Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Along the High Line: S’pore architect makes watery mark in New York

NEW YORK — Singaporean architect and developer Chan Soo Khian, who has designed and built residences, hotels and museums around the world, is launching his first projects in the United States, where he and his firm SCDA are coming on strong with two condominiums in New York along that magnet for brand-name architects, the High Line. Both the projects — Soori High Line and 515 Highline — will feature watery themes.

NEW YORK — Singaporean architect and developer Chan Soo Khian, who has designed and built residences, hotels and museums around the world, is launching his first projects in the United States, where he and his firm SCDA are coming on strong with two condominiums in New York along that magnet for brand-name architects, the High Line. Both the projects — Soori High Line and 515 Highline — will feature watery themes.

Soori High Line, a 27-unit condo across the street at 522 West 29th, will have not only rooftop pools for residents of its triplex penthouses. More than a dozen lower-floor apartments will also come with private pools to allow residents to float above it all while contemplating the brash buildings that populate the surrounding blocks.

The project, which has a boxy 11-storey shape, was developed by a team that includes Singapore-based Oriel, of which Mr Chan is a managing principal, and the New York-based Siras Development. The interiors of the two- to five-bedroom units have ceilings that soar as high as 5.5m and some walls that are made of a single sheet of glass.

The US$125 million (S$156.4 million) project, between 10th and 11th Avenues, promises residents the thrill of taking a dip without having to leave their apartments. Rectangular pools are tucked into alcoves with just one end exposed — in all seasons — to the open air. The pools can be heated to 27°C all year round, allowing residents to soak while watching the snow fall in winter.

“Most of the time, it will be a focal point for people to enjoy,” said Mr Chan, who compared the project to Alila Villas Soori, the pool-adorned beachside resort he built in Bali.

The pools will definitely be a cornerstone of marketing efforts, said Mr John Gomes, a broker with Douglas Elliman and a leader of the sales team. “They are so cool, whether you take a dip every day or not.”

While many buildings in Manhattan have swimming pools, they tend to be of the shared indoor or rooftop variety, and this is where Soori High Line stands out. Since marketing began in Singapore this summer, five units have sold at the building; prices start at about US$3,000 a square foot, or US$3.7 million for a two-bedroom apartment. The project is scheduled to open in spring 2016.

“We are definitely going after buyers from that part of the world,” said Mr Ashwin Verma, a Siras managing partner and a developer who has been active in the High Line area, though through Blackhouse Development.

At 515 Highline, Mr Chan went with a more exuberant exterior, covering the northern and southern sides with curvy glass fins, a treatment similar to one he used on the toy museum he designed in Singapore. The facades of the project, a 12-unit condo at 515 West 29th Street in West Chelsea that will almost touch the elevated park, will be rippled like the surface of a sea.

Mr Chan is an investor in the 11-storey project whose developer is the Bauhouse Group of New York. The US$70 million project broke ground this summer and will be completed at the end of next year. The building’s ribbed facade is not its only unusual feature. It sits at a place where the High Line takes a sharp turn, which will give every apartment a view of the High Line.

In terms of development, the site is also unusual. Had the developers torn down the existing six-storey brick building, which was used to store wire hangers for garment district businesses, they would have been forced to build a much smaller structure, since zoning laws have changed over the years.

So, Bauhouse is constructing its tower inside the brick building, as if putting a hand in a glove, so the project can be counted as a conversion and not new construction, said Mr Chris Jones, a Bauhouse co-founder. When the glass portion reaches a certain height later this year, the brick walls will be peeled back and, “Hey, presto, this sort of new building will emerge”, Mr Jones said.

The only original brick that will remain will serve as space for large displays of artwork. Sales are to begin this fall, after the condo’s offering plan is approved; prices are expected to start at US$5 million.

The High Line area is full of inventive projects, such as 200 Eleventh Avenue, a high-rise where residents can park their cars next to their apartments. And a condo by renowned architect Zaha Hadid, under way on West 28th Street, has curvaceous walls that recall a mid-century car.

Mr Chan will find himself in good company, said Mr Joseph P Beninati, the managing member of Bauhouse. “Twenty years from now, the students from Yale School of Architecture will be taking field trips down here to go and see some of this generation’s best talents,” he said. THE NEW YORK TIMES

Read more of the latest on

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.

Aa