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New York’s New Jenga style Skyscraper

The Jenga style design of Herzog & de Meuron's residential skyscraper in Tribeca, New York, is drawing accolades from critics and bystanders alike.

Located at 56 Leonard Street, the 250m, 60-storey building has been described as a tower of houses stacked in the sky and lurks over the low-rise neighbourhood.

The tower consists of a succession of cuboid volumes with cantilevered balconies that grow increasingly offset from each other towards the top, drawing comparisons with the blocks used in Jenga games. Floor-to ceiling glass ‘window’ walls are inserted between concrete floor blocks, which form balconies in some places.

The building contains 145 condominium-style homes valued at $3.5 to $50 million US. The units range in size from 1,418 to 6,400 square feet and include up to five bedrooms, all with custom-designed fixtures, kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces, and private outdoor areas. Residents enjoy amenities such as a conference centre, fitness suite, 23-metre swimming pool, and an indoor / outdoor theatre.

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The building has seven elevators, with residents sharing a hallway with no more than one other apartment. One corner at the base of the building features a magnificent mirrored sculpture by Anish Kapoor, the artist also known for the Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago. Ten penthouses top the tower, each with its own unique layout, four to six metre high ceilings, and up to 61 metres of continuous glazing. The double-height lobby is sheathed in sleek black granite.

In 2007 Izak Senbahar of the Alexico Group bought the land and air rights for $150 million US. Construction began in 2008, but was halted before the end of the year when the project was put on hold. Four years later, in October 2012, construction resumed, and by May 2013 70% of the building was sold, and the following month a penthouse sold for $47 million, making it the most expensive residence ever sold below midtown Manhattan. Although its official completion date has not been announced yet, the skyscraper finally capped out in 2015.

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