301 E 50

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. 

Northwest corner from Second Avenue.

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. 

Northwest corner with limestone panel installation.

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.

 West elevation with limestone panel installation.

West elevation with limestone panel installation.

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.

Southwest corner of the tower from Second Avenue.

Facade panels awaiting installation.

Detail of the southwest corner of the facade.

Looking north on Second Avenue.

Rendering of the northeast corner of the tower. Rendering by Visual Unit Worldwide.

Looking west to the central Midtown skyline. Notable building include the Citygroup Center tower (far right), Rockefeller Center (center left), and the MetLife Building (far left).

Looking south towards Midtown East from the mechanical platform. Notable buildings include the Empire State Building (far right), Chrysler Building (right), 50 UN Plaza (far left).

Looking east towards the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park and Long Island City in Queens from the mechanical platform.

A northwest corner window.

A southeast corner bedroom. 

Window with exterior fin installed.

Detail of exterior fin attachment.

Southeast corner of the tower with an exterior fin installed on the lowest floor.

East tower facade.

Zinc panels.

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. 

Master bathroom.

Rendering of the master bathroom. Rendering by Visual Unit Worldwide.

Master bathroom wall tile.

Master bathroom floor tile.

Secondary bathroom.

Secondary bathroom wall tile. 

Secondary bathroom floor tile.

Amenities for the building include a double height fitness center, spa, landscaped terrace, and storage units for residents.

Fitness center under construction.

Rendering of the fitness center. Rendering by Visual Unit Worldwide.

East facade from East 50th Street.

ArchitectsCOOKFOX ArchitectsDeveloperCBSK IronstateProgram: Residential; Location: Midtown East, New York, NY; Completion: 2015.