Eyes to the sky: The hottest renderings of 2016

Roundup includes Bjarke Ingels' Two Penn Plaza design, Macklowe's Park Ave. Cube and more

TRD New York /
Dec.December 19, 2016 08:00 AM

Clockwise from top left: Two Penn Plaza, the Refinery, HAP Four and Vessel

It’s not until a project is almost entirely constructed that we can really envision a new building, complex or tower’s place in the neighborhood. A rendering, however, serves as the industry’s crystal ball, sparking excitement for a project that won’t be finished for another few years.

This year’s roundup of the boldest images to drop in 2016 offers a range of new projects that got the industry buzzing for the future — from the redevelopment of a former sugar refinery on Williamsburg’s waterfront, to a thrill ride atop Madison Square Garden.

Here’s a look at the hottest renderings of 2016.

A rendering of All Year Management’s project at the Rheingold Brewery site

Bushwick II

When Yoel Goldman’s All Year Management first unveiled plans for a massive rental complex at the former Rheingold Brewery site, ODA New York’s TRData LogoTINY Eran Chen likened his firm’s design to a “European village.” The 800- to 900-unit building will feature a system of interconnected pathways and common spaces, as well as an 18,000-square-foot park that cuts through its center. The development’s 60,000-square-foot roof will house an urban farm, exercise space and additional recreation.

A renderings of “Vessel”


It’s not quite the Eiffel Tower that Related Companies chairman Steve Ross promised us, but Thomas Heatherwick’s copper-colored “Vessel” sculpture still promises to stand out among Hudson Yard’s hulking glass-and-steel skyscrapers. The $150 million structure, which Ross rebranded a “365-day Christmas tree” at its unveiling, will be formed by 154 interconnected staircases, with some 2,500 steps and 80 landings for visitors take in the Far West side.

Renderings of “Halo” from AE Superlab


Brooklyn Capital Partners went in a completely different direction (i.e., up) in its pitch to help pay for the $3 billion redevelopment of Penn Station, because why not? The Brooklyn development firm proposed building a free-fall tower atop Madison Square Garden or the James A. Farley post office, which the company estimates would bring in $38 million annually. The $35-a-ride “Halo” attraction would rise 1,200 feet and feature 11 gondolas that could be controlled by their occupants.

A rendering of the Refinery from Mir

The Refinery

To help attract “hip” creative types to the firm’s Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment in Williamsburg, Two Trees Management produced a slew of new renderings for the project’s 380,000-square-foot office building. While the former factory’s red-brick facade is still in tact (though it will be encased in glass and steel), its interiors have received an upgrade — namely open floors plans, floor-to-ceiling windows, and exposed brick and ceilings. The images also show perks for the picking, including a skate park. Yes, a skate park.

A rendering of the Park Avenue Cube

Park Avenue Cube

Harry Macklowe is looking to erect another cube just blocks away from the famed glass box that serves as the entrance to Apple’s Fifth Avenue digs. The “Park Avenue Cube,” which will sit adjacent to 432 Park Avenue, will contain two floors of retail and four floors of office space, and be connected to the tower via a 30,000-square-foot underground concourse. At night, the cube will glow like nightlight plugged into the base of New York’s tallest residential tower.

A rendering Two Penn Plaza from BIG

Two Penn Plaza

Bjarke Ingels’ design for the redevelopment of Two Penn Plaza immediately drew comparisons to one of the most famous scenes in movie history: Marilyn Monroe fussing with her dress as she stands over a subway grate in “The Seven Year Itch.” Vornado Realty Trust plans to replace the office tower’s dreary and drab exterior with a glassy facade and “massive undulating canopy,” which will rise 85 feet high and extend out 65 feet in some spots.

A rendering of HAP Four

HAP Four

Karim Rashid unveiled a rendering less Lego-like for HAP Investment Developers’ modular rental building at 655 West 187th Street in Washington Heights. The upgraded look evokes Rashid’s colorful (and at times controversial) style, with a purple facade and windows shaped like puzzle pieces. The eight-story building, which will span 47,343 square feet and contain 47 units, will be shipped in from Pennsylvania and constructed from 97 modular units.

A rendering of 70 Vestry

70 Vestry

While 520 Park Avenue and 220 Central Park South are grabbing all the headlines, another one of Robert A.M. Stern’s signature buildings will rise in Tribeca — just ask Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady. The 14-story condo building, to be developed by Related Companies, will have (you guessed it) a French limestone facade with a boxy shape reminiscent of the neighborhood’s warehouses. Residents will have access to plenty of amenities, like yoga facilities and a full-size Squash Court — but it seems like the building’s proximity to the Hudson River could be the best perk of all.

A rendering of the Nordstrom flagship store at Central Park Tower

Nordstrom at Central Park Tower

The much talked-about Central Park Tower from Extell Development is but a cherry on top of the project’s massive Nordstrom flagship store. The retailer’s first Manhattan location is set to span 363,000 feet and encompass four properties on Broadway between West 57th and West 58th streets. James Carpenter Design Associates conceived a glassy, undulating facade for the seven-story, 292,000-square-foot store at the base of Gary Barnett’s supertall, which would be the Western Hemisphere’s tallest residential tower upon its completion (if he can nail down a construction loan).

A rendering of 565 Broome Soho

565 Broome Soho

After designing a new home for the Whitney Museum and Columbia University’s Jerome L. Green Science Center building, Italian architect Renzo Piano is tackling his first residential tower in New York City. The teaser site for the Bizzi & Partners-led condo project at 100 Varick Street (also known as 565 Broome Soho) officially dropped in April. The renderings show two 30-story towers, with interiors for the building’s 115 units just as smooth as the project’s facade.

A rendering of the Manhattan skyline in 2020

Manhattan skyline in 2020

It’s nearly impossible to predict what the city’s skyline will look like five years from now. But CityRealty attempts to do just that, with a visualization of all the skyscrapers set to rise in New York City by 2020. The image shows clusters of towers on Manhattan’s Far West side (Hudson Yards), along Billionaires’ Row (Central Park Tower and 220 Central Park South) and Downtown (Two World Trade Center and 50 West Street). It even reveals how Brooklyn’s skyline will be impacted JDS Development’s 9 DeKalb, the borough’s first planned supertall.

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