Eight Spruce Street in New York

Photo of Eight Spruce Street in New York, New York
Image © Artefactory.
Photo of Eight Spruce Street in New York, New York
Photograph courtesy of Archie Chamness
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Photo of Eight Spruce Street in New York, New York
Photograph courtesy of Archie Chamness
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Eight Spruce Street
Formerly:The Beekman Tower

8 Spruce Street, New York, New York, Civic Center 10038
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Text by Wayne Lorentz

For a city that prides itself on its skyscrapers, it certainly took New York long enough to get a Gehry. The starchitect has had commissions in the Big Apple before, but this will be the first skyscraper he's completed.

The Beekman is all New York, and all Gehry. It climbs 76 stories above a neighborhood that already has its fair share of architectural stars, most notably the Woolworth and Municipal buildings. But this one eschews its predecessors' classical forms and guides your eyes around the sinuous stainless steel curves that are the architect's trademark.

From a distance, its upper portion looks like any other skyscraper -- a stately shaft punctuated by a grid of windows with two towers joined in a T with a few setbacks. But moving closer you can see that the entire affair has been covered with a silver drape -- stainless steel that undulates like quicksilver running down the sides in slow motion, turning a sharp-angled building into a form you'd want to touch.

Closer inspection reveals windows that are placed at seemingly random angles in order to maintain conformity with the building's facade. The result will be thousands of angles to reflect the sun, thousands of decorative possibilities for residents, and thousands of headaches for window washers.

Form aside, the function of this building is also an interesting exercise in public-private partnerships. The area below the fantastic silver skin is clad in masonry to blend in with the surrounding buildings. It also houses of all things, an elementary school, space for the New York University Downtown Hospital, two public spaces, and the street-level retail that is the essence of a thriving neighborhood.

Quick Facts
Statistics
  • Floor space: 1,100,000 square feet
  • School: 100,000 square feet
  • Hospital: 21,000 square feet
  • Retail: 13,000 square feet
  • Residences: 903
  • Parking spaces: 175
Notes
  • Architecture firm: Gehry Partners
  • Architect: Frank Gehry
  • Developer: Bruce Ratner
  • Development company: Forest City Ratner
  • At the time of its completion, this became the tallest residential building in New York.
  • Because of its undulating facade, this building has over 600 different apartment floor plans.
  • This building includes an elementary school at its base.
Controversy
  • This building received tax abatements intended to stimulate the creation of affordable housing. Instead, even the smallest apartments when this building opened were renting for an estimated $3,000/month.
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