NEW YORK – A skyscraper in the Manhattan skyline stands out from the crowd. It’s not the longest, but it’s the thinnest – in fact, the thinnest in the world.
The 84-story Steinway Tower, designed by New York architectural firm SHoP Architects, has been dubbed “the world’s thinnest skyscraper” for its irrational width-to-height ratio of 23 1/2 to 1.
“Any time it’s 1 to 10 or more, it counts as a thin building; 1 to 15 or more is considered exotic and really difficult to achieve,” said Greg Pasquerelli, founding director of Shop Architects. “The thinnest buildings in the world are mostly in Hong Kong, and they’re about 17 or 18 by 1.”
The 60 apartments in the tower cost between $18 million and $66 million per unit and offer 360-degree views of the city. It is south of Central Park on a stretch of Manhattan’s 57th Street known as “Billionaire Row”.
At 1,428 feet (435 m), the building is the second tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere, second only to the nearby Central Park Tower at 1,550 feet (470 m). For comparison: The tallest tower in the world is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai at 828 m.
The Steinway Tower is so thin at the top that the luxury houses on the upper floors shake a few meters in strong winds.
“Every skyscraper has to move,” said Pasquarelli. “If it’s too rigid, it’s actually more dangerous — it needs to be flexible.”
To prevent the tower from drifting too far, the architects created a counterweight with coordinated steel plates. And while the exterior has de rigueur reflective glass, it also features a textured terracotta and bronze facade that creates air turbulence to slow the building’s acceleration, Pasquarelli said. About 200 rock anchors are lowered into the underlying corner stone at a maximum height of 30 m in order to create a deep foundation.
Steinway Tower has a long history as the former site of Steinway Hall, built in 1924. JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group bought the building in 2013 and are now looking to the future.
“I hope that in 50 years you will only know New York from 111 West 57th St,” said Pasquarelli. “I hope it holds a special place in the hearts of all future New Yorkers.”
AP contributor Aaron Ranan contributed to this report.