Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
VIA 57 West: Challenging Building Form and Urban Development in Manhattan
July 9, 2015
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image credit: Matthew Carbone
MANHATTAN — On July 9, more than 200 professionals attended “VIA 57 West: Challenging Building Form and Urban Development in Manhattan.” The event took place at the Bank of America Tower Conference Center, a space generously donated by The Durst Organization.
Bank of America Tower, Young Professionals Committee, private tour group
Prior to the reception and presentation, a group of 25 YPC members got a private tour of the BOA tower. The tour started in the lobby and moved to the sub-basement (three floors down) to see the 44 eight-foot-diameter, insulated CALMAC tanks that collectively provide about a quarter of the building's cooling. The tour continued through the public spaces, and culminated with a visit to the 49th floor of the tower with breathtaking views of Manhattan. 
Networking reception before featured presentations
After, the tour group joined the rest of the attendees for the reception where they had a chance to network over drinks and meet the speakers. Dennis Poon, CTBUH Trustee, Vice Chair of Thornton Tomasetti, made opening remarks and introductions for the event. Mr. Poon talked about CTBUH and the Annual Conference coming up in New York in October. A welcome was done by Alexander Durst, Chief Development Officer, The Durst Organization, and a fourth-generation family member of the real estate company. Mr. Durst noted this was the first time the name of the building was publicly announced. He also talked about the history of the Durst organization and how they got involved with this site where they later built VIA 57. He then discussed the history of the site and the process of various design studies from 1999 until its final design, Mr. Durst also discussed their sustainability strategies for the building.
Alexander Durst, Chief Development Officer, The Durst Organization, giving welcome statement
(from left to Right) Alexander Durst, Chief Development Officer, The Durst Organization, Jared Green, Senior Project Manager, Langan, Bjarke Ingels, founder, BIG, Aine Brazil, Vice Chairman, Thornton Tomasetti, and John Braize during question and answer session.

Next, Mr. Durst invited Bjarke Ingels, founder of BIG, to the stage to talk about the design of VIA 57 West. After briefly talking about BIG’s work style and their firm’s strategy, he presented a few other projects where the design was driven by information. Mr. Ingels talked about design strategies to maximize the efficiency of daylight access and views to Hudson River for residences, while keeping a generous courtyard in the center, which has similar proportions to Central Park. He also talked about the form of the building and how the geometry was resolved.

Aine Brazil, Vice Chairman of Thornton Tomasetti, and John Braize talked about form driven challenges and their strategy on simplifying the structure. She also mentioned the use of parametric design tools to quickly calculate the loads for the constantly changing form.

Lastly, Jared Green, Senior Project Manager in the New York City office of Langan, focused on the VIA 57 West sites history, geologic constraints, and the development of the extensive subsurface investigation required for the project and design of foundation systems.

Bjarke Ingels, founder, BIG and architect of VIA 57 West, presenting keynote presentation
Attendees filling the auditorium during the presentations

Following the presentations, there was an engaging Q&A session.

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