September 11, 2018
David Chipperfield’s New Mixed-Use Tower Brings Beauty and Brains to New York’s Bryant Park
With its rich material palette and crafty millwork, the Bryant is an exercise in humble luxury and takes cues from its historic neighbors.
Shakespeare is alive and well in New York’s Bryant Park this summer. As actors recite the bard’s verse on stage, tipsy picnickers, golden-hour joggers, and suit-wearing dealmakers flutter around the greenery and along the sidewalks.
The Bryant, a new tower designed by David Chipperfield Architects (DCA), looks out on the activity from its perch on West 40th Street. The final addition to the park’s southern border, The Bryant is the brainchild of HFZ Capital Group and Chipperfield’s office. The British architect’s talent for translating classical elements into a contemporary framework made him an appealing prospect for the project, explains Thorsten Kiefer, HFZ’s director of design and development. “We see value in working with great designers and letting their thoughts become the value we’re creating,” he says.
The 33-story building follows a tripartite construction and integrates a mixed program: street-level retail, a 226-room hotel (the Park Terrace Hotel, designed by Stonehill Taylor), and residential units. A bar and lounge occupying the sixth floor serves both hotel guests and Bryant residents, who also have access to the hotel’s concierge and suite of amenities.
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Windows running the full height of each story appear on every floor, separated by precast-concrete columns and slabs that have been polished to a slick finish. Close up, the material is flecked with aggregate borrowed from The Bryant’s historic neighbors: White from the Beaux Arts Knox Building, reddish tones from Bryant Park Studios, and darker minerals from the American Radiator Building are folded in, smooth like frosting. These borrowings, as well as the classical construction, helped appease the landmarks commission, which had to approve the design in this high-profile neighborhood.
“We tried to [create] something that relates to the historical context,” says DCA project director Mattias Kunz, “but also questions the more ubiquitous construction of relatively cheap condos or apartment towers one can see all over the city.”
Inside, Kunz explains that DCA endeavored to open up the units as much as possible. Sheetrock walls were kept to a minimum, with custom millwork instead pulling triple duty: In addition to delineating space, it provides abundant storage and conceals mechanicals, enabling the nine-and-a-half-foot ceilings to run full height throughout.
The concrete that grids the facade also infiltrates the interior, creating a dialogue between indoors and outdoors. Exterior columns are expressed inside the units, separated only by slim-profile, floor-to-ceiling windows, which residents can open for a breeze. These windows run in generous proportions on the north and south sides, bringing in views of the Empire State Building and Bryant Park.
And, it should be said, the units are luxurious. Herringbone wood spans the apartments’ floors, giving way at the edges to terrazzo. Where millwork isn’t, marble is, gracing the walls in the bathrooms, running on surfaces through the kitchens, drenching the lobby, and climbing the fireplaces in the building’s double-height penthouses. The result is an air that Kiefer identifies as “humble luxury”—one defined by its calculated opulence and understated ingenuity.
The public has taken notice. Seventy-five percent of the apartments have already sold, even with construction still plugging along. It’s little wonder, between The Bryant’s formidable design chops and proximity to midtown—not to mention its lively front yard.
You might also like, “In Hong Kong, Foster + Partners Converts a Landmarked Modernist Building Into an Opulent Hotel.”