Habitat New York I

New York, New York, 1968

Habitat New York I was designed as luxury housing for a site on the East River, just north of the Mayor’s residence, Gracie Mansion. With shopping facilities, a marina and on-site parking, the project adapted the amenities of Habitat ’67 to the major density constraints of Manhattan. The vertical loads of a high-rise tower demanded different structural strategies from Habitat ’67. The original concept, with varying wall thicknesses and strengths of the structural connections, limited the system to moderate heights. Therefore, for the New York project, fireproofed structural steel frames cast into lightweight concrete membranes form prefabricated unites that were designed to bear loads by virtue of their own geometry. When joined, the octahedral units act as continuous, vertically-inclined space-frame capable of rising 40-storys, spanning the East River Drive, and supporting exterior pedestrian streets carrying mechanical services. Great structural efficiency derives from the geometry of the system, allowing the structural steel members to be only 22 centimeters thick at ground level. Each octahedral structural frame contains a cube: a skylit duplex dwelling open to an outdoor roof garden between the exterior and interior geometries. The units are 9.75 by 9.75 meters, and in clusters of two, the form spacious, luxurious apartments commanding views across both the East River and the Manhattan skyline. Mechanical services occupy crawl space between the floor and bottom apex of each individual octahedron. Shopping and other conveniences form a bridge to 96th Street across the East River Drive.

Project Type: Residential