Prism Tower

Prism Tower, New York - United States, Christian de Portzamparc

Construction year:
Architect(s): Prism Tower
City/Town: Prism Tower

The project is the result of a policy implemented by Amanda Burden, New York City Planning
director, which aims to foster architectural creation by requiring developers to negotiate air
rights at district level, allowing them to build beyond city regulations. This is called the
Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).

Prism Tower, New York - United States, Christian de Portzamparcphoto © Wade Zimmerman

Instigated by its first promoter, Albert Kalimian, and developed in conjunction with the
City Planning office by the architect in 2002, the project obtained authorization for an
additional 17,000 sq.m. in 2003. It was postponed as a result of the economic situation.
It was then taken up by Equity Residential and Toll Brothers and was completed in 2015.
Situated at the corner of Park Avenue and 28th Street, the building comprises two main
sections complemented by a vertical pavilion on each side. The space opened between the
tower and its surroundings tempers the “light shaft” phenomenon. The prismatic design of
the volumes gathers light while optimizing views onto the streets to provide a perspective
into the far distance and takes into account the necessary recess towards the avenue.

Prism Tower, New York - United States, Christian de Portzamparcphoto © Wade Zimmerman

At ground level, the bottom floors house businesses and a small square integrates the subway
exit into the building which becomes an interesting feature on the avenue. On Park Avenue,
the continuity of the facades is maintained with the historic 1930’s buildings, including its
large neighbours the Metropolitan Life Insurance Building and the New York Life Insurance
Co, with which it establishes a dialogue on the New York skyline.

The bottom 22 floors, with 269 rental apartments developed by Equity Residential have an
access on 28th Street and the top 18 floors with 81 condominium apartments developed by
Toll Brothers have an access on Park Avenue. The rental tenants and condo residents share
the lower level amenities, which include a pool, fitness center with a sauna, and a lounge.

Contributed by Christian de Portzamparc

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