If you were to guess the location of No. 33 Park Row by its name alone, you might say London. Marketing copy for the luxury address even favorably compares the 377-foot-tall residential tower in Manhattan’s Financial District with One Hyde Park in Knightsbridge, another high-end high-rise design by RSHP (formerly Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners). The project’s London-ness extends to its sleek but unshowy massing and prim glass-and-steel detailing.
The tower, which replaced a beloved electronics store, stands on a somewhat awkward diamond-shaped lot. Looking to place emphasis on the corner, the architects oriented the project toward City Hall Park, from where it would be seen in a three-quarter pose. They set the core back from the two primary exposures and fanned out the interior spaces. In doing so, they were able to create great variety in the layouts of the residential units—30 in all, ranging in size from one to five bedrooms, plus penthouses.
Perhaps because of its relatively low height (less than half that of its neo-art deco neighbor, COOKFOX’s 25 Park Row) and svelte profile, No. 33 has what Simon Davis, associate partner at RSHP, called a “suave European elegance.” This quality, he added, follows on from the “sensitive and sensible design ethos of the facade design,” which draws on more local referents. Close by are some of the city’s most venerable skyscrapers, including Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building and McKim, Mead & White’s Manhattan Municipal Building. The project adjoins the red-brick 5 Beekman Street, whose rich terra-cotta ornament is outdone only by the Potter Building across the street. At No. 33, patinated copper screens integrated into metal sections fabricated by Custom Metalcrafters visually nod to this surface treatment. Across its 23 stories, the reddish fins mark out loggias that add depth and rhythm to the facade surface while delineating the residences and amenities (for example, an expansive wellness center) from the lower retail floors.
Owing to a grade change, the Beekman Street frontage steps up to meet the Park Row elevation. A deft touch was needed to work out their detailing, Davis explained: “The setting out of the vertical facade sections and screens is at 7-foot 5-inch centers on the Beekman side and 8-foot centers on the Park Row side. The articulation is in a 2-story composition to lend an appropriate scale and proportion to the building facades. Each story is set at a 12-foot floor-to-floor [height].”
The residences are bright and inviting thanks to plentiful, floor-to-ceiling, clear-glass windows, which are secured to the concrete frame by adjustable curtain-wall brackets that tie into Halfen channels. The architects specified laminated, double-glazed IGUs with a low-e coating in conjunction with multipane unitized panels; the latter, numbering approximately 450, were designed by Custom Metalcrafters and Pielle to require minimal framing. In many units, large-format, lift-and-slide glass doors open onto loggias and terraces.
The remaining units feature Juliet balconies. In these sections, glass appears to have filled in the deep voids of the loggias, while the continuous bounding lines of the copper screens emphasize the corner condition brilliantly. It’s aesthetic choices like these that both endear No. 33 Park Row to its august neighbors and set it off from more ostentatious newcomers.
Ekam Singh is an MArch student at the Pratt Institute School of Architecture. In 2021–22, he was one of three New Voices in Architectural Journalism fellows. The program was sponsored by Pratt and AN.