NEW YORK | 53W53 (Tower Verre) | 1,050 FT | 73 FLOORS

Continuing the discussion from NEW YORK | 57th Street Corridor “Billionaires Row”:

Tower de Verre ~ 53 West 53rd


Official Name: 53 West 53rd
Former / Other Names: Tour de Verre, Tower Verre, MOMA Tower
Type: building
Status: Proposed
Country: United States
State: New York
City: New York City
Street Address: 53 West 53rd Street (Map)
Building Function: residential / hotel / exhibition
Structural Material: concrete
Proposed: 2007
Start of Construction: 2014
Completion: 2017


Height: Architectural: 320.0 meter / 1050 feet
Height: To Tip: 320.0 meter / 1050 feet
Floors Above Ground: 77
Floors Below Ground: 3
No. of Apartments: 180

Companies Involved

Owners: Goldman Sachs; Pontiac Land Group
Developer: Gerald D Hines Interests


Design: Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Architect of Record: AAI Architects, P.C.
Structural Engineer: WSP Cantor Seinuk

Older rendering:


Can’t wait till this starts! Lots of document activity the last few days!

New Sched A:

I walked by on July 14th and observed an excavator, and I noted that they have begun tearing up the asphalt.


Does anyone know where they put all the excavated dirt and rock that gets dug-up for towers? Does it get dumped into the ocean?

When this beauty finally gets off the ground, I’ll be at peace. :smile:

28th of July, 2014


Moving along nicely. Can’t wait.

At times they recycle it. One good purpose of it is to use it to restore coast lines. Barrier Islands for example can greatly use the extra material from the dirt, to the heavy sedimentary and igneous rock.


Me too, amigo. This will be great.


New DOB Diagram and Proposed Floor Plan


August 30 2014


Excavation Begins at 53 West 53rd Street, former Tower Verre


53 West 53rd Street, photo by Tectonic

Amidst the trials of Amanda Burden, the recession and the American Folk Art Museum controversy, 53 West 53rd Street has been a long time coming. Finally, dirt is now moving, and excavation for the Jean Nouvel-designed supertall is underway, as visible in the above photo, sent in by Tectonic.

The finished product will stand 1,050 feet tall – which would have, back when it was approved, made it the tallest residential building in Manhattan. It was originally slated to be 200 feet taller, but in an arbitrary decision that seems even more absurd today given the rise of even taller as-of-right towers on 57th Street, the “Torre Verre” was beheaded by Amanda Burden’s Department of City Planning.

Hines is developing the skyscraper, which will house an expansion for the Museum of Modern Art inside its lower floors. The Torre Verre moniker has been dropped as the development has moved closer to the marketing phase, with 53 West 53rd Street now favored instead.

Building permits for construction were filed back in July, and per The Real Deal, there will be 140 apartments. Fifty-third Street is emerging as a premium street for luxury condominiums, and a penthouse at the Baccarat Tower, at 20 West 53rd Street, is currently listed for $60 million.

Midtown Skyline & 53 West 53rd Street at center-right, image originally by DBOX

53 West 53rd Street is expected to be finished sometime in 2017.


Looking like a construction site now :smile:

DSCN4170 by freenycpics, on Flickr

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website here

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Midtown Condo, Brooklyn ‘Lab’

In an industrial section of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where the street ends at the waterfront, an unassuming door opens to a cold and cavernous warehouse. There, beyond a labyrinth of boxes and dark hallways, lies an unexpected piece of Midtown Manhattan: a full-scale mock-up of a $10 million apartment planned for 53W53, an ultraluxury residential tower being built next to the Museum of Modern Art.

Complete with a gleaming metal and glass facade, the prototype seems as if it had been sliced from a skyscraper and plunked down on the gritty warehouse floor. But prospective buyers won’t be touring this model unit. It was built as a laboratory of sorts, to work out any kinks presented by the unusual architectural elements of 53W53, an asymmetrical 1,050-foot high tower designed by Jean Nouvel that will taper as it rises like a shard of glass.

Thierry W. Despont, the French-born designer based in TriBeCa whose résumé includes the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and, currently, the interiors of the Woolworth Tower Residences, is crafting the interiors of the 140 condominiums for 53W53, which will rise at 53 West 53rd Street.

Welcome to our playground,” he said, during a recent visit to the Brooklyn warehouse. “Many people do model apartments when they have a finished product. This is way beyond that.”

Unlike most buildings, which hide support columns within their interiors, 53W53 will have an exposed diagonal structural network, known as a diagrid, incorporated into a sloping glass facade. From the outside, this geometric pattern makes for a striking architectural statement. On the inside it causes windows to tilt inward, blinds to hang off-kilter, and columns to traverse exposures at a slant. Further complicating design matters is the tower’s tapering effect, which occurs at varying angles, shrinking each floor by roughly two feet as the building gets taller.

“Can you imagine?” said David Penick, the managing director at Hines, which is developing the tower with partners, Goldman Sachs and the Pontiac Land Group of Singapore. “As the walls taper up, you can’t even keep the same basic plan. You have to move a bathroom or a kitchen. It’s very complicated.”

Hence, the warehouse model, or “the lab,” as the design team refers to it.

Set on a plywood platform, the model unit approximates what a two-bedroom two-and-a-half-bath apartment on the 32nd floor will look like. The developers chose to build this particular unit because they felt it would allow them to examine most of the challenges posed by the building’s unusual design. At one end, stage lights shine on the exterior facade. At another, a carpenter’s workshop sits adjacent to the entryway to the model — a tall, thick walnut door with an onyx side panel backlit to give off a warm glow.

