When words such as “hyperbolic paraboloid” and “tetrahedron” are used to describe the shape of a building, a photographer on the lookout for unusual modern architecture knows he’s in for a treat.
And VIA 57 West, a new “pyramid-like” luxury residential building in Midtown Manhattan, didn’t disappoint. The 35-story structure rises, dips, curves, flattens and zigzags all at once. Depending on where I stood with my camera, the building’s contours called to mind a 467-foot mountain peak, waves starting to swell and, fittingly, an architect’s drafting triangle.
To capture the building’s diverse shapes, I photographed it from across the neighboring West Side Highway, in the middle of traffic on 57th Street, and on the quiet north side, where an otherwise vertical facade sports sharp-edged balconies and aqua-tinted windows.
Danish architect Bjarke Ingels designed VIA 57 West, which was still under construction when I took these photos in July. In describing his building to the New York Times, he said: “Because of the extreme asymmetry, the southwest corner is the height of a handrail and the northeast corner is the height of a high-rise.”
While I'm not necessarily an admirer of the asymmetrical in buildings, VIA 57 West has parts that, if anything, make for interesting visuals.