Last week I took an exclusive tour of CBSK Ironstate's 301 East 50, a 57-unit residential condo under construction in Manhattan's Midtown East neighborhood. The 29-story tower is one of the latest projects by COOKFOX Architects, a firm known for combining high design with sustainable principles.
Inspiration for the design direction of the project came in part from the era of French Modernism, a movement that brought nature back into the often sterile, machine-like aesthetic of the modern movement. Looking to artists of that period such as Eileen Gray, Man Ray, and Constantin Brancusi, COOKFOX has crafted a tower of modern conveniences combined with timeless materials that evoke a warmth often lacking in modern architecture.
Installation is wrapping up on the limestone panels that clad the exterior. The panels reference the Indiana limestone cladding of nearby Rockefeller Center, a precedent for the design team. Smooth limestone panels are interspersed with textured limestone panels that resemble the vertical lines of the bush hammered concrete facades of nearby buildings. The subtle detail helps to avoid a monolithic appearance on the facade. Apart from aesthetics, the exterior wall contributes to the sustainable design strategies of the building, as the deep stone exterior walls create a thermal mass that helps moderate temperatures extremes in the summer and winter. Zinc panels with a vertical pattern clad the circulation core at the east elevation as well as the spandrel areas above the windows on the penthouse floors.
Large windows punctuate the stone facade, providing ample light and spectacular views from the interior. Each unit receives a large corner window that provides a dramatic vista of the neighborhood. From the exterior, the openings indicate how the typical floor plan stack changes as you move up the building, while adding variation to the facade's design. Installation of the exterior sunshades have begun on the windows, another sustainable strategy that moderates solar heat gain and helps bring light deep into the residences.
Interiors are also designed by COOKFOX Architects with the same attention to detail found in the exterior design. There are custom touches throughout, including different geometric patterns for the mosaic tile in the master and secondary bathrooms.
Amenities for the building include a double height fitness center, spa, landscaped terrace, and storage units for residents.