Perhaps not since Queen Dido laid out the city of Carthage at the beginning of Roman poet Virgil’s epic Latin poem “Aeneid” has the world seen as energetic a process of urban growth as is now coming into view at Hudson Yards. Already the size of a small city, this part of the Far West Side is a hive of frantic activity as hard hats erect some of the tallest and most extravagant commercial and residential towers in Manhattan.
One Hudson Yards — at 530 West 30th Street, which sits just beyond the southern rim of this massive project — is one of the nearly complete buildings.
Developed by the Related Companies and designed by Steven Davis of Davis Brody Bond — along with Ismael Leyva as executive architect and Andre Kikoski on interiors — this 33-story tower contains 178 residential rentals with prices ranging from $4,700 to $14,800 a month.
Related’s decision to tap Davis Brody Bond was a good one.
The tower is composed of three parts — it rises over a three-story base and is clad in glass fitted into a matrix of reddish brick infill. Its largest component, along its northern exposure, is a serried grid, where the most daring and endearing features are the sharp corners. The northwestern corner is clad in glass rather than brick, which causes the grid to appear to melt away. To the east is a smaller, lower, angled structure in similar cladding. Its eccentric angled relation to that main structure is a clear nod to the Deconstructivist aesthetic that dominates the architecture at Hudson Yards in general. The third component — a glass tower, halfway in height between the two others — acts as something of a mediator.
The result is an elegant and well-made building, even if its angles are hardly as revolutionary now as they might have been 20 years ago. In fact, one of the more noteworthy elements of its design is how well, despite its Deconstructivist roots, it gets along with Robert A.M. Stern’s far more traditional redbrick tower just to the east.
It should be noted that although One Hudson Yards is a rental, it’s been designed with all the refinement — and all the bells and whistles — of a luxury condo. “It is unheard of for a rental these days to be this well made,” Kikoski said during a recent tour of the building. The developers have no doubt run the numbers and concluded that there are many New Yorkers who will be willing to pay to have built-in Miele wine coolers and vented range hoods in their chef’s kitchens, as well as powder rooms arrayed in Italian Ponte Vecchio marble and master bathrooms with Brazilian quartzite vanities.
As Kikoski demonstrated so ably in Wright, the restaurant he designed in the Guggenheim Museum, he has an affinity for mid-century modernist design.
This is on display in the lobby, which is arrayed not only in contemporary furnishings and artwork with a mid-century feel, but also designed with spare accents of burnished bronze that recur throughout the building. Earth tones emerge in the wooden textures of some of the bathroom cabinetry, as well as in the paneling of some of the kitchens and in the elevators and hallways.
According to Kikoski, Related has tried to map out renter demographics, including the professions of their future renters, which range from bond traders and Wall Streeters to artists. And Kikoski has designed many of the spaces and details with those specific renters very much in mind.
One of the most spectacular aspects of these units is the views — and not necessarily of the water and skyline, but of the massive sculptures right outside. The units with northern exposure look out onto Heatherwick Studio’s colossal (and inhabitable) sculpture and architectural folly known as the Vessel, as well as the Shed, the convertible performance space designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Both of these under-construction projects are approaching completion. For the units with the good fortune of facing east, residents will look out onto the High Line, which is surrounded by what’s become a kind of Disneyland of some of the most advanced recent architecture in the city.
It is a warrant of Kikoski’s architectural seriousness, as well as the developer’s commitment to this project, that even the ancillary spaces, such as the elevators, show as much attention to detail as the lobby and bedrooms. In addition, the amenities — which include a regulation half-court basketball court, an 82-foot swimming pool, a saltwater pool and hot tub — are vast and richly arrayed. (There’s also a game room with a two-lane bowling alley, a pool table, a retro foosball table and shuffleboard.)
These amenities, along with the overall charms of this project, give the building a unique distinction. Not since the days of the Upper West Side’s famed Dakota (built in 1884) and the San Remo from half a century later — long before New Yorkers acquired the habit of owning and before those two buildings were converted to co-ops — has a rental building risen in Manhattan as opulent as One Hudson Yards.
An earlier version of this story mistakenly stated that Kohn Pedersen Fox had originally be hired to design One Hudson Yards.