Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
New York by Gehry Tour

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New York City’s latest addition to the downtown skyline is a 76-story tall residential tower which, as the name suggest, has been named after the architect. The tower is Frank Gehry’s first residential skyscraper. As is typical for Gehry’s deconstructive design, the façade suggests that a cloth has been loosely draped over the T-shaped structure of the tower, creating a rippling effect across the facades. This gives the building its distinctive look and is the reason why almost no two floor plans are exactly the same. Reaching 265 meters (870-feet) high, New York by Gehry is the 11th tallest residential tower in the world and the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere. The tower contains only rental units (903 in total), something of a rarity in New York’s Financial District.

New York by Gehry

Although rarely pictured from the south, the façade facing Beekman Street has been clad with straight panels. During the tour we reasoned that this was perhaps because the south facade faces New York City’s downtown, and as such it reflects the city’s boxy buildings. The tower is an excellent example of a building which focuses its architectural expression on the design of the façade. Because of its architectural quality, New York by Gehry appears to join forces with the famous and nearby Woolworth Building in the downtown skyline, instead of competing with it. It shows once again that one really has to visit a building before being able to judge the total impact of it.While visiting the roof of the tower, some were surprised to find two wooden water tanks, which are, of course, a very familiar presence in the New York City skyline. Although sometimes installed for decorative reasons, the water tanks on top of New York by Gehry tower serve the classical purpose of pressurizing the water distribution system, thereby preventing the need for excessively high pressures at lower levels. Fascinated by the topic, we later found out that every building of at least 24.5 meters (80 feet) tall in New York City must have a water reservoir to meet local fire codes.

Water tanks on the roof View from New York by Gehry
Prof. Kim thanking Joseph Rechichi of Forest City Rather for the tour
View from the roof of New York by Gehry

New York by Gehry has a public elementary school on the industrial brick podium of the building, covering 9,300 square meters (100,000 square feet) of the first five floors of the building. A fourth floor roof deck will hold 460 square meters (5,000 square feet) of outdoor play space.

We were kindly shown around the building by Joseph Rechichi of the Brooklyn-based developer Forest City Ratner, and Michael Budd from Permasteelisa, an architectural engineering, manufacturing and installation company based in Vittorio Veneto, Italy.

Left to right: Antony Wood, Javier Quintana de Uña, Maciej Cichy, Marshall Gerometta, Patrick Bayard, Sejung Kat Park, Dario Trabucco, Alexandra Pollock, Julie Hiromoto, Michael Budd, Joseph Rechichi, Sang Dae Kim and Karel Vollers.

More information on New York by Gehry can be found in our Tall Buildings Database.

The tour of the World Trade Center was one of a number of New York City skyscraper tours organized during the 3rd meeting of the Research, Academic and Postgraduate Working Group in the first week of April 2011.