Slightly Shorter, Stockier New MoMA Skyscraper Gets Go-Ahead

08/10/2011 8:58 AM |

Up on the 70-somethingth floor, a balcony from which to orchestrate the end of the world.

  • Up on the 70-somethingth floor, a series of pointy Midtown mountain peaks.

For several years now there have been big, tall, 85-story plans—designed by famous French architect Jean Nouvel—for the lot alongside the Museum of Modern Art where the lines for its free Fridays usually wind up, but after the original design was denied, a shorter, stubbier, 78-story version was met with approval. The building’s developer recently filed revised plans for the project—which the Observer got ahold of—suggesting that construction could start soon on the condo-hotel tower that would have more MoMA gallery space at its base.

Hines, the developer that bought the lot from MoMA in 2007 for $125 million and who will build Nouvel’s so-called “Torre Verre,” didn’t want to share the new building plans at first, but the Observer obtained them from the City Planning Commission through a public information request. At 1,050 feet, 200 feet shorter than the original design, the building will feature no more than 100 hotel rooms and 60 floors of apartments. The new MoMA galleries in the lower floors have not been slashed in the new plans, and remain at a roomy 52,000 square feet. The ground floor and basement will also feature a restaurant.

No word yet on when construction on the new skyscraper—like a stretched and tapered version of Chicago’s John Hancock Center with its exposed diagonal steel beams—will begin. We wonder whether MoMA president Glenn D. Lowry will upgrade from his complimentary pad at Museum Tower down the block to a Torre Verre penthouse.

The future MoMA tower with its West 54th Street neighbors.

  • The future MoMA tower with its West 54th Street neighbors.