A 42-story Richard Meier tower is rising on the far east side of Manhattan, and it’s a dark departure from the architect's signature white designs . Commissioned by local developer Sheldon Solow, Meier agreed to design the project with a black façade. The in-progress skyscraper at 685 First Avenue also takes cues from the sleek 39-story United Nations Secretariat Building nearby, which was designed by Oscar Neimeyer and Le Corbusier and completed in 1952.

In addition to 408 rental units (floors 3-26) and 148 condominiums (floors 27-42), plans include space for street-level retail. Building amenities on the second floor will include an indoor swimming pool and a fitness center, as well as social spaces like a lounge and a large private dining room. Meier will also design the residences’ interiors, using a more familiar pale palette of whites, grays, and earth tones. The floor plans are as open as possible, with floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize city views.

Richard Meier's next skyscraper will be positioned between the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building.

Solow first became involved with the property in 2000, and in 2008 the city approved a multi-tower development plan consisting of multiple towers by both Richard Meier & Partners Architects and SOM . Construction on the first—685 First—began in March of this year, and the residences are expected to be ready in early 2019.


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