NYC Tower Designed by Alvaro Siza Completed

John Hill
13. June 2022
Looking north up Eleventh Avenue. )Photo © João Morgado - Architecture Photography)

The limestone-clad 611 West 56th Street, a 35-story residential tower designed by Alvaro Siza, is now complete, as documented in photos taken recently by João Morgado.

Developed by Sumaida + Khurana and LENY, 611 West 56th Street contains 77 residential units behind its Perla Bianca limestone cladding. Not only is the tower the first building in New York City designed by Alvaro Siza, recipient of the 1992 Pritzker Architecture Prize, it is the 88-year-old architect's first building in the United States. The building is located at the corner of West 56th Street and Eleventh Avenue, just one block east of the Hudson River and one block south of VIA 57 West, the "courtscraper" designed by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group.

The tower, just left of center, seen from the Hudson River, looking east. (Photo © João Morgado - Architecture Photography)
Looking east from Hudson River Park. (Photo © João Morgado - Architecture Photography)

In addition to the limestone cladding, which extends 53 feet above the top residential floor to conceal rooftop services, the most striking aspect of the 450-foot-tall building is its slenderness when seen from the east or the west. At its base, the building is approximately 56 feet by 200 feet in plan, while the tower is just 41 feet by 95 feet in plan.

Looking west on 56th Street. (Photo © João Morgado - Architecture Photography)
A close-up of the tower's west facade. (Photo © João Morgado - Architecture Photography)

According to the website for the development, the "stone cladding is carefully arranged in panels that emphasize the forms and volumes of the building," with an arrangement that "creates texture and movement and is accentuated by open joints across the entire facade."

A close-up of the tower's predominantly solid north facade. (Photo © João Morgado - Architecture Photography)
A close-up of the windows in the northeast corner of the tower. (Photo © João Morgado - Architecture Photography)

The limestone cladding, which extends from the top of the tower down to the base, helps the building stand out in its context, which has an abundance of buildings in dark glass. Directly next to Siza's tower is one such building, a large residential project called The Max and designed by Arquitectonica.

Corner view showing the seven-story base and entrance on Eleventh Avenue. (Photo © João Morgado - Architecture Photography)
The lobby features a custom bench designed by Siza. (Photo © João Morgado - Architecture Photography)

Interiors of the 77 luxury condos were designed by New York's Gabellini Sheppard. The unit sizes range from one to four bedrooms, with the tower floors featuring just two units per floor, meaning all units in the tower have one or two corners. Siza said, per the development website: "Corner windows were also important. There’s a rhythm to it — from here, you can see the Hudson River; from there, you can see Central Park."

Units facing east look at the supertall towers on Billionaires' Row. (Photo © João Morgado - Architecture Photography)
A south- and west-facing unit with corner windows. (Photo © João Morgado - Architecture Photography)

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