Harlem to get first tower in 30 years

Design to complement urban Manhattan surroundings.

NEWS, Design

Work is due to start in the next couple of months on a new tower block in Harlem, New York. The 21-storey glass tower, designed by Swanke Hayden Connell Architects (SHCA), will be the first major office building to be built in the northern Manhattan neighbourhood for three decades.

The project, named Harlem Park, will see the tower built in keeping with the surrounding Harlem neighbourhood. Roger Klein, design principal, SHCA , explained: "Instead of trying to do what architects typically do with an office tower, which is to express the verticality of the buildings, we embraced the squat and masculine forms of the Harlem neighbourhood."

A form of irregular stacked boxes made from an aluminium and glass curtainwall system make up the building's structure. Vertical terracotta fins lining the outside walls will match the masonry of the surrounding buildings.

SHCA will be designing the interior of the lobby and support areas and are aiming to build the office tower to be LEED silver certified. "The silver certification will be achieved from reducing energy and water consumption and managing the building's systems to ensure efficient operations. The interior will be sustainable by using products such as wood and carpets that incorporate a certain percentage of recycled materials," added Klein. The structure has been designed to cut down on the amount of artificial light needed with daylight penetrating 75% of the occupied space.

SHCA who designed the Trump Tower in New York and the NATO headquarters in Brussels was hired to design Harlem Park after plans to erect a giant Marriott Hotel on the same plot fell through. In addition to office space, the building will contain 82,000 ft² of retail shops located at street level. It is hoped that the building will attract financial services and media companies. Construction is due to be completed in 2010.

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