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. A data visualization shows 200 years of immigration to the U.S. represented as a thickening tree trunk.
    Life

    A New Way of Seeing 200 Years of American Immigration

    To depict how waves of immigrants shaped the United States, a team of designers looked to nature as a model.

  2. Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village
    Perspective

    How Low Turnover Fuels New York City’s Affordable Housing Crisis

    American Community Survey data shows that New Yorkers stay in apartments, including rent-regulated ones, for longer than most, leaving little room for newcomers.

  3. A photo of a "yellow vest" protester in Paris, where high gas taxes have contributed to a wave of unrest.
    Environment

    What France’s ‘Yellow Vest’ Protests Can Teach California

    A lesson from Paris: Policies that reduce climate emissions at the expense of the economically disadvantaged are unsustainable.

  4. A photo of Andrew Field, the owner of Rockaway Taco, looking out from his store in the Rockaway Beach neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York.
    Life

    Tacos and Transit: Rate Your City

    From taco-rich San Diego to the tortilla wastelands of Boston, we asked you to grade U.S. cities on two critical metrics: Mexican food and public transportation.

  5. A photo of a man sitting on a bench in East Baltimore.
    Equity

    Why Is It Legal for Landlords to Refuse Section 8 Renters?

    San Jose and Baltimore are considering bills to prevent landlords from rejecting tenants based on whether they are receiving federal housing aid. Why is that necessary?