BKSK goes modern at One Vandam: Architecture review

A rendering of One Vandam at 180 Sixth Avenue
A rendering of One Vandam at 180 Sixth Avenue

Sales are set to start this fall for One Vandam, an ambitious condominium development at 180 Sixth Avenue, but it has yet to take shape. The renderings, however, are quite promising.

The building will consist of a twelve story setback rising over a double-height base, its façade a vigorous mix of limestone and glass. This project was designed by the firm of BKSK, whose New York City commissions include plans for 529 Broadway, a low-rise retail project from Jeff Sutton and Bobby Cayre, and sprawling condos at 24 Leonard Street as well as Harsen House, which was completed several years ago at 120 West 72nd Street.

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BKSK has exhibited considerable skill in creating new designs that fit elegantly and unobtrusively into a preexisting and usually prewar context. This most recent design, however, is somewhat more aggressively modern. Its slab-on-base typology goes back to Skidmore Owings and Merrill’s Lever House (1951) while the articulation of the windows of the slab are syncopated in a way that suggests a provisional comfort with the deconstructivist style. The general design conception of the building, with its slightly curving footprint, as well as the articulation of the surface, retains a certain affinity with the nearby One Jackson Square, so ably designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox three years ago.

Conceived by Quinlan Development Group and Tavros Development Partners, One Vandam will be a 14-story structure that contains 25 condo units, a mix of one- to five-bedrooms that range in size from 1,000 to 5,000 square feet.

The slab will rise over the base — whose mullioned windows are far more regular than those of the slab itself — on pylons that will make way for a terrace on the second floor, which will be open to all of the residents. It remains to be seen if the differences in the window treatments of the base and the slab will succeed in the finished project, but the renderings suggest that it is certainly worth a try.