NYC’s Steinway Tower is world’s ‘skinniest’

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One skyscraper stands out from the rest in the Manhattan skyline. It’s not the tallest, but it is the skinniest — the world’s skinniest, in fact.

New York architecture firm SHoP Architects designed the 84-story residential building, Steinway Tower, which earns the title of “the most slender skyscraper in the world” due to its logic-defying ratio of width to height — 1-to-23 1/2.

“Any time it’s 1-to-10 or more that’s considered a slender building; 1-to-15 or more is considered exotic and really difficult to do,” SHoP Architects founding principal Gregg Pasquarelli said. “The most slender buildings in the world are mostly in Hong Kong, and they’re around 17- or 18-to-1. This building is 23 1/2-to-1.”

Located at 111 West 57th St., the 60 apartments in the tower range in cost from $18 million to $66 million per unit and offer 360-degree views of the city.

Steinway Tower is the second tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere and is so skinny at the top that the luxury homes on the upper floors whip around by a few feet whenever the wind gets up.

“Every skyscraper has to move,” Pasquarelli said. “If it’s too stiff, it’s actually more dangerous — it has to have flexibility in it.”

To prevent the tower from swaying too far, the architects created a counterbalance with tuned steel plates, and the textured terracotta and bronze facade creates wind turbulence that slows down the acceleration of the building, Pasquarelli said. About 200 rock anchors descend at most 100 feet (30 meters) into the underlying bedrock to provide a deep foundation.

Steinway Tower has a long history as the former location of Steinway Hall, constructed in 1924. JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group bought the building in 2013, and now they’re looking to the future.

“What I’m hoping is that 50 years from now, you’ve only known New York with 111 West 57th St.,” Pasquarelli said. “I hope it holds a special place in all future New Yorkers’ hearts.”

AP video shot and produced by: Aron Ranen