New York City could soon be getting a new skyscraper to add to its skyline. The Affirmation Tower would be among the tallest buildings in Manhattan at 1,663 feet tall (498 meters). Designed by Adjaye Associates, the skyscraper features cantilevers that are inverted from a typical skyscraper form. Instead of starting off with a larger base and offsetting as it goes up, Affirmation Tower is slimmest at the base and grows larger on one side as it ascends.
The project was submitted by the developer Peebles Corporation to the Empire State Development Corporation. The site for Affirmation Tower—called Site K—is in a highly-desirable location. It is located one block away from the High Line and Hudson Yards. Site K is also next door to the Javits Center, a massive convention center known for its expansive glass form.
Aside from its valuable location, the project is important for its potential social impact. The tower would make New York City history by becoming the first skyscraper built by a team of Black architects, developers, and builders. It will also include office space, a theater, hotels, an observation deck, terraces, a skating rink, and the headquarters for the Mid-Manhattan NAACP branch.
Reverend Dr. Charles Curtis is the head of NY Interfaith Commission for Housing Equality. He describes the historical and social importance of Affirmation Tower. “Unfortunately for most of New York's history, African-Americans and people of color have been rendered as mere economic tourists who gaze upward at one of the greatest skylines in the world with the intrinsic knowledge, they will never be able to participate in what really makes New York unique.”
Affirmation Tower is just one of the proposals submitted to the Empire State Development Corporation for Site K. We will have to wait and see if the Adjaye Associates' design will be chosen as the winning entry.