Buildings With Sections That Appear to Hover in Midair

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Buildings With Sections That Seem to Hover in Midair

Architectural firm FXCollaborative had a similar goal when they designed Jolie, a condominium being developed by Trinity Place Holdings at 77 Greenwich Street in the Financial District that is nearing completion.

"We didn't have any real height restriction, but it comes with how tall and how thin you want to build," said Matthew Messinger, President and CEO of Trinity Place Holdings. "This building is actually a little over 150 meters high, but it has extremely competitive, attractive prospects," he said. "We didn't have to build a total toothpick of a building."

The team achieved their goal by adding a series of modest cantilevers a total of 3 meters above the landmark Dickey House to the south (which Trinity Place Holdings restored as part of a new home for the Public School 150) and a pleated facade that looks over the southern tip of Manhattan. "All eyes were to the southwest," said Dan Kaplan, Senior Partner at FXCollaborative, "to the port, to the water, to the battery itself, to the Statue of Liberty."

Building larger floor slabs at the top of the building also resulted in more floor space exactly where the builder wanted it – in larger, more expensive apartments. "It really made the floor plans upstairs a lot better to climb over the Dickey house," Kaplan said.

Restricted by building regulations, architects and builders use cantilever girders as a creative opportunity to achieve all possible advantages in an increasingly dense cityscape, even when it comes to structural gymnastics.

By making leftover airspace habitable, cantilevers can help overcome the constraints of a construction site, making them unique in a city like New York, where there is little vacant land. In most cases, it's not just about making an architectural statement – it's about finding a way to build more and more compelling homes.

"The great thing about urbanism in New York City is that there are a set of rules and everyone can find a way to interpret the rules a little differently," said Kaplan. "They find their clever way of working within the rules to create the skyline."

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