‘Complementary siblings’ towers connect NYC boroughs

A residential complex, Eagle + West, lies at the intersection of the Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens boroughs in NYC’s Greenpoint neighborhood. It commands attention with its distinct cantilevered form comprised of two towers, designed as “complementary siblings.”

Located on the northernmost tip of Brooklyn at the conjunction of an angled East River shoreline, Greenpoint’s primary grid, and a secondary grid extending perpendicular to Newton Creek, Eagle + West activates a new hinge point between Brooklyn and Queens, with a panoramic orientation to the Manhattan skyline.

The complex spans more than 55,700 m2 (600,000 sf) of space—offering 745 units of market-rate and affordable housing—and adds 2,787 m2 (30,000 sf) of public space to the city. It extends Eagle and Dupont streets to the East River, through the creation of a plaza and a waterfront esplanade.

The project was designed for developer Brookfield Properties by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), in collaboration with Beyer Blinder Belle as the executive architect; Marmol Radziner as the amenities interior designer and building landscape architect; and James Corner Field Operations as the waterfront landscape architect. Further, DeSimone Consulting Engineers served as the structural engineer; Cosentini Associates was the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) consultant; Thornton Tomasetti was the facade consultant; Cerami & Associates was the acoustics consultant; Langan was the civil engineer; MTWTF was the wayfinding and signage designer; and McLaren Engineering Group was the marine engineer.

The complex is defined by two towers—one 40 stories high (D1) and the other 30 stories high (D2)—­connected by a seven-story building acting as a shared platform between them. The towers take on the form of stacked blocks of seven to eight stories, with cantilevered floorplates.

The D1 tower, 122 m (400 ft) in height, widens as it rises, while the 30-story tower, 91.4 m (300 ft) in height, widens at the ground to face a waterfront esplanade. The system of terraces and overhangs appears to visually force the connection between the two—they become a pair appearing to be connected by the crack-like gap between them. D1 tower’s cantilevers step out in 7.3-m (24-ft) increments on one side at a time, and they extend the building 14.6 m (48 ft) from its base.

According to the designers, they wanted to avail the views of the waterfront without creating a separation from the surrounding neighborhood. Another factor to consider was the zoning, which allowed only 1,021.9 m (11,000 sf) of maximum floorplate. This space would restrict the distance between the towers to 12.1 m (40 ft) and cancel the building’s intention to not be an imposing, closed off mass. The resulting design reduced the floorplates of the blocks to create 18.2 m (60 ft) in between the two towers, similar to the width of a typical street. The resulting formation is akin to what the designers call “a ziggurat and its inverse.”

A double-story amenity bridge, spanning 64 m (210 ft) in length and 11.6 m (38 ft) in width, connects the two towers. It cantilevers 4.6 m (15 ft) out over Dupont and Eagle streets. The bridge’s structure is made from two sets of two-story Vierendeel trusses, which allow it to span between the two towers and carry a full-height curtain wall system to provide access to city views.

The blocks of seven to eight stories mirror the scale of the neighboring buildings. The facade also refers to the townhouses in the Greenpoint neighborhood, with the grid of square windows bordered by a cladding of precast concrete shingles. The concrete panels are laid in five different angled orientations from one block to the other, to embrace the sun’s movement.

“Eagle + West reflects the collective ambition—with Brookfield, Park Tower Group, and the design and construction teams—to create a platform for living connecting past and future, indoor and outdoor, urban life and waterfront,” says Jason Long, partner at OMA. “The two towers—complementary siblings—create an ever-shifting presence that engages both the neighborhood and the waterfront. It will be exciting to see how the project grows as people begin to make it their home.”

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