Courtscrapers are now a thing thanks to New York City's latest addition to its skyline

Courtscrapers are now a thing thanks to New York City's latest addition to its skyline

Rise and shine

Text: Adibah Isa

Image: BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group

VIΛ 57 West by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group is finally completed, introducing the residential 'Courtscraper' — European courtyard + American skyscraper — to the public

It's not a skyscraper. It's not a courtyard. It's not a pyramid. It's a — wait for it — "courtscraper". Coined by the architects at BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group (the guys behind this year's ice cube-like Serpentine Pavilion), the term reflects New York City's latest addition to Manhattan's skyline, bringing together Europe's charming courtyards with the status symbolism of cosmopolitan towers. It's about time such a hybrid existed in an architect's typology — after all, how else would you inject greenery, make room for lots of space and stand out in a city as dense as the Big Apple?

By creating solutions such as VIΛ 57 West. Situated on the corner of West 57th Street and the West Side Highway, the tetrahedral building houses 709 apartments across a range of studio, one, two, three and four bedroom residences; and a 22,000 square foot garden that's one/13,000th the size of Central Park. In fact, that central courtyard shares the exact proportions of New York's famed green centre, landscaped by Starr Whitehouse with 80 new trees and 47 species of native plants. Besides looking out and over this natural ecosystem, residents also have views over the Hudson River.



Design started in the spring of 2010 with construction following suit in 2011. Rising 32 storeys above ground, the architects have lifted the north-east portion of VIΛ 57 West to maximise the number of apartments, as well as provide every unit with an enviable view. Steering away from traditional skinny glass high-rise facades of Manhattan, this concrete courtscraper benefits from the compactness and intimacy of a classic courtyard with the expansive views of a skyscraper.

Even though residents started moving in since May 2016, VIΛ 57 West has already won CTBUH Awards 2016's Best Tall Building award. Credit's due to BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group of course, who've been making waves with three other New York City-based projects: NYPD's first police station with a green roof, a twisting skyscraper, and Two World Trade Center. The Danish force is strong in this one, for better for worse. 

VIΛ 57 West is located at 625 West 57th Street, New York City. For more information, click here.