21 Chelsea
Manhattan, NYC
2000
Client
B & L Management
Services
Architectural Design

Located at 120 West 21st Street, this project is an excellent example of how New York's contextual zoning regulations encourage the design of buildings that are in keeping with the scale and bulk of the surrounding streetscape. The owner's program called for the development of a market rate rental apartment building, containing approximately 200 units. The economics required that the building be built utilizing poured-in-place concrete, exposed eyebrows with a brick exterior cavity wall, a typical New York City palette.

Responding to the owner's wishes and the zoning constraints, which made it difficult to utilize the as-of-right floor area in a conventional building envelope, the architects maximized the allowable zoning bulk in a manner that breaks up the volume and creates a building with a lot of visual interest.

The facade is heavily modulated and stepped to maximize the allowable zoning volume. The predominant building material is a jumbo Norman, rose-colored brick. Corners are ornamented with projecting brick courses that recall historic coining. The ground floor is rusticated with alternating horizontal recessed brick courses. Two bands of soldiers interrupted by an intermediate projecting rowlock course, further articulate the ground floor scale.