Manhattan High-Rise Captures the Beauty and Details of a Metal Facade

Hearkening back to the architectural beauty, patterning and façade detailing of the early 20th century is the 2022 MCA Metal Design Award-winner, the Art Deco-inspired 45-story Rose Hill in Manhattan’s NoMad neighborhood.

Developed by the Rockefeller Group, the high-rise houses 123 condominiums with approximately 230,000 square feet of interior space. Common areas include a lobby, underground pool, squash court, gym, 37th floor meeting room and a spacious terrace.

“The building features an expressive glass and metallic bronze façade, accented with chevron patterns, intricate detailing and expansive windows, referencing a classically Gotham aesthetic interpreted in a modern vocabulary,” said John Cetra, FAIA, founding principal, CetraRuddy Architecture, New York, in a Metal Architecture article.

The façade form features a rectilinear series of bronze-colored metal panels and glazing. On the ascent up the tower are a number of setbacks designed to meet City regulations.

 Distinguishing the skyscraper from a typical Manhattan building are the bottom-lit chevron reliefs and beautiful detailing continuing all the way up the façade.

Offering some historical context, award judge Lee Calisti, AIA, lee CALSTI architecture+design, Greensburg, Pa., explains, ”One problem with 20th century tall towers is they don’t have any detail beyond ground level as our predecessors did. The fact that they [the architect] has this detail all the way up the building really says something.”

The design is also unique in that the first scaling back of the façade can be easily viewed at street level whereas high-rise designs typically require the pedestrian to look up to view such detailing. Consequently, Centra describes his firm’s design as a “statement to the street.”

Above the lobby level, a screen with zigzag details lend aesthetics and cover the mechanical, electrical and plumbing components of the building. Continuing upwards, passersby can see a series of balconies connected to their adjoining apartments.

During the planning phase, terracotta and other contemporary materials were considered for the façade. However, cost and load considerations led to the selection of metal paneling. To compensate for the typical flat look lent by metal, the raised chevrons add depth to the façade as does the corrugated metal banding every four stories which create a grid with the panel columns.

The aluminum in the vertical pilasters appear as a warm, sueded bronze finish, which blends into the neighborhood context and offers a dynamic appearance based upon the sun’s position throughout the day and year. The aluminum was also easy to work with in the creation of the details through a combination of extruded shapes and corrugated panels.

The building’s insulated metal panels for the north shearwall are Kingspan Insulated Panels Inc., Deland, Fla., the exterior soffit panels are made with 4-mm ALUCOBOND PLUS aluminum composite material from 3A Composites USA Inc. Davidson, N.C., and Construction Specialties Inc., Cranford, N.J., supplied RSV-5700 Stormproof Louvers.

To support the building’s tall windows, the architects specified a unitized aluminum-and-glass curtain wall with the chevron pattern repeating up the length of the vertical pilasters.

“The chevron motif was an important way for us to emphasize the verticality of the building, reference the building’s design inspiration and respect its richly detailed context,” said Cetra. “Working with the façade manufacturer, we were able to develop a bent metal process to replicate the design at scale and make it feasible to implement across much of the façade of the building.”

Beginning on the third floor and extending until the roof, W&W Glass-installed the hybrid-wall unitized curtain wall system with custom chevron IMP infills from Sotawall Inc. The system is made from 3003-H14 aluminum alloy coated in Duranar Sunstorm Chocolate Bronze from PPG Industries.

“The system was chosen over other façade systems due to its high thermal performance values as well as the flexibility of the exterior appearance,” explained Cetra. “Additionally, a unitized curtain wall system is much better at handling wind loads and seismic loads in such a tall and thin building. No exterior caulking is required in a system like this, which sped up completion of the envelope to meet construction schedule requirements.”

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