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. Perspective

    In a Pandemic, We're All 'Transit Dependent'

    Now more than ever, public transportation is not just about ridership. Buses, trains, and subways make urban civilization possible.

  2. photo: A cyclist rides past a closed Victoria Park in East London.
    Perspective

    The Power of Parks in a Pandemic

    For city residents, equitable access to local green space is more than a coronavirus-era amenity. It’s critical for physical, emotional, and mental health.

  3. Equity

    These States Are Sowing Confusion About Cities’ Power to Fight Covid-19

    Mixed messages on the legal concept of preemption are confusing cities that want to pass stronger Covid-19 actions, like closed beaches and shelter in place.

  4. photo: San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency employees turn an empty cable car in San Francisco on March 4.
    Transportation

    As Coronavirus Quiets Streets, Some Cities Speed Road and Transit Fixes

    With cities in lockdown and workplaces closed, the big drop in traffic and transit riders allows road repair and construction projects to rush forward.

  5. Coronavirus

    The Post-Pandemic Urban Future Is Already Here

    The coronavirus crisis stands to dramatically reshape cities around the world. But the biggest revolutions in urban space may have begun before the pandemic.

×