the look of the building as a whole.

67 Franklin Street
13 units | 8 stories
Converted in 2014

67-Franklin-Street-01 Cast Iron House (Serhant)
Tribeca lofts
Tribeca condos
Metal Shutter Houses (see above) was Pritzker Prize laureate Mr. Ban’s first condominium in the United States, but not the last: When a Tribeca cast-iron textile factory was converted to condos in the early 2010s, the developers brought Mr. Ban on to revamp the interiors as a whole and add two setback stories for a pair of penthouses on top. The Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously approved the project, calling it “lyrical, beautiful, and rigorous,” and the finished penthouses feature movable walls of glass that open onto private terraces.

Tadao Ando

Tadao Ando
Pritzker Prize laureate Tadao Ando's works throughout the United States include the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis, and the Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts. However, his first residential work in the United States may be found in New York City.

7 units | 7 stories
Completed in 2018

152-Elizabeth-Street-01 152 Elizabeth Street (The Modlin Group)
Nolita condos
NYC condos
Nolita is one of New York’s busiest and most exciting downtown neighborhoods, but one would never know that at 152 Elizabeth Street, which its Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Tadao Ando, has said “should give a quiet feeling” (h/t World Architecture). The building features a Zen-inspired minimalist facade as well as a living ivy wall. Only seven custom-crafted units allow for optimal privacy, and all enjoy private keyed elevator access, oversized windows, and peaceful interiors.

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