SOM completes supertall skyscraper with "monolithic simplicity" in New York City


International architecture studio Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has completed the final supertall skyscraper of a development in Midtown Manhattan, marking the project’s finalization.

Master planned by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and developed by Brookfield Properties, the seven-million-square-foot (650,321 square metre) Manhattan West development has been 20 years in the making, with the recent completion of office tower Two Manhattan West marking the project’s final stage.

SOM has completed a seven-million-square-foot (650,321 square metre) development in Manhattan

Located in Midtown Manhattan, just west of Penn Station, Two Manhattan West joins the duo of skyscrapers at 935 feet (285 metres) high.

While One Manhattan West reaches 996 feet (303 metres) high, making it a supertall skyscraper, Two Manhattan West falls short of the technical definition by 49 feet.

Two glass skyscrapers in New York City
The project’s finalization was marked by the completion of skyscraper Two Manhattan West

“While One Manhattan West opened in 2019, the recent completion of Two Manhattan West marks the final chapter of the development of Manhattan West,” said SOM. “Together, the two towers announce the development’s civic identity.”

Both towers sit along Ninth Avenue, while the development’s other four towers sit behind them, enclosing a central plaza.

“The two towers form the gateway into the development both in the skyline and at grade level,” said the team. “With high-performance enclosures and curved corners, the pair expresses a soft, monolithic simplicity to form a dynamic presence in the urban skyline.”

A plaza with two skyscrapers
Two Manhattan West is supported by a wood-wrapped core

They each featured curved corners and subtly angled profiles, with One Manhattan West curved to meet pedestrians from nearby Penn Station and Two Manhattan West oriented towards Midtown to welcome “oncoming traffic arriving from uptown”, according to the team.

Built over active train lines, Two Manhattan West contains a central core supported with “mega-columns” that define the building’s lobby and plaza.

A lobby with wooden walls and large windows
“Mega columns” run through the Two Manhattan West lobby at ground level

“Highly visible, these mega-columns express the strength of the tower’s structural system and announce the building’s complex structural solution,” said the team.

“Reminiscent of the legs of a table, the structural core is surrounded by a carefully crafted eucalyptus wood core – an architectural flourish that expresses a softness to complement the rigour of both the cascading steel structure and the elegance of the curtain wall above.”

The studio took a similar approach to One Manhattan West, although its structural system permitted a “dramatic, column-free lobby” with an uninterrupted curtain wall at its base.

The remaining Manhattan West towers consist of the residential and hospitality towers Pendry and Eugene, at 23 stories and 62 storeys respectively, and the renovation of two former industrial buildings into office buildings Four Manhattan West and Five Manhattan West.

A lobby with curved glass corners
Both buildings feature curved corners 

“The completion of Manhattan West marks another milestone in the decades-long effort to transform the Far West Side of Manhattan,” said the team.

“In a continuously evolving Far West Side of Manhattan, this chapter brings a new destination to life that also establishes a vital link between the Midtown business district, the Penn Station complex, and Hudson Yards.”

Nearby, the firm completed a glulam bridge which connects the High Line to Penn Station and completed a restoration of the historic Lever House. 

The photography is by Dave Burk © SOM unless otherwise stated



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