'concrete' designs first residential building in Manhattan

19 Jul 2022

A 222-residence condominium in the mystique Hell's Kitchen: 547 West 47th street, The West Residence Club.

Photo credit: ewout huibers

The West Residence is a unique residential building, with loft-type apartments designed in an up-cycled brick base, and penthouse-like apartments located in the cloud, and the open and bright top of the building exploits views over the Hudson River and the cosmopolite New York skyline.

The club opened its doors in the spring of 2022. Concrete is responsible for the architecture, interior, and landscape design of the project. The West Residence Club is located in Hell's Kitchen, one of Manhattan's most sprouting neighborhoods. The neighborhood is known for its industrial character, as well as its rich, colorful history, combining to create an unmistakable mystique.

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Today, it offers varied urban architecture, from brick warehouses and low-rise showrooms, to open parking lots and original townhouses. Its unique mix of residences, companies, independent shops, and small restaurants has made it a very dynamic neighborhood.

Housing 222 apartments, The West Residence 

The West - rooftop view
Photo credit: ewout huibers

The West Residence Club is designed for explorers who want to live in a building that reflects the unpolished history and character of the Hell's Kitchen district. It introduces a new way of living; its condos – a mix of studios, 1 and 2+ bedroom apartments – are smartly designed from the inside out to create the best residential experience, enhanced by extensive communal spaces and outdoor areas. The base of the building offers a loft-type experience, with a robust brick facade referring to both the warehouse character of the area, as well as the townhouses in the adjacent streets. The super light and airy apartments on the top floors are designed to make the most of the views offered over the Manhattan Skyline and the Hudson River.

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The U-shaped building stretches along 11th Avenue, from the corners of 47th Street and 48th Street. The 7-storey brick base of the building is an extension of the townhouse-like character of the two streets and connects to the brick warehouse architecture of the avenues. The brick facades are carefully crafted in rich detailed patterns.

Both the bricks and the patterns were custom-designed and hand-made specifically for The West Residence Club in collaboration with upcycling company StoneCycling. The brickwork, combined with large industrial windows, results in the creation of street-oriented, typical NY loft-type studios, and 1-bedroom apartments on the lower floors.

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Inspired by the social function of New York-style stoops, the main entrance of the building is formed by a small entrance plaza that forms a smooth transition between the public street and the private building. The plaza has different seating facilities embedded in green that encompass a central tree.

Higher up in the building, it is all about the cosmopolitan life that New York is famous for, with views overlooking New York's iconic skyline and sunsets over the Hudson River. Glass boxes pop in and out of the building, creating unique views and orientations in each apartment, and providing every unit with a large private terrace. This results in a lightweight, transparent, and almost cloud-like architecture that reflects the unique experience each of the apartments offers.

The amenities at 547 West 47th Street bring the residents together to form a thriving community known as The West Residence Club. It includes specific areas to work, a glass house in the backyard, a double-height gym, a playroom for kids, and two in-house hotel-style guest rooms that can be booked for visitors. The 8th-floor roof deck accommodates a rooftop field and pocket park including a dog run, an outdoor kitchen, and an indoor communal kitchen and dining space. On the top roof, an extensive pool deck is combined with BBQ pits and communal seating areas under a wooden pergola to enjoy the sunset and extensive views over the Hudson River and Midtown Manhattan Skyline.

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All of these spaces are created to enhance comfort, facilitate functionalities for residents, and foster interaction between them. The design also involved a special focus on dedicated workspaces to facilitate working from home, including a full glass greenhouse in the garden filled with bookshelves, a fireplace, and a large worktable. There are also two meeting/working rooms stacked with office supplies and equipment. Interaction between residents is further fueled by a communal kitchen and dining room.

A major focal point of the building is the craftsmanship of the construction and design. Bespoke interior and exterior elements create a sophisticated atmosphere in which every detail matters. This includes a 5-storey custom mural, created by artist Rubin. This craftsmanship comes to a culmination in the intricate brickwork of The West's facade, the result of a collaboration between Concrete and StoneCycling, a Dutch firm committed to the sustainable manufacturing of upcycled bricks. The brick matrix itself is a proprietary mix of recovered construction debris blended with raw clay quarried in The Netherlands.

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Over 260,000 kg of waste has been up-cycled in the bricks used in this building. A total of forty different brick shapes and sizes were required for the project, and each piece was individually hand-brushed with a subtly reflective glass glaze before being fired in a centuries-old factory. The unique glass glaze creates a variety of shades and glossiness during the day, resulting in a different read of the building every time one sees it.

This complex process is just one example of the perfectionist approach applied to architecture and the interior. All efforts are dedicated to creating a building that pays tribute to its location and creates a memorable and unique experience for its residents.

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Courtyard, entrance lobby, and glasshouse

The welcoming garden is an oasis in the heart of Manhattan. The entrance on West 47th Street is reached through a garden courtyard, nicknamed The Stoop, which centers around a multi-stem birch tree. The green court forms a transition between the bustling New York streets and the private residences. The brick walls continue from the exterior inside the building, guiding the residents and their visitors into a double-height entry space, the Hall.

