Plans unveiled for tallest apartment tower in New York City

A new skyscraper could be making its mark on the Lower Manhattan skyline in the next few years. Architect and artist Santiago Calatrava recently unveiled plans for a residential tower that looks like an 835-foot pile of building blocks.

The design, inspired by some of Calatrava’s artwork, contains a stack of a dozen 45-foot glass cubes, each assembled off center from the one below it. Every four-story cube would be cantilevered from a concrete core, where the elevators, stairways, plumbing and electrical lines would be. The exposed top of one cube would serve as the terrace for the cube above it. At the bottom of the tower Calatrava has designed an eight-story base where he hopes a museum or cultural institution will be housed.

Each 10,000-square-foot unit would serve as a single dwelling, or might be split up into two apartments. According to Calatrava, it will be very expensive to build, and expensive for the prospective owners, but only 12 to 24 interested parties are needed to fill the available space.

The tower, to be built at 80 South Street, would replace a six-story brick building near the Brooklyn Bridge. Although the building is still in the planning stages, if constructed, it would be the tallest apartment building, and likely one of the most expensive, in New York City. While the structure would be a stark contrast next to the 19th-century “countinghouses” in the neighborhood, the Lower Manhattan community board has said its height shouldn’t be a problem since the structure’s design is fairly narrow and transparent.

Calatrava, who has received acclaim for his design of the new World Trade Center transportation hub, expects the tower to be completed in 2006 or 2007 if construction stays on schedule and financing goes smoothly.