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Bjarke Ingels’ Spiral is obsessed with the High Line. The 66-storey, 260,130-square-metre commercial building was designed to connect with the elevated park and continue its green horizon vertically. “The Spiral [as the building is named] punctuates the northern end of the High Line, and the linear park appears to carry through into the tower, forming an ascending ribbon of lively green spaces, extending the High Line to the skyline,” Ingels explains in the official press release. His firm, BIG, collaborated with Adamson Associates and structural engineers WSP Cantor Seinuk on the super-tall. Made up of exterior balconies, the green ribbon wraps the building in what Ingels evocatively describes as a “1,000-foot-tall vine.”

View from a terrace in Bjarke Ingels' Spiral

Taken on its own – and apart from its relationship with the High Line – the Spiral is impressive. Located at West 34th Street between Hudson Boulevard and 10th Avenue, it presents a fresh approach to commercial high-rises. “Every floor of the tower opens up to the outdoors, creating hanging gardens and cascading atria that connect the open floor plants from the ground floor to the summit into a single uninterrupted workspace.”

View looking up the staggered balconies of Bjarke Ingels' Spiral

Select floors offer a double-height amenity space and the “option to connect adjacent floors via a grand staircase.” On the 66th floor, the building hosts the ZO Clubhouse, with a private lounge and open-air terrace where tenants can gather and recharge. (These tenants include Pfizer, Debevoise & Plimpton, HSBC and Turner Construction, which built the Spiral for developer Tishman Speyer.)

Plants hang from the balconies of Bjarke Ingels' Spiral

With about 1,200 square metres of outdoor space, the Spiral sets a precedent in Manhattan. Each level features specific plant species: those native to the American prairie, and therefore resistant to high winds and droughts, on the ground; a second layer of shrubs and taller bushes are added to the upper levels; and single- and multi-stem trees that flower as early as February at the top of the building.

The lobby at Bjarke Ingels' Spiral
Photo by Tommy Agriodimas

The building tapers as it rises, following the site’s zoning envelope, its stepped architecture visually linking it to icons like the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center. The interiors enjoy generous ceiling heights and diffused sunlight thanks to the facade’s specially coated exterior glass. The lobby incorporates seven different metals to honour the area’s industrial history, and floor panels measure to the exact dimensions of the precast concrete planks the span the High Line.

Bjarke Ingels' Spiral takes its place on the Manhattan skyline

The tower also features a water management system that collects rainwater and redistributes it for nourishing the tiered landscapes. This new icon of the New York City skyline brings a new twist to commercial high rises in form and function and it continue’s BIG’s exploration of sustainable hedonism.

Bjarke Ingels’ Spiral Plants a Green Ribbon in the Sky

BIG’s new super-tall in New York City is a 66-storey commercial building with a vertical garden that meets up with the High Line and extends its plant life to the the skyline.

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