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Luxury and leisure hit the New York skyline with Richard Meier's latest glazed tower

Our perspective continues to evolve, but our intuition and intention remain the same – to make architecture that evokes passion and emotion, lifts the spirit, and is executed perfectly
– Richard Meier

Richard Meier & Partners have unveiled designs of their tallest tower in New York; an “East River icon” that will place leisure at its heart.

The 42-storey, 460ft high 685 First Avenue building will rise just south of the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan.

“Minimalistic in form, the design of this predominantly black glass building evidences great consideration for materiality, lightness, transparency and order,” said the studio in a statement. “Its taut curtain wall is incised with modular subdivisions and articulated with selective metal panel elements in the form of balconies, canopies and corners.

“A distinguishing feature – an architectural cut-out at the 27th and 28th floors – will exist in dialogue with the building’s context and be visible from across the East River.”

Occupying a 32,365sq ft (3,000sq m) plot, the minimalist glass structure will be home to 556 rental and condominium apartments with panoramic views of the river. Leisure amenities include an indoor swimming pool, fitness centre, children’s playroom, game rooms, private dining room and lounge.

All living room and bedrooms in the building are configured to take advantage of the views and feature light colour schemes designed to complement the smooth and textured surfaces of wood, plaster and glass.

“We asked ourselves, can formal ideas and the philosophy of lightness and transparency, the interplay of natural light and shadow with forms and spaces, be reinterpreted in the precise opposite – white being all colours and black the absence of colour?” said Richard Meier. “Our perspective continues to evolve, but our intuition and intention remain the same – to make architecture that evokes passion and emotion, lifts the spirit, and is executed perfectly.

“The architecture will be finely crafted, precise, elegant and striking. It is very meaningful to me personally to work in New York City, and to give something enduring to the city I call home.”

Developer Sheldon Solow is overseeing the project, which has reached the construction stage.

In an exclusive interview, Meier recently told CLAD that “what we need in our cities is more open space related to the buildings and to the context in which they are built” and called on developers to be given incentives to incorporate public realm into their projects.

At the street level of 685 First Avenue, the building is designed to promote urban activity by providing retail space and access to the grand, double-height lobby, the expansive glazing of which will look out towards the future public park across the street.

New York  First Avenue  Richard Meier  architecture  design 
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Richard Meier & Partners have unveiled designs of their tallest tower in New York; an “East River icon” that will place leisure at its heart. The 42-storey, 460ft high 685 First Avenue building will rise just south of the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan. “Minimalistic in form, the design of this predominantly black glass building evidences great consideration for materiality, lightness, transparency and order,” said the studio in a statement.
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Condominiums will have access to leisure amenities in the building / bloomimages
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