The Bryant is a 32-storey mixed-use tower located on the south-west corner of Bryant Park, a nine-acre public park in Midtown Manhattan. It comprises a hotel that extends to the 13th floor, with private residences above and restaurant and retail units on the ground floor. Surrounded by historic landmark buildings, The Bryant faces the New York Public Library to the north and is situated near the celebrated Knox Building and American Radiator Building. Responding to this prominent location, the design moves away from the fully-glazed tower typology in favour of a more robust and permanent architecture. Its largely masonry façade is respectful of the context while asserting its own identity in the city.
The pure architectural form of the tower is achieved using polished precast concrete slabs and columns following a tectonic grid. Adjustments to the storey heights of the ground floor, sixth floor and penthouse create a subtle tripartite composition of base, shaft and crown, referencing the classical orders of the neighbouring buildings. The base occupies the full width of the site and contains a double-height ground floor as well as the first four levels of the hotel. A decreased footprint, together with an increased floor-to-ceiling height for the hotel bar and lounge, mark the start of the central section. This set-back creates an outdoor terrace accessible to both hotel guests and residential tenants while maintaining the elevation pattern of alternating medium and high-rise buildings along 40th Street. The crown is established by double-height spaces for the two penthouses at the top of the tower.
Adhering to the conditions of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the façade offers a contemporary interpretation of the nearby historic buildings. The concrete mix contains different aggregates identical to the stone varieties found in the neighbouring buildings’ masonry façades. Precast concrete was selected to create a solid, physical presence that is both contemporary and timeless. The Bryant’s east and west façades have smaller windows to ensure privacy from neighbours, while the north and south façades, facing Bryant Park and Lower Manhattan, have floor-to-ceiling windows to take advantage of the views. To reduce the heat gain from the high solar exposure, the south façade has deeper recesses and sills.
The concrete building structure visually extends into the interior of the residences, reinforcing a sense of architectural substance and identity within the domestic space. Built-in furnishings conceal storage spaces and appliances while dividing the spaces, removing the need for partition walls, and allowing uninterrupted views around the perimeter. Floor-to-ceiling windows open on to Juliet balconies on the north and south façades for most of the residences, while the penthouses have double-height, colonnaded terraces with views over the city and park.