The long awaited design for 56 Leonard Street in Tribeca by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron has been revealed. Above you can see the upper floors, where a stack of cantilevered condo lofts will tower over the once charming neighborhood. The 57 story tower, to be completed in 2010, will have 145 apartments, each with a unique layout. It is worth noting that on the same day this project is revealed another major Wall Street bank has gone under - Lehman Brothers - and with it thousands of high paying New York City jobs. This project could be the capstone to an era. One thing is for sure: it is another step in the transformation of Tribeca into Triburbia, where nannies push strollers by day and black towncars idle at night. Manhattan as stage set for wealthy foreigners and tourists. After the jump some other views for your pleasure, and our take on why this works better than Rem Koolhaas's similar concept uptown.
Above you can see just how tall and overpowering this project will be. The site allows this height through a combination of air rights.
Above you see the street level entrance and sculpture by Anish Kapoor, cleverly fit in to the space. The kids will love its fun-house mirror finish.
Above is another street view, this time a better perspective on the corner of Leonard and Church Streets and Kapoor's "shiny blob." Here is where I think Herzog & de Meuron execute better than Koolhaas uptown at 23 East 22nd. The stacked boxes here serve to lessen the bulk by providing well placed voids. The units from street level almost have the feel of modernist LA houses from the Hollywood hills rather than the blank curtain wall mass we are used to. The tower loses some of this variation as it rises to a more conventional shaft, before returning to the cantilevers closer to the top. It avoids the solid tower-of-doom feel that has been so unavoidable. These guys are talented. Whether it be the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing or their Alianz arena, HdeM's ideas seem even stronger in practice than in theory. I'm not sure you can say that about Koolhaas every time.
And above an empty interior showing high ceilings and dramatic views. Is that a resident in the picture or a realtor at a Sunday open house? We'll know in about 2 years.