Construction Begins on Dutch Architect’s First Major American Building

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorNew York–Construction on Dutch architect Ben van Berkel’s first major American building, Five Franklin Place, has recently begun. New York-based Sleepy Hudson LLC is developing the 20-story 55-unit condominium tower, located in New York’s TriBeCa neighborhood. Construction is expected to be complete in the next two years.In an attempt to keep up with Manhattan’s modern building boom, the tower will be wrapped in shifting horizontal black metal bands, giving it an etched effect as light reflects off the ribbon-like structures. “I hope the building will be a real new anchor that people will refer to. It’s very much in the scale of the neighborhood,” says van Berkel, who believes that things evolve and that architecture and family life are elastic. “Its modern expression contextualized itself so easily in the framework of TriBeCa.” In addition to the bands’ aesthetic values, they will also be functional, serving as balconies for half of the residences, terraces for the penthouses and sunshades to protect the building’s interior. David Kislin, a principal for Sleepy Hudson, expects the building to attract a number of locals currently living in loft-style redeveloped TriBeCa warehouses because unlike most residences in the neighborhood, Five Franklin Place is newly constructed and offers views of the surrounding area.The tower will be divided into three zones with different color schemes and material palettes; lighter schemes will be used at the lower levels and progressively get darker at higher levels. The lofts, located on the second through seventh floors, will have upper-level mezzanines at the center of the floor plans. The city residences, on floors eight through 18, will include 270-degree views and expansive terraces on the east and west sides of the building. The sky penthouses will include cylindrical glass elevators, terraces with outdoor sky spas and panoramic views.Amenities include sliding circular doors in bathrooms that allow residents to adjust levels of privacy, custom closet systems with integrated drawers and partitioned hanging area, fitness areas with gym and spa components and kitchens with Corian and metal islands.Units will range from 1,200 to 3,400 sq. ft. and will offer one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom condos configured as duplex lofts or single-level homes, as well as three duplex penthouses. Prices will range from $2 to $16 million.