Best Tall Mixed-Use Building Award of Excellence: 35 Hudson Yards, New York City

Frank Mahan
Associate Director
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, New York City

Hagen Scutt
Vice President of Design & Construction
Related Companies, New York City

Elegantly Resolving Structural and Programmatic Complexity at 35 Hudson Yards

Hudson Yards is a massive, 28-acre (11.3-hectare) development on the Far West Side of Manhattan built above active railroad tracks, and 35 Hudson Yards is its tallest residential tower. Fitting all the program requirements of the tower—retail, offices, a gym, and a hotel, in addition to the residences— was one of the primary challenges. The architects solved this by stacking each use vertically on floor plates of different sizes, with transitions expressed by a series of setbacks that twist upward around the tower. One of the major challenges of the project was designing a mixed-use building with a very small ground footprint. Every use required its own entrance, lobby, and elevators, and each of these necessities vied for space on the ground floor. Designing a welcoming ground floor that is also appropriate for each use required careful planning. The idea was to stack each program atop one another, a feat that was made possible by the integrated design team and the tower’s structural solution.

Despite its structural complexity, the tower appears simple, fluid, and logical, with a twisting and symmetrical geometry of limestone. The design draws inspiration from its location. Situated at the intersection of east-west movement along 34th Street, and a north-south band of park spaces, the building becomes a fulcrum at which these two forces meet and turn. Terraces at each setback create outdoor gardens that become smaller and more frequent toward the top of the structure. Clad in a pleated composition of the limestone and glass, the tower’s façade unifies the elements stacked within.

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