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The Spire

1635 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan, NY

52,000 sf mixed use project


We were directed to design a modern building on a  100’-wide site in a neighborhood full of narrow walkups with overhanging fire escapes. The design we developed has a street elevation with multiple layers to break up the width. In the middle we placed a corner shaft of glass from ground to roof, which reflects patterned light by day, glows with internal lights by night, and is also the residential entrance on the street. The daytime shadows of the metal balcony railings pay subtle homage to the neighboring fire escapes. The apartments have bright open loft layouts, and the project contains a ground floor supermarket and community facility space.

apartment interiors, balconies

The Spire was developed under the Quality Housing Program of the NYC Zoning Resolution, as this provided the best value for the Owners. A provision of these regulations allows a substantial floor area deduction on residential floors if a 20 sf window is visible from the hallway elevator. Typically these windows are non-descript and at the end of narrow corridors, installed for the sole purpose of satisfying this requirement. 


We took a different approach. Full floor height glass and double height corridors flood the residential hallways with light. Outside the building, the dynamic corner glass rising from the sidewalk to the roof provided a distinctive entrance, shape and lighting opportunity for the street façade. The narrow glass entrance allows more width for the ground floor retail.

Spire Case Study
CASE STUDY: Turning a Detailed Zoning Requirement into a Design Opportunity
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