The project started with the Owner’s ambitious design agenda, including a structurally glazed curtain wall.
The big challenge early on was the site’s adjacency to the Queens Midtown Tunnel. It’s not just under the building’s roadway, but under the sidewalk as well, only 1’ away from the property line.
The Tunnel Authority’s vibration-monitoring protocol was rigorous, with a device every 25’ of the tunnel near our project. Further, our geo-tech report required caissons drilled into the rock 35’+ below street level for our proposed building. A similar adjacent project had recently been delayed almost a year due to Tunnel Authority work stoppages from their construction vibration.
We convened a set of meetings with key parties, including caisson and foundation sub-contractors. We took the lead in testing an unorthodox solution using massive cantilevering concrete grade beams to set back the first row of caissons sufficiently far enough to avoid triggering the vibration monitors. With the savings from the reduced number of caissons offsetting the grade beams, the net cost of the approach saved $400,000, and critically, we had no work stoppages from the Tunnel Authority.
This savings in time and money early on secured the curtain wall’s place in the budget. And the design’s mix of glass and brushed metal kept the area of curtain wall low relative to the building’s size, while still delivering a glass-featured project.
5-19 Borden Avenue, LIC, NY
110,000 sf residential condominiums
The Murano is a luxury residential building in the LIC waterfront district.
The site has commanding and unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline. We developed the massing with the lower section of the building angling towards the city and the upper section facades opening out, both to embrace the views. The contrasting glass and metal has the effect of high-lighting the glass more than would an all curtain wall building.
The balconies were developed with custom-etched metal – radiant in the sunlight and cost effective to build. Their shapes, especially in reflection, create an abstract flow across the glass facade.
Entering from the street, residents leave the City behind, passing through a green garden space, over a reflecting pool lined with rivers stones and into the sunny glass lobby. The lobby’s design employs unique horizontal symmetry to create a lightness and subtle floating feeling to the 12 stories above.
The apartments were crafted with open layouts and clean modern finishes, mixing natural materials with abundant natural light.