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Inside the New West Side Rentals Sheathed by an Exoskeleton

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All photos by Will Femia.

Handel Architects' exoskeleton-clad building at 170 Amsterdam Avenue is one of the most interesting new buildings in the city, but the zig-zagging skin is more than just a cool-looking facade. Moving the support columns to the exterior freed up interior space, allowing for the 236 rental apartments to be as roomy as possible. At 490 square feet, the smallest studios are not exactly micro units, but the lack of interior columns allows for a completely open 21-foot-long living space. Yes, the columns partially block the view, but with floor-to-ceiling windows in every apartment, that's not a problem. Equity Residential started leasing in March, and move-ins began May 1. The building is about 20 percent leased, and the studios, like the one pictured above, have been one of the more popular apartments.

The model units are located on the eighth floor of the 20-story building. Unit 8D is a 485-square-foot studio, that is downright spacious. It has a full kitchen with more storage than many one- or two-bedroom apartments, as well as full-sized appliances, including a dishwasher. All apartments have a washer/dryer, wood flooring, and quartz counters.

Rents are not cheap. The model studio is asking $3,580 per month, but there are cheaper options on lower floors. StreetEasy shows a studio on the third floor asking $3,265. The priciest options are three-bedroom apartments on higher floors. There's a 1,500-square-foot three-bedroom on the 15th floor asking $14,995 per month, and a similarly-size three-bedroom with a private terrace on the 14th floor listed for $17,995 per month.

· 170 Amsterdam Avenue [official]
· All Renters Week 2015 coverage [Curbed]
· All 170 Amsterdam Avenue coverage [Curbed]