Kai-Uwe Bergmann
Bjarke Ingels Group, New York City

Formgiving – the Danish word for design – means to give form to that which has not yet been given form. In other words: to give form to the world that we would like to find ourselves living in the future. A task more important than ever, as humans are the greatest force shaping the planet today. To feel that we have license to imagine a future different from today – all we have to do is look back ten years, a hundred years, a thousand years – to realize how radically different things were then than now. The same would be true if we could look forward with the same clear sight. Since we know from our past that our future is bound to be different from our present, rather than waiting for it to happen on its own we have the power to give it form. Formgiving takes you on a journey across time to sense how the world around us has been shaped, from the past to the present and beyond – from the Big Bang to Singularity.

76 11th Avenue, The XI (“The Eleventh”) is located in West Chelsea between the High Line and the Hudson River. Spanning a full block from 17th Street to 18th Street and 10th Avenue to 11th Avenue, the 890,000 gross square foot, mixed-use project is composed of two towers: a West tower of 34 stories (402 ft.) and an East tower of 25 stories (302 ft.) which are both set on a 60 to 85 ft. podium. The West Tower will be entirely dedicated to residences and residential amenities. The east tower will be a combination of hotel and residential units. The hotel will be located adjacent to the High Line within the lower half of the East Tower and the residences will occupy the upper floors.

The geometry of the two towers is a direct response to the context. At the base, the two towers pull away from each other and the neighboring buildings to maximize urban space and views. As they rise, the towers morph and re-orient to take advantage of the best views at the upper levels, while also allowing for un-obstructed Hudson River views towards the west and city views towards the south, east, and northeast. The twisting geometry at the corners of the towers reduces the overall bulk of the buildings and creates additional separation between the towers.

The façade design is inspired by the punched windows seen in the historic warehouses of the Meatpacking and West Chelsea neighborhoods. The façade patterning functions as an honest expression of the gridded structural logic of the building, which steps to follow the movement of the towers’ geometry.

A through-block street between 17th and 18th Streets will provide tenant and visitor access to the residential lobbies, with a vehicular drop-off at a landscaped mid-block inner courtyard. The hotel will be accessed on 18th street adjacent to the High Line. The project also includes below grade parking, a five story commercial building, and a multi-level retail space with frontage below the High Line, facing a public plaza along 10th Avenue.