“This is going to be a bronze frame,” said Mr. Despont, describing the entryway. “This will be a little model of the building,” he added, pointing to the entry doorknob.

Inside the unit, a sprawling living and dining area, encased in glass, connects to a kitchen, which can be sectioned off with sliding pocket doors. Bedrooms are nicely split off the foyer. The en-suite master bath features dual vanities with round medicine cabinets and a deep soaking tub, lit from underneath to create a floating effect.

But like a stage set for a play, and unlike actual model units, many of the details are purely cosmetic. Whitewashed plywood stands in for high-end kitchen appliances. A wall in the master bath, splashed with paint for effect, represents one of three marbles that will adorn the space.

The point of the laboratory was more about function than finish, said Mr. Despont, who compared the process to haute couture. “Before a couturier does the real dress they wrap and stitch the models in muslin, pinching there and saying, ‘No, let’s loosen the pins in the back,’ ” he said. “That’s what we’re doing here.”

Movable columns that lean slightly askew were constructed to allow Mr. Despont and his design team to see how they might fall across a window and make tweaks wherever necessary to floor plans to capitalize on views and layouts. Automatic window shades were fitted with guide wires and calibrated to eliminate any gaps created at the base of angled windows — a technique borrowed from high-end yachts. The air-conditioning was concealed behind a detailed cornice to make sure it fit in the ceiling of the adjoining room.

Three samples of parquet flooring were laid out and stained to see which worked best next to the geometry of the windows. Herringbone was nixed in favor of straight, wide oak panels with a border running perpendicular and stained a slightly different hue.

“The challenge was to find a vocabulary that befit the architecture of Jean Nouvel,” Mr. Despont said. “I think we’ve been successful. You have all the function of a classically designed apartment in a very contemporary building.”

Decisions were also made about more subtle issues. So as not to interrupt the large windows, which measure 11 feet high and nearly 6 feet wide and cannot be opened, a ventilation system was designed for the adjacent wall panels. A recessed panel was rejected in favor of one that is flush with the wall. Similarly, ceiling lights designed to create a halo effect were placed in the kitchen and hallway. The original ones in the hallway, which revealed their light source, were rejected in favor of those placed in the kitchen that were more easily concealed.

“We thought the shower didn’t feel wide enough,” said Jerome S. Karr, a tall and broadly built real estate investment consultant for Goldman Sachs, stepping inside for effect. By moving the nozzles to the right and setting the body sprays into the wall, he said, “we basically picked up another two or two and a half inches in terms of the perception of depth — just by rearranging things.”



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Excavation Update: 53 West 53rd Street, aka the MoMA Tower/Torre Verre

By Nikolai Fedak on March 5, 2015 at 10:15 PM

53 West 53rd Street, image by ILNY

While New York City’s most noteworthy residential supertalls are about to begin rising along 57th Street, another project that has been in the works for far longer is also pushing forward, at 53 West 53rd Street. There, excavation is finally beginning in earnest for the new MoMA residential tower, which Hines is developing and Jean Nouvel is designing.

Equipment on a snow-speckled 53 West 53rd Street, image by ILNY

The latest photos (sent along by YIMBY reader ILNY) show the pit getting somewhat deeper since YIMBY last checked on the site, in October. Besides that, not much else has changed, and excavation appears to be moving at about the same pace as 111 West 57th Street, a few blocks to the northwest.

53 West 53rd Street, rendering by Hayes Davidson

Evidently most of the hype-worthy action surrounding the MoMA tower is not on-site, but at a warehouse out in Brooklyn, which the New York Times covered two weeks ago. The interiors of the buildings 140 units are already on display, though it will be several years before their real-life counterparts are realized. Prices start at $3 million and spiral into the stratosphere from there.

53 West 53rd Street, image by ILNY

53 West 53rd Street will stand 1,050 feet and 82 floors tall, with completion currently expected in 2017.


At Last, Jean Nouvel’s Supertall MoMA Tower Hits the Market

Jean Nouvel’s MoMA Tower has been one of the most anticipated projects slated for New York City for over a decade. Although construction only started earlier this year, murmurs that the apartments would not be listed publicly squashed all dreams of gratuitous looks into 53W53—until now. This afternoon, nine of the 1,050-foot tower’s 139 apartments showed up on the market, flaunting a few never-before-seen renderings, floorplans, and asks between $3.17 million and $50.9 million. It’s like Christmas in September; this is quite the haul.

Thierry Despont, who’s also behind the awaited Woolworth Building condos, is handling the building’s interiors. Of course they’re luxurious: kitchens will have custom Molteni cabinetry, statuary marble countertops and backlit backsplash, and Miele and Sub-Zero appliances; master bathrooms will have Dornbracht fixtures and heated Verona limestone slab floors, and Noir St. Laurent marble and Peruvian golden travertine feature walls; the apartments will have 4-inch solid American oak floors throughout.

The 139 condos won’t only come with bragging rights to one of the city’s most well-known addresses, but residents will also be given a complimentary Benefactor W53 membership to the Museum of Modern Art which includes benefits like unlimited free admission, and access to preview events, screenings, and small, private curatorial talks. (The membership can also be purchased for $3,000 a year, which seems like chump change compared to the ask of the condos.)