105 West 57th Street’s Sides to be Covered in LED Lights

As New York’s ultra-luxury real estate boom continues, more news has been released about the future tower at 105 West 57th Street, which is just down the block from One57. The skyscraper, designed by Cetra/Ruddy, will feature stainless steel cladding along its lot-line walls (those facing neighboring buildings rather than north or south). Besides the stainless steel, which is a huge improvement over other materials (like horrible grey concrete), the walls will also be punctuated by thousands of LED lights.

Specifically, in an interview with The Architect’s Newspaper, John Cetra (of Cetra Ruddy) said “Whatever direction you see it from, it will sparkle with light.”

While the initial renderings do show a Central Park skyline-defining building (at almost 700 feet in height and 52 stories), they also depict balconies protruding from the side of the tower that faces Central Park. This is the tower’s only apparent major design flaw, as balconies in almost all cases are superfluous and ugly. It’s almost impossible to have a good-looking building if balconies are included (terraces are another story, and they are fantastic). In 105 West 57th’s case, the balconies almost appear to be the skyscraper version of shingles, a random eruption from what would otherwise be a stunning and modern facade.. 
Luckily nothing has been finalized yet and the balconies are such a minor detail that at some point they could easily be changed. Perhaps the same could be said for the LED lights, though removing those would be incredibly unfortunate. 105 West 57th will help define the skyline when viewed from Central Park, but from any other vantage point it will be totally invisible. The lights are great because of 105 West 57th’s context, but more importantly they would keep the skyline interesting in between the giant monoliths now rising along 57th Street. 
105 West 57th New York City
105 West 57th and its horrible case of ‘The Balconies’: Image from the NY Observer

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3 Comments on "105 West 57th Street’s Sides to be Covered in LED Lights"

  1. Why the screed against balconies? Balconies are – by definition – ugly? Take a look to the West to the unknowable, unseeable, uncountable One57. No scale, no rhythm, what architecture? I, for one, applaud the effort to do something other than the most cost efficient (read “cheap”) uninterrupted imported windowwall. Is residential architecture in NY now to be consigned to a period reminiscent to that of what commercial architecture was in the 1960’s-70’s (think Park and Sixth Avenues).

  2. Residential architecture shouldn’t be confined to any particular style, but many recent buildings–like 15 Central Park West–lack balconies. Not ALL balconies are ugly, but the vast majority pockmark buildings like acne scars. I think there are certain kinds of buildings–like bland Miami glass condos–where balconies don’t detract, but that’s because the buildings themselves aren’t stupendous to begin with. I think the design for 105 W57th is actually pretty awesome, and the balconies detract from the ‘thinness’ of the building.

  3. Couldn’t disagree more. Would you want to live in an apartment that had no outdoor space? I know you said that terraces are good, but only a tiny fraction of all apartments in any cities have a terrace. I for one wouldn’t even THINK of living in an apartment that lacked a balconey. I need fresh air and outdoor space.

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