Davis & Brody Associates | New York, USA | 1974
Image of Waterside
Typical tower, aerial view.

ArchitectDavis & Brody Associates
CityNew York
AddressManhattan, FDR Drive, Between E. 25th & E.30th St.
Building TypeTower
Number of Dwellings1440
Date Built1974
Dwelling Typesstudio, 1,2, & 3 br. flats
No. Floors30
Section Typeflats
Exterior Finish
Construction TypeR-C frame
Ancillary Servicesshopping, pool, restaurants, offices, theater, parking

Waterside is a complex of four residential towers containing 1440 apartments in addition to shopping, offices and parking built on reclaimed land along the East River in lower Manhattan. The first step of a master plan proposal by the architects in 1963 to extend the shoreline in a curve of the river along FDR Drive and thereby create a new linear community thirteen blocks long, four, tall, pinwheel-plan towers have been placed on a 3-story high platform containing parking and defining a public plaza overlooking the river. A four -story building along FDR Drive provides a buffer from the noise of the highway and also defines the western edge of the plaza. This building contains an arcade of shops, townhouses with terraces and a skylit swimming pool. A single pedestrian bridge connects the two sides of FDR Drive. The river side of the platform steps down to a public promenade along the river forming an amphitheater opening to the river and opportunities for restaurants and offices. The freestanding tower form was created to minimize the obstruction of views from Manhattan. This particular articulated, faceted tower which is enlarged at the top is an early example of a tower form which has subsequently seen much use in New York. In addition to the practical advantage of increasing peripheral surface in a compact plan, it is a type which recalls the stepped skyscrapers from the 1920's and 1930's while avoiding the monolithic regularity of the sheer towers of the 1960's and 70's. The typical tower is planned about a compact central service core that contains the elevators and fire stairs and short interior corridors connecting to the enlarged corners of the pinwheel form. Each floor has a mix of dwellings ranging from studio to 3 bedroom flats all arranged with kitchens and baths along the interior service zone.

Waterside was planned for a mix of dwelling types and income groups. FHA 236 financed the northern tower, which is 34 stories tall and contains 360 apartments for low-income tenants. The other three towers which are 40 stories high, were financed through low-interest mortgages made possible by city tax abatements so that the apartments would be affordable for middle income tenants. Construction is poured-in-place concrete on a platform supported by 2000 specially treated steel piles, a combination of super-sized brick and insulated glass curtain wall is used as the enclosing material. While the 13 block development proposed in the original master plan might have created a viable community, Waterside is cut off from the city by the 6 lanes of FDR Drive and so exists as an isolated enclave benefiting from the spectacular site but suffering from a spiritual and functional detachment from the adjacent community.

John Macsai, Housing, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1982, pp. 438-39.

Process Architecture, No. 64, 1986, pp. 42-3.

Joseph De Chirara, Time Saver Standards for Residential Development, McGraw Hill, New York, 1984, pp. 404

Architectural Record, March, 1976, pp. 119-124.

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