The double-height space, with a light terrazzo floor and abundant daylight from two sides, creates a fresh and active central point. Its homey, residential feel is derived from backlit brass-colored steel curtains on one side, and soft furniture and a concierge desk on the other. The desk continues to a high table with stools, where guests or residents can converse with the doormen, or wait for a taxi or pick-up. Behind the desk, the brick wall becomes a work of art, with alternating bricks in Morse code stating: “Hell is a mild climate, this place is Hell’s Kitchen”. This statement, made by a senior police officer to a rookie during heavy riots in the 1930s, is said to be the origin of the name Hell’s Kitchen, the nickname of the neighborhood.

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Just beyond the lobby, opposite the entry door, is The Glasshouse – a freestanding glass structure in the backyard, connected through a glass hallway. This space functions as a library and residential meeting place with a fireplace, living room, and communal worktable. It is an aspirational place that adds functionality and experience beyond the homes for the residents and their visitors.

GARDEN LEVEL          

Mailroom, hotel-style guest rooms, and working rooms

One story down, a shadow garden is created that is linked to several functions. The Mailroom is an open plan space with daylight, thoughtfully designed with a station for wrapping packages, and one that provides freshly filtered water. Adjacent, two rooms are fully decked-out like luxurious hotel-style guestrooms, including a pantry. The rooms provide residents with the opportunity to host guests in the building while maintaining their own privacy. One floor down, two fully-equipped work rooms are available to residents for concentrated work sessions or (video) meetings. The rooms facilitate the growing need for working remotely from home. Each residence also includes a dedicated storage unit, a secure space to stow camping gear, golf clubs, and off-season clothing.

LEVEL 3           

Playroom, gym, and yard

A double-height fitness center is located next to the playroom. With 18-ft metal windows and exposed ceilings, it exudes an industrial feel. An exterior yard is connected to the gym for outdoor training or boot-camp activities. The yoga and private training room are located on an upper level overseeing the gym space. The Wright Fit, New York’s premier fitness, and wellbeing gurus curated the custom fitness facility and integrated a small shop offering a diverse range of wellness products.

Also located on Level 3, a dedicated playroom is a perfect place for kids to have fun. The room features a miniature village for the kids to experience, learn, and interact. In warmer months, the room opens up to an outdoor play area called the Jungle Gym.

LEVEL 8           

Communal kitchen, outdoor kitchen, playing field, and dog run

The communal kitchen and dining room are available for residents to host a dinner party or cooking event, or to celebrate special occasions. With its decorative wooden paneled walls, painted blue, the space is designed as a modern interpretation of a historic luxurious dining room. A fully equipped catering kitchen facilitates all these functionalities, and an outdoor terrace is available to extend the space when the weather allows.

Just off the communal kitchen, a large outdoor roof deck sits on top of the lower part of the buildings along 47th Street. The roof deck has an extensive terrace with an outdoor kitchen, as well as 2 BBQ stations, a large communal table, and a lounge area. Adjacent to the landscaped terrace, there is a green turf terrace for additional lounging and games, including table tennis, corn hole, and jumbo Jenga. This fenced-off outdoor space combines play, exercise, and relaxation in a fun way while providing plenty of sunshine and spectacular views. On the other side of the roof, a separate area is decked-out as a dog run. This special courtyard, out of sight from other residents, is dedicated to the enjoyment of The West’s furry residents.


Rooftop viewing terrace and lounge, pool deck, and private gardens

To top it all off, literally, the 12th floor boasts an extensive roof deck and garden. Rising above the majority of the neighboring buildings, it offers unobstructed views of cosmopolitan midtown New York and sunsets over the Hudson River.

A wooden pergola frames the views to create an intimate lounge and seating area. Garden areas, ivy walls, and trees that grow through openings in the pergola provide a green haven on the one hand, and views over one of the world’s most iconic urban areas on the other. BBQ stations, combined with picnic tables and lounge seating arrangements, invite people to spend time on the roof day and night. The roof garden extends into the pool deck, where the pool links to wooden stepped terraces filled with daybeds providing Hudson River views.


LEVEL 1 – 7 City Lofts 

The apartments at the base of the building largely consist of studios and 1-bedroom apartments. With its industrial metal windows and rough wooden floors, the design integrates the New York loft feel. Steel sliding doors with textured glass provide an option to open up or close off bedroom areas from the living.

LEVEL 8-12 Cloud residences
On the top floors, the apartments are all about light, air, and views. All units have one or multiple “glassrooms” that pop out from the facade, framing the views and creating a sense of hovering over the streets, with vistas over 11th Avenue extending for miles. The roofs of these boxes are used as terraces for the dwelling above, ensuring that every home has one or multiple private outdoor terraces. These are mostly 1 and 2-bedroom units, where sliding walls create an open-plan view, and light oak floors and full glass windows further enhance a cosmopolitan-inspired lifestyle.

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