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Feature Story - January 2009

Slim Tower

Luxury high rise soars above Madison Square Park.

By Debra Wood

The prospect of living in a shimmering glass tower offering stunning city views has prompted dozens of people to purchase new, luxury condominiums at One Madison Park in Manhattan, even in a sagging economy.

At 60 Stories and 621 ft tall, the new luxury condo building at One Madison Park will tower over its neighbors in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, just north of Union Square.
At 60 Stories and 621 ft tall, the new luxury condo building at One Madison Park will tower over its neighbors in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, just north of Union Square.

“We wanted to maximize the potential of the site and build a spectacular project,” says Marc Jacobs of Slazer Enterprises of New York, the project’s developer. He and co-developer Ira Shapiro purchased additional air rights to give the building more height.

The 60-story, 165,000-sq-ft tower soars 621 ft in the air from a 50-ft-wide base, which was later expanded during a second phase of construction to 75 ft wide. The 3,300-sq-ft floor plates limit units to two per floor. There are a total of 69 units in the building.

“It is one of the most slender buildings in New York City and probably beyond,” says architect John Cetra, principal with Cetra/Ruddy of New York. “It has a high slenderness ratio, which has led to creating something unique on the skyline.”

Construction manager Bovis Lend Lease of New York began construction on the $112 million project in August 2006 and will complete the building in October. Residents will begin moving in the spring.

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The two-bedroom condos range in size from 1,200 sq ft to 1,400 sq ft. Single-floor units are 2,100 sq ft. A tri-level, 7,500-sq-ft, $45 million penthouse is under contract. The units feature high-end finishes, including wood flooring, marble and upscale appliances.

A restaurant, retail and a lobby fill the first floor. The rest of the podium contains mechanical and amenity spaces, with an indoor swimming pool, sauna and club room, all contained in the second phase of construction. The on-site logistics were challenging with significant bus and pedestrian traffic on 23rd Street directly in front of the site. Bovis secured a lane-closure permit and a partial sidewalk closing and succeeded in having two traffic signals and a bus stop moved. Concrete trucks were staged west of Fifth Avenue and Broadway to stay clear of the bus stop.

Thirty-one 30-ft caissons, socketed 20 ft into the rock and tied together with a 5-ft mat cap, support the structure. The building has 2-ft-thick, 12,000-psi concrete sheer walls at the base.

“It took longer in the podium of the building than we planned because of the thickness of the steel and the amount of concrete that had to be poured and the formwork,” says Jerry Bianco, vice president and project executive for Bovis.

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  • “Positioning the crane and positioning the hoist were the most critical parts of the job. We have three hoist towers on the south side now that have serviced the job well and allowed us to move up the building.”

    The crane began jump-down procedures in October.

    Bovis instituted a relatively new safety procedure--a vertical screen system or “cocoon,” on the west and north faces, furnished by Universal Builders Supply of New Rochelle, N.Y.

    The company started installing the netting on the 30th floor in mid-March 2007. “It took that long to work out the engineering aspects of how tall the net would be and how we would jump it and not impact concrete. We were able to maintain pace throughout the rest of the building,” Bianco says.

    The company maintained a three-day, sometimes two-day pour cycle. The concrete contractor placed imbeds in the concrete. Anchor points, two floors below the working deck, held the 8-ft-wide by 40-ft-long nets. It eliminated the need for timber walls.

    Shooting up in the air more than 600 ft with only a 75-ft wide base, the design team needed to combat the structure’s slenderness ration by adding three water-filled concrete dampers at the top to cut down on sway.
    Shooting up in the air more than 600 ft with only a 75-ft wide base, the design team needed to combat the structure’s slenderness ration by adding three water-filled concrete dampers at the top to cut down on sway.
    Shooting up in the air more than 600 ft with only a 75-ft wide base, the design team needed to combat the structure’s slenderness ration by adding three water-filled concrete dampers at the top to cut down on sway.

    “They cantilevered up past the work deck far enough that when they were jumped, the protection contractor was a floor or two below the concrete contractor and didn’t impact him,” Bianco says. “The concrete workers were in no danger of falling off the deck, and debris was kept from coming off the deck from high-wind situations.”

    At the top of the narrow structure, the design team added three, water-filled concrete dampers to prevent the building from swaying in the wind. Wind tunnel testing by the University of Western Ontario had found high accelerations on the building due to its tall, slender design..

    “The [dampers] are mini-tuned-mass dampers without the mass, using water to slow down acceleration of the building,” Bianco says. “We have three tubs with two chimneys at either end.”

    When high-wind situations occur, the water sloshes back and forth and collects in the two chimneys to dampen the effect of the wind.

    Terraces wrap around to the north and east to take advantage of park views. A Sota Hybrid-Wall curtain features different tints of glass.

    “The idea was to create a shaft that would hold pods of apartments, expressed with the white glass,” Cetra says. “You read the pods as something distinctive, which gave it its unique look.”

    The earthy colored glass blends with the nearby older, limestone and masonry buildings. Bovis held off on mechanical, plumbing risers and roughing work until the curtain wall was completed at a given floor for safety reasons and due to the small floor size.

    As the developers secured more air rights, they expanded the project, adding a mid-rise building on 22nd Street. One Madison will share the amenity space with the mid-rise. The New York office of architect Rem Koolhaas’s Office for Metropolitan Architecture designed the 22-story second building, which will hold 21 residences, one per floor, plus a Creative Artists Agency screening room.

    Bovis is providing preconstruction services on the second building and anticipates beginning foundation work in early spring.

    “This one and the next one they have lined up for us pose so many difficulties,” Bianco says. “It’s good to see a lot of the things we put in place work well. There are things we could have done better, like any project, but it’s a gorgeous building, a landmark building.”

    Owner: Slazer Enterprises, New York
    Construction manager: Bovis Lend Lease, New York
    Architect: Cetra/Ruddy, New York
    Curtain Wall: W & W Glass Systems, Nanuet, N.Y.

     

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