610 lexington avenue by foster + partners breaks ground
image courtesy of foster + partners




real estate investors RFR have partnered with chinese residential developers vanke to break ground on a luxury residential condominium designed by foster + partners. centrally located, the project is in close proximity to new york’s businesses, restaurants, shopping, museums and entertainment. RFR and hines will work together on construction of the building through a joint development management agreement. the 61-storey residential tower at 610 lexington avenue, replaces the former YWCA building in manhattan’s midtown district. the structure responds to two neighboring landmarks, SOM’s lever house and mies van der rohe’s 38 level seagram building – constructed in 1958. foster’s design continues mies’ rational and clear philosophy with a slender geometric shape that forms a further important addition to the city’s skyline.

foster + partners 610 lexington avenue designboom
the residential tower establishes a dialogue with mies van der rohe’s neighboring seagram building
images courtesy of foster + partners




access to the tower is recessed beneath a canopy that sits alongside the entrance and pavilion of the seagram building. the entry sequence brings residents from the street into a glazed central atrium, which links the tower to an adjacent smaller structure that houses a bar, restaurant, spa and swimming pool. from the floor of the atrium, the tower rises creating a sense of drama and reinforcing the connection between the summit and the ground. larger apartments occupy the entire floor area at higher levels, while the structure’s slender form allows interior spaces to be flooded with natural light. a glazed skin wraps around the building, concealing the tower’s structural elements, while opening vents in the glazing flap discreetly inwards.


‘it’s not simply about our new building, but about the composition it creates together with one of the 20th century’s greatest. in contrast to seagram’s dark bronze, our tower will have a pure white, undulating skin. its proportions are almost impossibly slim and the views will be just incredible,’ explained chris connell at foster + partners. ‘simplicity of design is often the hardest thing to achieve but in a sophisticated marketplace, people appreciate the timeless beauty that comes from it. our design philosophy has always extended through the entire building and we will look to create interiors that blend seamlessly with the exterior approach.’


‘the 610 lexington avenue project is our first in new york city, and our second in the united states. it truly reflects vanke’s globalization objective of forging strategic partnerships with world‐class developers and learning through close collaboration,’ said yu liang, president of vanke.