BLUE Residential Tower

BLUE by Bernard Tschumi opens on Manhattan’s Lower East Side

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, November 7, 2007 -- After two and a half years of planning, design, and construction, Bernard Tschumi’s BLUE Residential Tower is now open on the Lower East Side. The seventeen-story tower contains thirty-two apartments and rises to a height of 181 feet. This is Tschumi’s first high-rise structure, and his second in New York City, where his main office is located. BLUE also marks Tschumi’s first residential structure.

BLUE Residential Tower Photo: Peter Mauss/ESTO from Bernard Tschumi Architects 071107

Despite the constraints of New York City zoning law and market-driven commercial requirements, Tschumi devised an original envelope pattern and distinctive shape in order to simultaneously conform to a strict building code and differentiate the building from similar high-rise structures. The strategy also creates a highly specific architectural statement that responds to the eclecticism of the historic Lower East Side neighborhood. The building’s signature pixelated façade reflects a mosaic of the diverse community around it while simultaneously blending into the sky, in a way that both echoes and defers to the vibrant dynamism of downtown New York City.

Faced with a series of contradictions--a high-end building with a modest budget, a neighborhood-specific building that would also be visually striking, and a contemporary building for a historically rich part of Manhattan--Tschumi’s BLUE Residential Tower balances the many competing project requirements with thoughtful attention to every facet of the design, from an entrance court at the pedestrian scale of narrow Norfolk Street to the penthouse terrace placed so as to appreciate sunsets over the Hudson River.

Interiors are fitted with bamboo or palm floors, stone counters and tiles, and stainless steel cabinets and appliances, defining simple but elegant spaces, many of which are distinguished by the sloping walls that give the building its dramatic shape. Nearly all of the units were occupied before the building’s official completion. A third floor commercial space that is part of the development, but was not designed by Tschumi, remains under construction and will be completed sometime next year. The BLUE Residential Tower project was developed by Angelo Cosentini and John Carson. Kim Starr directed the project at Bernard Tschumi Architects. Executive Architects were SLCE of New York.

This is Bernard Tschumi’s second building in New York, where he has lived, worked, and taught since 1976. He designed Alfred Lerner Hall at Columbia University, where he served as Dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation from 1988 to 2003.

Bernard Tschumi Architects, based in New York and Paris, is currently putting the finishing touches on the New Acropolis Museum in Athens, where installation of the collection has already begun. Recently inaugurated projects include the ECAL School of Art in Lausanne, Switzerland; a concert hall in Limoges, France; and the Richard E. Lindner Athletics Center at the University of Cincinnati. Current projects include a museum and archaeological park in Alésia, France, a cultural center in Bordeaux-Cenon, and a department store and cultural center in The Hague. The firm has also recently completed the master plan for the Independent Financial Centre of the Americas in the Dominican Republic, and is designing the initial phase. Bernard Tschumi has both French and Swiss nationalities and lives in New York and Paris.

BLUE Residential Tower Photo: Peter Mauss/ESTO from Bernard Tschumi Architects 071107

BLUE Residential Tower - Project Description
A 16 story residential tower with 32 apartments ranging from one and two bedroom units near the base to full floor units higher up, crowned by a two-floor penthouse.

Location: The building is located at 105 Norfolk Street, just north of Delancey Street, in New York City’s vibrant Lower East Side neighborhood.

Client: Angelo Cosentini and John Carson

Design Architect: Bernard Tschumi Architects, New York, NY
Executive Architect: SLCE Architects, New York, NY
Principals in Charge: Bernard Tschumi, Bernard Tschumi Architects Saky Yakas, SLCE Architects

Project Cost: $17 million
Total Project Size: 55,000 sqft
Inauguration Date: Oct 2007

Principal Design Feature: Exterior - The tower cantilevers slightly over an existing commercial building on Delancey Street with air-rights permissions. The shape of the building responds to this cantilever and the zoning rules for the site. The curtainwall system with a “pixelated†glass design is comprised of grey tinted vision glass, spandrel glass in four shades of Blue, and periodic panes of full body blue tinted vision glass. Interior: The sloped curtain-wall is a feature in many of the apartments, and the majority of units have full-height windows in the living and dining rooms.

Principal Materials: Structure - CIP concrete Façade: Curtainwall, insulated glazing and four types of spandrel glass Interiors: Apartments on floors 2-12 have bamboo floors, stone floors and white-tiled walls in the bathroom, white stone kitchen counters, metal and glass upper kitchen cabinets; Tower and Penthouse apartments have palm flooring, stone floors and glass tiled walls in the bathroom, and Boffi kitchens; Common/shared spaces have bamboo wall paneling, stone floors, and back-lit white glass panels.

Existing Structures: The building cantilevers over an existing two story structure. A new third story commercial space was added to the existing structure, and the roof of that third floor is recycled as a large terrace garden for residents of the building.

BLUE Residential Tower images / information from Bernard Tschumi


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