This 19-story mixed-use building in Manhattan’s Lower East Side is located on a main east-west thoroughfare extending across the Williamsburg Bridge, and it is visible from a great distance. The upper floors of the tower house 306 dormitory rooms for the School of Visual Arts, a renowned Manhattan art school. This tower rests on a podium housing ground floor retail, the roof of which is a green space for use by the students.
The façade is a tromp l’oeil mural which forms a three dimensional image from a distance. This “building as sign” façade evolved to create a sense of place along the thoroughfare, to reference the building’s use as a dormitory housing visual artists, and to create an architectural dialog with nearby contemporary buildings such as “The Blue Building” and “One Kenmare Place”. This is achieved using bricks of a palette similar to the fabric of historical Lowest East Side buildings.
The façade is divided into 5’-0” x 2’-4” sections of 6 different colored brick, ranging from light to dark, which form a pixelated image based on a photograph of rippling water. This system continues into the lobby, where the same image is rendered in colored mosaic tile, as well as onto paving patterns of the green roof.