Friday, June 17, 2011

Manhattan, New York Residential Architecture

Manhattan Residential Architecture

Residential architecture in Manhattan is wide and varied in its style and age.  This is of no surprise since the city has been in existence since the 1600’s.  As an architect it’s always gratifying to look at the breadth of architecture the city is home to.  Here in Manhattan one can find virtually any style of building constructed in America beginning with Fraunces Tavern built in 1719, itself originally a residence.  

Below is a timeline of some of the styles found in the city.  The list is not all encompassing but rather a cross section of the residential architecture found up to present day.   

459 West 24th Street
Built ca. 1850
The Greek Revival Style
Architect: Philo Bebe
Greek Revival was a dominate style in  American architecture during the period of 1818-1850. It was the first truly national style in the United States. This style can be found in all regions of the country including Manhattan.

The Dakota
Built in 1880-1884
German and French Renaissance Style
Architect: Henry Hardenbergh
The nine story apartment building has detailed stonework, brickwork, reliefs, balconies, gables and railings along with a steeply sloped roof.  The Dakota is built in a square shape around a central courtyard which is accessed through the main arched opening in its fa├žade.

 23 Park Ave
Built in 1898
Italianate Style
Architects: McKim, Mead and White
Italianate buildings often have a formal symmetry accentuated by pronounced moldings and decorative details.  The Italianate style can also be found in the SoHo area of Manhattan where the buildings were built of cast iron allowing mass production of the decorative features found in this style.

820 Fifth Avenue
Built in 1916
Neo-Italian Renaissance Style
Architects:  Starrett & Van Vleck
One of the grandest addresses in the world.  820 Fifth Avenue has one apartment per floor; each approximately 6,500 square feet with a 44-foot-long gallery, four to six bedrooms, at minimum of four and one-half baths, seven servants’ rooms, multiple fireplaces, and 11-foot ceilings.

The Eldorado

Built 1929-1931
Art Deco Style
Architect: Morgan, Holder and Emery Roth
Among the most famous of Art Deco style buildings in Manhattan is Rockefeller Center.  But from a residential standpoint the Eldorado in the Upper West Side offers a good example of the stylizing.  This style uses setbacks to reduce the buildings mass and emphasize verticality.  Many buildings of this style are built of steel with limestone or brick cladding at their facades.

White Brick buildings
Built 1950s
Setback or “Wedding Cake” Style
This style of architecture was brought into existence in Manhattan due to the set back laws of the time requiring buildings to step back as they rose.  This requirement allowed sunlight to reach the street.  Given this tiered construction the buildings, which often were built of white brick, took on a look similar to a wedding cake.

Trump World Tower
Built 1999-2001
Late Modernism Style
Architect: Costas Kondylis & Associates
Late modern architecture was sleek and glossy.  The Trump World Tower, across from the United Nations in Midtown East, is no different with its curtain wall of dark, bronze tinted glass.

100 11th Avenue
Built 2010
Contemporary Glass Style
Architect:  Jean Nouvel
The building is clad with 1700 different sized glass panels.  Each panel is tilted at a slightly different angle.  This creates a mosaic texture to the highly advanced curtain wall of the building while creating differing levels of transparency.  100 11th Avenue is by the High Line park in Chelsea.

Darren China, R.A. is the principal of Studio China Architecture + Design.
Contact him at or 201-575-5180
© Copyright 2011 Darren China. All rights reserved

No comments: