Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
One Madison Park, New York City
Posted August 2011

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Simply a unique and elegant solution derived without relying on excessive form making to create an ‘identity’ for itself.”
– Gordon Gill, CTBUH 2010 Awards Chair, Adrian Smith + Gordan Gill Architecture 

New York City
189.3 (m) / 621 (ft)
Primary Use

Slazer Enterprises LLC
Design Architect
Structural Engineer
WSP Cantor Seinuk
MG Engineering, P.C.

Bovis Lend Lease Inc.

Figure 1. Building exterior street view

The strong yet simple form of One Madison Park rises from a seemingly impossibly small New York City site, presenting an elegant infill solution for increasing density in our land-constricted cities. The well integrated tower compliments its highly iconic, historic neighbors—Met Life Tower and Flatiron Building. Of similar height and proportion to the Met Life Tower, though strikingly different in appearance, these two towers—built over 100 years apart—play off one another and create an intriguing relationship.

One Madison Park is situated in a unique location on the Manhattan grid, fronting on East 23rd Street, a busy cross town thoroughfare—and at the foot of Madison Avenue, a major north–south thoroughfare that begins at 23rd Street, directly to the north. The tower acts as an axial icon on Madison Avenue, making the tower visible from great distances at the street level. The architectural challenge was to create a modern form that was respectful to the context of the Madison Square Park neighborhood while creating a visual dialogue with the adjacent historical high-rise building such as the Flatiron Building (1902) and the facing Met Life Tower (1909).

Figure 2. Context Plan

In order to allow construction to begin before the site could be entirely cleared it was decided that a portion of the tower would have to cantilever over an existing three-story building adjacent to the tower on its eastern side. The design team seized upon this idea to give the tower its unique configuration. From the main square mast of the tower clad in dark bronze glass, another shaft clad in white and clear glass is partially inserted and cantilevered from the main shaft in blocks ranging from four to six stories. The spaces between these blocks allowed for full floor residences with terraces built out onto the roof of the block below, that wrap around the north and east sides of the apartment.

The tower sits on a five-story base that holds commercial and service uses on the ground floor. Above the first floor, the base incorporates the main mechanical spaces and two levels of amenity spaces for the residents, which includes a fitness center, indoor pool, spa, and a private lounge with a terrace overlooking Madison Park.

Due to the placement of the tower in the middle of the site, each side could have windows opening to expansive views. Lateral bracing usually located around the perimeter was instead placed in the center, forming a cruciform of shear walls, buried between rooms and shafts minimizing the impact to room layouts.
Figure 3. Balcony view of Met Life Tower
This integration of efficient space planning and structure gives each room within the homes an open expansive feeling focused on the city views beyond. High efficiency glazing was incorporated into the exterior skin to reduce solar heat gain with automated solar shading in each living room. An abundance of natural light is brought into every space of the tower which helps to minimize the need for artificial lighting. Due to its perimeter location, even the elevator lobby on every floor has a south facing window to bring in light and views.

The building’s footprint is 15.25m x 16.15m (50ft x 53ft), which with its overall height of 189m (621ft) makes the tower one of the most slender buildings in New York with a height-to-width ratio of 12:1. Therefore, the lateral wind and seismic force-resisting system was the major engineering challenge. Naturally the shear wall stiffness and strength had to be maximized for this slender building while supporting the architectural design. This has been achieved by a combination of optimizing the configuration of the shear walls and using high performance concrete.

Figure 4. Building elevation and structural analysis
Due to its high slenderness ratio, the building’s lateral dynamic movement is mitigated by the design and the incorporation of a Tuned Liquid Damping System to reduce the acceleration of building motions. The system is comprised of three cast-in-place reinforced concrete tanks filled with water and incorporated into the building structure at roof level.  More specifically the tanks are known as Tuned Liquid Column Dampers which are U-shaped to maximize their effect while occupying less floor area. The dampers were designed to provide approximately 3% additional damping to the building, and reduce the building accelerations to acceptable levels.
Figure 5. Overall view in context with the historic Met Life Tower (left) and Flatiron Building (right)

Related Links
CTBUH Skyscraper Center Profile:
Visit One Madison Park profile

One Madison Park was recognized as the Best Tall Building America Finalist in the 2010 CTBUH Awards Program.
Download the One Madison Park 2010 CTBUH Awards Book section

2010 CTBUH Awards Book

The CTBUH would like to thank CetraRuddy for their assistance with this article. Photos and Drawings © CetraRuddy