The shimmering profile of One Jackson Square – which wraps around an angular, eight-pointed lot where Eighth and Greenwich avenues meet in Manhattan – is really just what happens when a determined project team faces a daunting puzzle.

Photo: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

“Often, a project that has complex constraints or inputs results in a richer, more sophisticated output,” says David Penick, project officer for Hines, the developer of the $35 million, 35-unit luxury residential building that opened late last year. “[Architect Kohn Pedersen Fox’s] theme to unify the design of the building involved this undulating curtain wall wrapper, which took the regular zoning lot and made it uniform by virtue of this beautiful, unique glass and metal skin. It was a highly complex undertaking, a big challenge to accommodate these shapes, angles, curves.”

The new structure has married into its Greenwich Village neighborhood since it opened last fall, sloping from 11 to seven to five stories to conform to zoning regulations and blend with some of the city’s oldest structures, while also framing the urban oasis of Jackson Square Park. On the inside, the nearly sold-out units – on the market for $2.4 million to $21 million – range from low-rise spaces linked to street level and mid-rise duplexes to crowning penthouses, while the carved wood lobby, sinewy hallways, and other public spaces sport avant-garde design.

Construction began in September 2005 on a parking lot that for decades had scared away developers because it stood above the Eighth Avenue subway tunnel. That complication required careful excavation and an intricate structural engineering plan that has the building “floating” above the subway to protect the tunnel but also minimize the impact of vibration from rumbling trains. In the end, the building puts no load on the subway structure but instead stands atop high-strength vibration isolation springs and pads. It supports lateral loads through vertical piles that the project team drilled into bedrock around the tunnels.

On the exterior, a carefully rationalized design aimed to continue the neighborhood’s architectural conversation, says Trent Tesch, principal at KPF. “We saw the historic district to be incredibly diverse with many buildings from different periods,” he adds. “The successful ones, ones that we still like today, were the ones that borrowed from the context but also brought something new to the site.”

A central ingredient in that effort is a custom curtainwall system composed of irregular exterior sections with 2-ft high recessed reveals at each slab – each of them unique and not aligned with the floor levels in order to give each floor-height “ribbon” its own path across the fa�ade. The approach creates what is not technically curtainwall but rather a hybrid stick-and-unit system that conformed to the odd-shaped slabs and the irregularly facetted and welded aluminum reveals, but still allowed installation of sections as long as 12 ft.

The building, which is registered for LEED certification, also inspired a precise and multi-step milling process to create a continuous curving and layered bamboo plywood surface for the lobby that exposes no end pieces.

Key Players

Developer/Owner: Hines
CM: Hunter Roberts Construction Group, New York
Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, New York*

*Submitted Project to New York Construction