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VIA 57 West, New York, New York
Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects


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The VIA 57 West residential building at 625 West 57th Street in Manhattan is the design of the Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group. CityReality calls the asymmetrical pyramid-shaped structure "the most dramatic new building in New York City since Frank Lloyd Wright's inverted cone for the Solomon R. Guggeheim Museum."


The 2017 Brick in Architecture Awards honored 35 winners in 19 states for outstanding design that incorporates clay brick. Judged by independent design professionals, the Brick Industry Association's design competition generated 91 entries, with Best in Class, Gold Silver and Bronze winners in eight categories.

"The winners demonstrate brick's aesthetic flexibility, and its integral role in any sustainable, low maintenance and durable building strategy," commented Ray Leonhard, BIA's president and CEO.

In the "Paving & Landscaping" category, the design of Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects won Best in Class for the garden path at the VIA 57 West residential building located at 625 West 57th Street in Manhattan.

The VIA 57 West residential building features a park-like courtyard with a winding brick path through a shady birch forest to a grassy meadow. The west courtyard within the building's pyramidal structure is designed as a "transect" of the Hudson River Valley. A transect (pray tell) is a path along which one observes or counts and records the occurrences of plant species. Along this path residents pass through three Hudson River Valley habitats. Starting in a grove of fern and birch, the path meanders up one story, taking the traveler into a plaza that recalls a forest glade. Crossing through a fog feature, whose mists invoke low-hanging mountain clouds, the path climbs a flight of stairs to arrive on a platform overlooking the Hudson River. At this rocky summit residents can barbecue or just enjoy the view, sunbathe on the grassy beneath a honey locust, surrounded by sumac, pine, and meadow grass. Editor's note: At this writing, it's 24° in New York City and snowing, so snowman making is another summit activity option.

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Starting in a grove of fern and birch, the path meanders up one story, taking the traveler into a plaza that recalls a forest glade. The mortar-laid stone veneer, dry-laid retaining walls, stone slab stairs and stepping stone pavers are Saratoga granite, a medium to coarse-grained weathered granite featuring 'Hudson River' blues with a mixture of crystals in green, black, pink, brown, burgundy and white. There are also crystals with a small percentage of red speckles, along with black garnet inclusions and quartz crystals in the blend. This amazing stone was quarried at Champlain Stone, Ltd. in Warrensburg, New York.


The three zones of the design are shaped by principles taken from Central Park. Set below the grade of the surrounding landscape, the brick and COR-TEN steel bordered path loops through the lushly planted 22,000 sq. ft. space to unobstructed views of the Hudson River and Union City, New Jersey across the way. The park receives generous amount of sunlight because of the building's lowered southwest corner. The ripple pattern of the brick echoes the meandering of the path, creating a single fluid motion out of repetition. As the traveler walks along it, the path brings new views, adding to the sense of immersion in the landscape. These principles define a space that is separate but receptive to the architectural frame.

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The hardscape within the seating area is a 'Corinthian' split face granite with a thermal finish. The seating is precast concrete by Southside Concrete, Buffalo, N.Y.


VIA 57 West Team
Landscape Architect: Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners Manufacturer: Whitacre Greer Co.
Distributor: Consolidated Brick & Building Supply, Inc.
Mason Contractor: Prestige Stone & Pavers Corporation
Photographer 1: Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners
Photographer 2: Alex Fradkin

Whitacre Greer is a small, boutique-type manufacturer of fired-clay paving brick and firebrick. The company specializes in short production runs of many unique items. Established in 1916, by J.J. Whitacre, the company is newly by the fourth and fifth generations of the Whitacre family.

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The boulders and ledge rock are 'Adirondack Mountain' fieldstone, a glacier-worn, naturally weathered top rock roughly spherical or ovoid in tones of muted brown and gray.




As seen in LASN magazine, February 2018.






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December 17, 2018, 12:30 am PST

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