• Two Manhattan West opens, marking the completion of Manhattan West

    29 February 2024
    Dave Burk © SOM

    Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and Brookfield Properties announce the completion of Two Manhattan West, a LEED Gold-targeting office tower located on the corner of Ninth Avenue and West 31st Street in New York City. The project brings two-million-square feet of new office space to Manhattan West––a development more than 40 years in the making that is built above active railroad tracks on the city’s West Side, where minimal buildable land existed before. The project represents an extraordinary achievement in urban design, structural engineering, and architecture with its vibrant mix of buildings and uses, over numerous active train tracks.

    The completion marks the final chapter in the development of Manhattan West, a dynamic, seven-million-square-foot, mixed-use neighborhood developed by Brookfield Properties with a master plan by SOM as part of a larger revitalization of this area of New York City. Two Manhattan West joins its counterpart, One Manhattan West, a tower completed in 2019, along with four other buildings––three designed by SOM and all but one engineered by SOM––that brings two acres of public space, offices, residences, hospitality, and retail to a previously undeveloped district. Together, this vibrant new destination forms the crucial missing link in a chain of pedestrian pathways that tie the West Side together from Penn Station to the Hudson River.

    “The completion of Two Manhattan West and the entire Manhattan West development is monumental for New York City, knitting together the urban fabric of the West Side to create a dynamic live-work-play neighborhood on once unbuildable, underutilized land,” said Callie Haines, Executive Vice President and Northeast Region Head, Brookfield Properties. “From exquisite office space and unrivaled restaurants to immersive retail and an abundance of public open space, Manhattan West has become the workplace of choice for leading companies and a sought-after destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike.” As part of Brookfield’s ambitious commitment to transition its entire U.S. office portfolio to be powered by zero-emissions electricity, the six million square feet of office assets within the Manhattan West campus, including Two Manhattan West, are powered by renewable electricity sourced from run-of-river hydropower dams located in Upstate New York. This commitment contributes to a more than 80 percent reduction in the office portfolio’s direct carbon emissions.

    Dave Burk © SOM

    “Two Manhattan West marks the Ninth Avenue entry into the neighborhood,” said SOM Design Principal Kim Van Holsbeke. “Its curving profile offers an elegant addition to the city’s skyline, and together with One Manhattan West, announce the creation of a thriving new urban destination.”

    One and Two Manhattan West stand as the development’s two largest towers. Both in the skyline and at grade, these two towers form the gateway into the development and the westbound expansion of the Midtown urban fabric. With high performance enclosures and gently curved corners, the pair expresses a monolithic simplicity and a dynamic presence in the skyline. One Manhattan West, with a curvature to the east, welcomes pedestrian arrivals from Penn Station and Moynihan Train Hall, while Two Manhattan West orients north to Midtown. At grade level, glass enclosures appear to dissolve the boundary between the lobby and the surrounding public plaza.

    Dave Burk © SOM

    “Building Two Manhattan West required a feat of extraordinary coordination among the design, engineering, and planning teams,” said SOM Partner Julia Murphy. “While Two Manhattan West’s presence in the sky and at grade is rigorous and clearly defined, its most dramatic complexities lie underground.” 

    The tower stands on extremely challenging sites above active rail lines and is supported by a central core–only half of which could touch down to solid ground. SOM aligned a series of sculpted mega-columns at the building’s perimeter with subgrade spaces between the tracks. Highly visible, these mega-columns express the strength of the tower’s structural system and announce the building’s complex structural solution. “Through an integrated, multidisciplinary design approach between our architectural and engineering teams, said SOM Structural Engineering Principal Charles Besjak, “we expressed the technical structural solution in the design to create a delicate dialogue between the private lobbies and the public plaza.”

    Dave Burk © SOM

    Complementing the office towers, the additional buildings at Manhattan West contain a range of uses and amenities to create a 24/7 neighborhood. Designed by SOM, the 23-story Pendry and the 62-story Eugene bring a luxury hotel and residences, respectively, to the site. The development is further enhanced by the renovation of two former industrial buildings–Five Manhattan West (engineered by SOM and designed by REX), and Four Manhattan West–into premium office spaces. The recently completed High Line-Moynihan Connector, designed by SOM and Field Operations, is a 600-foot linear park that expands the pedestrian pathway from Manhattan West to Hudson Yards.

    “The public realm is the heart of the master plan,” said SOM Partner Ken Lewis. “The buildings are organized around a series of distinct plazas that invite diverse users to the development and form a vital pedestrian link between the Midtown business district, the Penn Station complex, and Hudson Yards.”

    Dave Burk © SOM


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