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520 West 28th

Zaha Hadid Architects

New York, United States

March 2018


Zaha Hadid Architects


Ismael Leyva Architects


Related Companies




With an arrangement that reinvents the spatial experience, each residence has its own distinctive identity, offering multiple perspectives and captivating views of the neighbourhood. The chevron form originated from the idea of split-levels, but by interlocking the shapes, visually they become one single line which weaves up to the rooftop. The Building itself projects out towards the Highline and due to the close proximity, the elevated garden scape almost becomes its backyard. The double-height entrance lobby offers glimpses beyond to the residents’ communal spaces and outdoor garden. The large terraces, courtyard, indoor pool & spa, entertainment space and playrooms give additional opportunities for the residents to relax and entertain.
The ultimate goal was make the exterior a part of the interior experience. The façade’s continuous character and influence can be seen in areas like the lobby, the event space and amenities, on both the ground and lower ground levels. Within the residences, the exterior balconies bleed into the interior space, echoing this sentiment.
The residence itself becomes a bespoke ZHA designed product, employing a quiet character to allow future homeowners to personalise their space. Each home is anchored with the form and materiality of ‘objects’; using fine detailing and finishes as a manifestation of the overall conceptual identity of the project, allowing the apartment’s amenities to become sculptural elements within that of the building. The neutral material palette imbues each residence with a feeling of discreet luxury, complemented by bespoke design elements, intricate details and careful alignment.


The site sits along the Highline, in an area with an enduring history that has witnessed significant transformation in recent years. Zaha Hadid loved New York City and visited galleries in nearby Chelsea regularly; she was fascinated by the vibrant and ever-changing face of the city. The Highline itself showcases the transitional nature of New York: connecting areas of Manhattan as a pedestrian walkway, whilst serving as an open-air exhibition and event space.
The design for 520 W28th Street was developed through careful consideration of the site and context, aiming to reflect the industrial history of the area. The handcrafted stainless steel façade achieves this ambition: the dual-finish creates a visual language between the raw industrial historic aesthetic and the smooth polished finish reflects the area’s maturing character. Our in-depth contextual studies gave us the foundation to create something that complements and enhances the locality, while extending the realms of possibility, to bring vision to life. The envelope was crafted carefully following local codes to maximise the building’s volume. A Series of rigorous studies ensured that the site’s full potential was exploited: in terms of volume, lines of site, interaction with surroundings, etc. This resulted in the split level approach employed to achieve optimisation of the outline with an increased ceiling height within the lobby space, maximising the overall building height while maintaining a balance within the streetscape. Thus the building can be viewed as a sculptural volume that has grown within the site, embedded within the context.


520 W28th defies the traditional definition of luxury in NYC. While some elements are retained: ceiling heights and floor plan layouts, the design and materiality sets this property aside. Luxury is often associated with exclusive and rich materials of all kinds, here we broke with tradition and made a conscious decision to deliver a muted palette, allowing the bespoke design elements form and fine detailing to speak to the quality of the space.
The public areas finishes fall into three groups: private, semi private and public, creating a hierarchy of materiality that shape changing moods through colour, texture and composition. These areas are play host to a unique interplay of interior and exterior space through horizontal and vertical voids, culminating in an exceptional experience. The amenity area is accessed from stairs in the lobby at ground level and is further connected to the lobby through a vertical void. It is bordered by the louvered gym wall allowing a glimpse of sporting activity, and an illuminated view of the pool. The skylight feature connects the pool to the exterior courtyard space and allows a cascade of light into the subterranean level, but it must first pass through a layer of water, eventually bathing the pool in diffused light. The building seeks combines multiple elements of design in response to the context and use, to create a spatial experience complemented by materiality and lighting. The stepped façade echoes the layered experience waiting within.

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