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.
19 stories / 105,000 sf
Ed Rawlings, RA
Matthew McClain, RA
Steven Kilian, RA
GEA Consulting Engineers
SARA Design Award of Merit 2011
Brick in Architecture
Bronze Award 2012