One such apartment tower under construction, 432 Park Avenue, will have a top floor higher than the Empire State Building’s observation deck. Another will have a top floor higher than any in One World Trade Center, which is officially (by virtue of its spire) the nation’s tallest building.
The 432 Park penthouse has sold for $95 million; two duplex apartments at One57, now nearing completion, also are under contract, each for more than $90 million. Even a studio apartment on a lower floor at 432 Park (designed for staff — a maid or butler) costs $1.59 million…
But what’s most striking about these towers is their shape. The boxy old World Trade Center twin towers had a ratio of base width to height of 1-to-7 (209 feet-to-1,368 feet); an apartment house about to begin construction next to the Steinway piano showroom on 57th Street will be a feathery 1-to-23.
That kind of skinniness, also found in skyscrapers in Hong Kong and Dubai, is shifting the focus of high-rise construction. Twenty years ago, only five of the world’s 100 tallest buildings were at least partly residential, compared with 31 today. They include the Princess Tower in Dubai, at 1,358 feet the world’s tallest apartment house.
These towers are shaped by their clientele: a transnational nouveau riche looking for a second (or third or fourth) home. Having made fortunes in nations less regulated economically and less stable politically than the USA, these buyers want a safe investment as much as, or more than, shelter. And they don’t want to pay New York resident income taxes.
Three things I would like to know more about:
1. It would be fascinating to see who lives in these buildings – though buildings like these tend to guard that information. Is this the in form of conspicuous (sort of) consumption: the pricey and incredibly exclusive real-estate holding in the global city? Collect the full set!
2. It would also be interesting to hear more about the construction. A later part of the article mentions “super strong concrete” and new dampers but this is a sizable change from thicker skyscrapers of the past.
3. How do these buildings change the New York City skyline? Does their thinness present a different kind of image?