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From Tenth Avenue and West 18th Street From Tenth Avenue and West 18th Street
The multidisciplinary architectural firm Weston Baker Creative Group has drawn up this compelling mixed-use concept along the banks of The High Line. The high-rise would house residences, an art gallery and ten levels of intriguing indoor farming terraces. Proposing a new take on the tower in plaza typology, the 12-story building would be grounded within a grassy plaza where only a small portion of the building's footprint would take up of the 200-foot long site. The tower's concrete base flowers upward until it meets the datum of The High Line walkway. There, a full-floor, glass-enclosed gallery would sit eye-level with the elevated park.
Renderings by Weston Baker Creative Group
Conceptual Elevations
Like Jeanne Gang's planned "Solar Carve Tower" in the Meatpacking District, the tower's form is driven by sunlight. According to Weston Baker's page, "As the sun comes across the sky to the west, the building twists to evenly distribute daylight throughout the day." The southern elevation would host a spectacular enclosed atrium (we have no idea how that glass enclosure would work) where 10 sets of farming terraces would sit and wow High Line passersby. The farm terraces would be accessible by residents of the apartments on each floor, says the firm. They go on to say, "There is a public observation garden on the top floor and an art gallery on the second floor, both accessible from The High Line."
Concept Diagram
Judging by the fantastical form of the building within West Chelsea's strict zoning guidelines, the amount of space devoted to public use (usually a no-no for New York residential developers), and that the High Line prohibits direct access to private properties alongside it, it's safe to say this scheme is conceptual. However, something above par may indeed be in the works. In 2015, the New York Post learned that Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, founding partner of Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), will be designing a project at the site.
In early 2014, Crain's New York reported that the leading luxury development firm Related Companies had purchased two West Chelsea development sites for $205 million which is more than $700 per square foot, a neighborhood record at the time. The two parcels are along Tenth Avenue and West 18th Street, and are bisected by the High Line. The eastern parcel is a surface parking lot at 131 Tenth Avenue with frontages on both West 18th and 19th Streets. The western parcel is a mid-block, 2-story garage building at 511 West 18th Street.
Looking down at the eastern portion of Related's parcel
Neither construction or demolition permits have been filed at the sites, and the parking lot remains open. Related has been busy constructing their massive Hudson Yards project a dozen blocks north, and is also busy wrapping their curvy condo building at 520 West 28th Street, designed by Zaha Hadid. Across Tenth Avenue from the farm-terrace site will be SHoP's, and the small building's at the lot are being vacated in preparation for demolition. Directly south of the lot, is HFZ's proposed torquing mixed use development penned by Bjarke Ingels. Groundwork at that site is ongoing.
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