A classic New York skyscraper inspired by nature
The all-new 50-story condo located at 25 Park Row in the Lower Manhattan Financial District is the result of an exquisite combination of a vision of the future – built on Art Deco design – coupled with biophilic connections. Designed by COOKFOX Architects, the tower blends seamlessly into the historic district where neighbors are famous icons such as the Woolworth Building from 1913.
The architect’s vision for the building was to complete the urban hall. The park across the street has long been a civic gathering space that allowed the city to organize around it, creating a green urban room surrounded by a tapestry of historic architecture.
The 702-foot-tall mixed-use tower was until 2014 the famous J&R Music World location, one of Manhattan’s most popular shopping venues with a rich history. Joe and Rachelle Friedman, the couple behind J&R, opened the electronics retailer in a 23 Park Row storefront in 1971, marking the city’s first music supermarket.
Soon after, they rented out whatever space became available on the block, ultimately buying 10 sites to eliminate risks such as rent increases or competitors moving in. They even held free music festivals in the adjacent park for consecutive years, to celebrate the community. they found and helped keep it on Park Row.
Connect the past to the present
Even though the store closed, the Friedman family remained a bridge between past and present in the property and joined L + M Development Partners as co-developers, sharing their in-depth knowledge of the site with the development team. .
“When my husband Joe and I closed the store we were sad, but we knew what was to come next would be truly remarkable and we are proud to have created an iconic New York building at 25 Park Row. Because of our love for the neighborhood and our investment in it, we wanted to be involved in its future and create a building that could live up to the J&R legacy, ”said Rachelle. Multi-unit news when asked what made them stay on board.
Letting go of the store J&R Music may have left a trace of nostalgia, both among the former owners and in the community around the store, but meeting the L + M development team and Rick Cook of COOKFOX Architects, Rachelle and Joe knew they had shared our love for the neighborhood and our vision to create a building, ”as she said.
In fact, this love and a plethora of deeply personal connections to the site, its history on Park Row, its location on City Hall Park, its proximity to the Woolworth Building, and the heritage and collective history of New Yorkers with J&R music, had a unique influence on the redevelopment.
“On this project, everyone who touched it wanted to make sure that ‘we got it right’. It was great to see this project start up, develop and evolve into its completed form as something that everyone invested their hearts and their creative energy in, ”said Brandon Specketer, COOKFOX Architect partner in charge of 25 Park. Row.
As such, the end result was meticulously planned as Rachelle and her husband knew like no one else where the best place to watch the sunset was, which direction the balconies should be facing, who the guests are. region.
Specketer loved to hand draw so many different aspects of the project. “We leverage a lot of the technology at COOKFOX to generate, iterate and solve the design, but I always remember the meetings with the client, the consultants or with our own team when we come up with a solution on paper and pen, and the joy of solving problems in a simple way, with simple tools. “
Planning the building’s single-load aisle was a very specific design decision made early on. No apartment faces only the “back”. Each condo has a direct visual connection to nature and the landscape, and the canopy of trees provided by City Hall Park, Specketer explained. Each apartment also has connections with natural systems through direct access to the outdoors, provided by casement windows and recessed balconies, loggias or traditional terraces.
The tower includes shops on the ground floor, commercial spaces on the second and third floors and 110 apartments on floors 4 to 26, with the exception of the sixth floor, which is entirely dedicated to the equipment designed by André Mellone.
Residents have access to fitness, catering and swimming pool areas with views of the treetops and natural materials. The 20,000-square-foot amenity suite is highlighted by an Art Deco-inspired pool covered in golden mosaics. Additionally, a shared landscaped patio garden designed by Starr Whitehouse strengthens residents’ connection to the outdoors.
Biophilic design, durability and high performance architecture
Natural and biomorphic forms are the source of several design elements at 25 Park Row. “The manipulation of form over the height of the building is biomorphic, capturing light and shadows dynamically throughout the day and the seasons. Inspiration for the natural forms of plants and water is also found in the custom designed ironwork that forms a common, floral motif on several metalwork and decorative aspects found throughout the building, ”explained the lead architect. .
The development team agreed on what kind of biophilic elements they wanted to incorporate, as well as how they would achieve high levels of filtered fresh air and water, the efficiency of energy use and responsibility in the use of materials.
“Our first meeting with clients was not only about how the building would aesthetically complement the ‘urban hall’ that is the town hall park, but also how the building would ‘feel’ for those who would choose to live. over there, ”Specketer recalled.
The unit combination ranges from one- to four-bedroom duplex and duplex penthouses, with each house offering direct views of the Town Hall grounds. “My office was in the old J&R building and whenever celebrities visited everyone loved the view of the park. As you go up, you get vistas of the Hudson and East Rivers, the Woolworth Building, Brooklyn Bridge, the Oculus, Trinity Church, and One World Trade, ”said Rachelle.
The apartments have balustrades, loggias or Juliet terraces, which become more and more spectacular towards the upper floors. In addition, each terrace, loggia and Juliet balustrade is defined by personalized screens with biophilic patterns, in assortment with the neighboring park.
The apartments rise above neighboring buildings and face Uptown and Downtown, and culminate in “lantern” lounges from which extend loggias, connecting residents to nature and the changing seasons. The structural columns blur the definition between interior and exterior, making these loggias appear to be part of the bulk of the building.
Recalling the classic reverses of 1930s skyscrapers, Park Row’s terraces take a step back, softening its compactness on the skyline while integrating its form into the historic surroundings.
“The Park Row design team has been heavily influenced by incorporating what makes a ‘classic New York’ skyscraper, but also what makes it feel – sometimes literally – just as inspired. by the natural environment, ”Specketer said.
Interiors feature a holistic design through the use of natural materials – the grains of walnut and oak, the veining of Calacatta and Nero Marquina stone and, over time, the patina of many hands touching the bronze – which elicit all a biological response to the natural, biophilic models and improve the well-being of the occupants.
The Art Deco era is revived inside the bathrooms and kitchens, where the architects used high contrast materials. Soft textures in the bathrooms create a serene and intimate atmosphere.
About pandemic periods
The project has been underway since May 2017 and is currently open, with the final phases of the construction process taking place during the pandemic.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and I don’t know of a better way to phrase it,” Specketer said. “Working during a pandemic has only reinforced our determination that COOKFOX’s mission must remain firmly focused on health and social, human and environmental well-being.”
Thanks to its biophilic ties to the park, the design of 25 Park Row proved to be premonitory of pandemic life. “It’s something we’re seeing resonating even more with buyers. Plus, 98% of the building’s units have access to private, usable outdoor space, which is so important during this time, ”Rachelle said.