Our ‘Fulton Street, Manhattan‘ project kicked of January when Erin Wicomb of ‘The Mavrix Group’ (with offices in both New York & San Diego) came to DBRDS with a request to do a quick feasibility study on an over-looked property in downtown Manhattan. Being in heart of New York’s Wall Street district, it made for an exciting to start the year & we jumped at the opportunity to complete this study.
The site is a tiny 2,189sqft vacant lot sandwiched between Manhattan’s historical brick apartment buildings with a tiny frontage of only 25′. With the intense density of downtown Manhattan, this tiny site had an FAR of 10:1 (meaning the building could be a total of 21,890sqft of build-able area), with an additional 8,000sqft of air rights over the adjoining building which was purchased by the previous owner. The location of this project also gave the building wonderful proximity to 1 World Trade Center, walking distance to the New York Stock Exchange, City Hall Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Battery Park & the historic Trinity Church.
The first design concept was for a modern elegant tower with a podium component. Each floor had one residence per level, and the condominiums where designed essentially as one single residence per floor. The podium units were treated as lofts with vertical window languages without outdoor decks in keeping with the adjoining historical brick facades. The podium language is terminated with an outdoor communal pool, which marks the beginning of the residential tower above. This design approach tied the building into its more traditional New York streetscape (of brick) while allowing the elevated tower to take on a more modern facade treatment. This was quickly revised at the clients request as it is considered more ‘desirable’ to the New York market to see a building which appears new from ground up. This evolution can be seen in the studies below.
This design used the balcony frames at the lower portion of the tower reflect the individual single level residences, and the increase in height to reflect the 2 level residences which is then capped with dramatic 3 level frame at the roof.
This concept was presented to the clients real estate agent, Ryan Serhant from Bravo’s ‘Million Dollar Listing’ who responded very positively to the concept. The client then further requested that a concept option be developed further with the idea of “a building language that represents unique residences”, whereby the architectural facade for each residence was differently throughout the tower. This direction produced a playful interplay of different frames that interlocked like lego blocks reflecting the different forms of residential units with the white balcony frames giving the tower some ‘chaotic cohesiveness’ from ground to top.
With rapid real estate investor presentations taking place in New York by the client, all the design work was done within an intense time frame with no time for design review & refinement which is always preferred. Regardless, we were happy with both options – both are modern, one more proportionally refined & elegant and the other more playful.
The client preferred the second option with the interlocking blocks & used these design renderings to not only successfully obtain funding partner & investment to secure the purchase of the property, but to increase the scope of the project by purchasing the adjoining properties on either side affectively increasing the build-able FAR & more importantly creating a larger footprint for the building to ground this increasingly larger tower above. DBRDS was again requested to explore a final option to be presented to all partners in New York.
These very quick feasibility study diagrams & renderings were completed purely for a client to understand the development potential of this site in New York & to be able to go out & find funding partners & investment sources to lock in the purchase of the site. DBRDS’ role in the process was very conceptual & fast paced & enabled the client to successfully progress this project to the next level.