In just two months, many of the public pieces of the Hudson Yards megaproject—high-end shops and upscale restaurants, a park, Thomas Heatherwick’s 150-foot-tall “public landmark,” now known as New York’s Staircase—will debut, bringing the $20 billion development into its next phase.
But a milestone is set to be hit even sooner than that: Closings at 15 Hudson Yards, the condo tower designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Rockwell Group (with Ismael Leyva Architects as the architect of record), are due to begin in the next few weeks. The first Hudson Yards residents will be moving in soon after.
In advance of that, the architects and developer Related gave press a preview of the skyscraper, one of the megaproject’s more elegant buildings. David Rockwell, the president of the eponymous design firm, led a tour of the posh amenities on the tower’s 50th and 51st floors, which include a coworking area, a private dining room, a screening room, wine storage, a 75-foot swimming pool, a gym curated by the Wright Fit, and yes, even more. (A sky-high outdoor terrace, alas, was not part of the tour.)
These spaces are luxurious, but comfortable and understated, incorporating materials like silver oak flooring and Portuguese limestone; Apparatus, the New York-based design studio, crafted the modern light fixtures. But, as Rockwell said, “the view is the thing,” and each space has floor-to-ceiling windows that emphasize the panoramic (and rarefied) views of Manhattan.
Two model apartments, located on the building’s 25th floor, were also on display; a three-bedroom was staged in understated style by Elena Frampton, while a more maximalist two-bedroom was designed by Ken Downing, the fashion director at Nieman Marcus (whose first New York City outpost will be located at Hudson Yards’s upscale mall—synergy!).
The near-completion of the building is the culmination of a decade of work by DS+R and Rockwell Group, which first began its work on the Shed—the multidisciplinary arts center that abuts 15 Hudson Yards—back in 2008. The two structures are quite different, but also complement one another; for DS+R founding principal Liz Diller, the chance to design a residential skyscraper—a first for the firm—was also a chance to expand on the context the firm has created with the Shed and the High Line, one of its marquee projects.
“[At] first we thought, ‘This is not what we do. This is not in our wheelhouse,’” Diller says of designing 15 Hudson Yards. “Then we decided, ‘Hey we really want a good neighbor. We really want a nice building next to us.’”
Now that the building is nearly finished, Diller is happy that the firm took a chance on something new. “I teach at Princeton and whether I’m coming in on George Washington Bridge or the Holland Tunnel or the Lincoln Tunnel, or from a little bit further away, you can see this—that’s my building,” she says. “It’s an incredible feeling. It was really like an out of body experience, and something that you don’t get when you do one building some place with other kinds of cultural projects that we do. They’re very localized, but this is something else. It’s a very powerful experience.”