303–305 E. 44th Street, designed by Eran Chen of ODA Architecture ODA New York

An upcoming residential tower on 44th Street in Manhattan is only 47 feet wide. Can super-slender in-fill projects help NYC's housing squeeze?

Both 432 Park Avenue and 111 W. 57th Street in New York City hit the reset button on the notion of what a residential building could look like. These new and rising towers are pinnacles of urban infill development: super-tall, super-skinny projects whose slim footprints were never considered for high-rises before the current building boom.

When it is completed, 111 W. 57th Street, designed by SHoP Architects, will be just slightly more slender than Rafael Viñoly's 432 Park. At its widest, the SHoP-designed tower will be only 58 feet wide. Given that it will also be one of the tallest buildings in New York City, 111 W. 57th Street can lay claim to the title of skinniest skyscraper in the world.

But here comes the asterisk. There's another project coming to Manhattan that's even thinner: 303–305 E. 44th Street, designed by Eran Chen of ODA Architecture.

303–305 E. 44th Street, designed by Eran Chen of ODA Architecture (ODA New York)

At 47 feet wide, this one's the narrowest of the bunch. Developed by Triangle Assets, the tower will rise about 600 feet high, creating 115,000 square feet of residential space.

The building appears to be an early indication of how the super-tall typology can be adapted for a neighborhood with a slightly less heady real-estate market. The design for 305 E. 44th is predicated on a stack of volumes; nested between them are the project's signature amenities, private gardens.

This ODA building can't compete with 111 W. 57th Street on its width-to-height ratio: At 1,428 feet tall, the SHoP building has an extreme slenderness ratio of about 1:24. Which is just slightly taller and thinner than 432 Park.

But New York can expect to see more projects that look like 305 E. 44th Street. The city is filled with narrow lots that are prime for infill development but don't quite command the luxury residential prices of Midtown near Central Park. It may nevertheless prove profitable—and possible—to build even narrower and taller on these lots to achiever greater density. That's at least a possibility.

303–305 E. 44th Street, designed by Aren Chen (ODA New York)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. The legs of a crash-test dummy.
    Transportation

    A Clue to the Reason for Women’s Pervasive Car-Safety Problem

    Crash-test dummies are typically models of an average man. Women are 73 percent more likely to be injured in a car accident. These things are probably connected.

  2. an aerial photo of urban traffic at night
    Transportation

    The Surprisingly High-Stakes Fight Over a Traffic-Taming ‘Digital Twin’

    Why are some mobility experts spooked by this plan to develop a data standard that would allow cities to build a real-time traffic control system?

  3. a photo of the First Pasadena State Bank building, designed by Texas modernist architects MacKie and Kamrath. It will be demolished on July 21.
    Design

    The Lonely Death of a South Texas Skyscraper

    The First Pasadena State Bank, a 12-story modernist tower inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, has dominated this small town near Houston since 1962.

  4. A photo of anti-gentrification graffiti in Washington, D.C.
    Equity

    The Hidden Winners in Neighborhood Gentrification

    A new study claims the effects of neighborhood change on original lower-income residents are largely positive, despite fears of spiking rents and displacement.

  5. A NASA rendering of a moon base with lunar rover from 1986.
    Life

    We Were Promised Moon Cities

    It’s been 50 years since Apollo 11 put humans on the surface of the moon. Why didn’t we stay and build a more permanent lunar base? Lots of reasons.

×