56 Leonard Street. New York
56 Leonard Street by Herzog & de Meuron is a high-rise residential tower. The project is conceived as a vertical volume that houses different apartments, each one with individual conditions. The units differentiation creates a pixelated facade that shapes all the tower.
The architects' intention is to preserve the celebratory spirit of traditional skyscrapers while introducing new structural possibilities and suggesting fresh ways for people inside such towers to relate to their city. Inspired by the permeability and spatial qualities of Modernist houses and the great American dream of a customized home, Herzog & de Meuron has replaced the usual extrusion of standardized skyscraper floor plates with a staggered progression of structural slabs turning slightly off axis by degrees as they ascend, creating constant variety among the apartment floor plans. This structural arrangement of floor plates at 56 Leonard Street will create an irregular flurry of cantilevered terraces up and down the building, making plays of light and shadow that give the tower a shimmering, animated appearance on the skyline and widely varying interiors.
56 Leonard Street contains five key zones ascending from street to sky: lobby, “townhouse” residences, amenities, tower residences, and penthouses.
Appearing to rest upon Anish Kapoor's sculpture, the base of 56 Leonard Street will have the appearance of a stack of cantilevering volumes with varying degrees of transparency and opacity. This section of the building contains a dramatic doubleheight, 1,600-square-foot lobby with an entrance on Leonard Street adjacent to a verdant exterior vertical garden to the west. Sheathed in gleaming black granite, 4 of 7 the lobby space includes stations for a 24-hour doorman and concierge, with customdesigned reception desks by Herzog & de Meuron; private residents’ mail, package and refrigerated storage room; custom-designed visitor seating fixtures; and two separate elevator landings with a total of seven elevators featuring interiors designed by the architects.
Above the 18-foot-high black granite-walled lobby are several floors of residences that relate very directly to the immediate scale and panorama of the neighborhood (homes known by the architects as “the townhouses”) and two full floors of amenities spaces custom-designed to the last detail by Herzog & de Meuron. These include an 75-foot infinity edge pool, one of Manhattan’s largest, surrounded by a black terrazzo deck inlaid with spherical glass aggregate. An adjoining outdoor sundeck cantilevers 20 feet over the block to provide extraordinary Tribeca views and a sense of connection to the district. Other amenities include a fitness center with yoga studio, wet and dry spa features and terrace; a library lounge; a screening room; a private dining/conference room; and a Tribeca Tot Room for children’s play and family activities. Every angle and structural element has been designed to create visual access to the cityscape for those inside the building and aesthetic excitement for passersby on the street.
Floors eight through forty-five at 56 Leonard Street containing the building’s twoto five-bedroom residences.
In each residence, grand glass doors of up to 12 feet in height lead to private outdoor spaces outfitted with travertine pavers, a frameless balustrade and customdesigned handrail. Balconies and terraces are arranged in varied schemes that provide uninterrupted views of the city, its flanking rivers and New York Harbor, and saturate living spaces with light. Interior details, sharply refined by Herzog & de Meuron, enhance the perception of spatial flow and an atmosphere of harmony.
The building’s exposed exterior concrete is complemented indoors by a subtle neutral palette of extremely sensual materials. Champagne colored window mullions, satin etched glass, natural pale solid woods, travertine, Thassos marble, polished 5 of 7 metals, black granite and high gloss black lacquer accents are part of a supercustomized, luxurious package of finishes chosen to complement furniture and art.
Extending the assertive sculptural character of the building’s exterior to key interior details, Herzog & de Meuron has conceived several signature sculptural fixtures for the homes at 56 Leonard Street. Fireplace hearths soar from floor to ceiling, crafted by the architects in high-gloss white-enameled steel. Derived from pragmatic architectural functions, this monumental freestanding sculptural element anchors the great room and provides a dramatic focal point while reflecting and diffusing ambient light.
For 56 Leonard Street kitchens, Herzog & de Meuron have designed a special prep and dining island fitted with a high-gloss black lacquer base and enhanced honed black granite countertop – a feature with the alluring curves of a grand piano or an elliptical lozenge – accompanied by a custom hood either sculpted from the wall or descending from the ceiling. Generous cooking and entertaining spaces are complemented by top line appliances integrated into custom cabinetry and sleek, minimal glass cabinets designed by the architects. Bathrooms at 56 Leonard Street are similarly meticulous in detail. Curving spaces enclose custom Herzog & de Meuron marble mosaic-tiled walls, vanities, cast six-foot oval soaking tub, shower, cabinetry and fixtures, all planned in relation to expansive windows framing views in the most private area of the home.
The building’s dramatic nine-story crown contains its apex penthouses – eight occupying full floors and two occupying half floors – will appear on the Manhattan skyline as a chimerical geometric sculpture of stacked, glimmering glass volumes. Ranging in size from approximately 3,650 to almost 6,380 square feet, these aeries embrace the outdoors through expansive private terraces of up to 1,700 square feet. Penthouses are accessed by private elevator. Soaring window walls rise to 14 feet and open onto panoramas of the city and sky.
Summarizing their design, Herzog & de Meuron has said, “We approached the design process for 56 Leonard Street from the inside out, from the homes themselves. But we also considered the outside in terms of the Tribeca neighborhood. Here you have the small townhouses, the old manufacturing buildings, and the high-rise buildings, but also a lot of little corners and surprising things between. The different scales characterize the neighborhood and we wanted to establish a dialogue among them. For us, creating a building is a research process. We call it a journey.”