OMA Completes Its First NYC Building

John Hill
28. May 2019
Photo: Laurian Ghinitoiu

OMA - Office for Metropolitan Architecture has wrapped up the residential complex at 121 East 22nd Street, the firm's first ground-up building in Manhattan.

Fans of Rem Koolhaas's firm are certainly familiar with 22nd Street. OMA's 2007 design for 23 East 22nd Street cantilevered to the east to look around an adjacent tower and grab views of Madison Square Park to the north. That residential tower, which would have been the firm's first NYC building, was squashed by the recession in 2008.

The north tower at 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue (Photo: Laurian Ghinitoiu)

A decade later, after a number of retail and other interiors projects (including the recent Sotheby's renovation), OMA finally completed its first new building on the island of Manhattan, one block east of its failed 23 East 22nd Street. Designed by OMA partner Shohei Shigematsu for developer Toll Brothers City Living, 121 East 22nd Street is actually comprised of two residential towers (the taller north tower on 23rd Street and the shorter south tower on 22nd Street, where the lobby is located) linked by three levels of common spaces that ring a central courtyard, what the architects call "the valley."

The north tower (right) and south tower (left) wrap a 1915 stone building at the corner of 22nd Street and Lexington Avenue that houses a school. (Photo: Iwan Baan)

World-Architects got a peek inside 121 East 22nd Street last week. Below are some photos from that visit.

Looking from a terrace on the 9th floor of the south tower toward the L-shaped north tower and the valley and second-floor terrace between the towers. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
A ninth-floor terrace on the street side of the south tower, showing the black precast concrete panels that cover the facade. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
Looking up from the valley with the south tower at top and north tower at bottom. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
The walls of the valley, seen from the ground-floor corridor linking the two towers, express the diagonal lines of the stairs that descend to the basement pool and gym, and ascend to the second floor lounge, screening room, children's play room and other amenities. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
Looking in the opposite direction from the previous photo to see the sliding glass wall opened to the valley. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
The pool at the basement level has its own sliding glass wall to unite inside and outside. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
The stair from the ground floor down to the basement. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
The stair from the ground floor up to the second floor amenities. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
The corner terrace of the residential unit on the 13th floor of the north tower. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
Looking up from the terrace to the folded corner and the precast facade. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
The corner unit on the 15th floor of the north tower exhibits the folding of the facade and the structure required to accommodate it. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)
A common roof terrace on the north tower has a view west toward Madison Square Park and a tall glass tower by KPF (at left) that was built a few doors west of OMA's failed 23 East 22nd Street. (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)

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