New York’s iconic Walker Tower gets a new lease of life
The Walker Tower in Chelsea has been an icon of the New York skyline ever since its completion in 1929 to the design of Ralph Walker - named ’architect of the century’ by the New York Times in 1957.
More than half a century on and the Walker Tower has just been gloriously restored by developers Property Markets Group and JDS Development Group, who recently announced the completion of the building’s iconic façade. The renovation, carried out by the architecture firm CetraRuddy, concentrated on maintaining the original building’s spirit, but at the same time creating a state-of-the-art luxury residential building (the first apartments of which will be finished within weeks). ’Our goal was to ensure that the architecture remained committed to Ralph Walker’s original design, and that the new elements we incorporated were based on existing decorative motifs found in the building’s entrance and lobby,’ said Michael Stern, founder of JDS Development Group.
Walker’s work, often intricately embellished with ornaments and different textures, included collaborations with designers and artists, which illustrated his ’humanistic’ design approach, aimed at creating a welcoming environment for residents. Following the architect’s original vision, the building renovation features a mix of restored brick, new ornamental micro-linen bronze stainless steel panels, newly formed aluminum panels and new oversized tilt-and-turn windows.
Inside, the existing 24-storey building has been reconfigured into 47 residences, some featuring 360-degree views of the Manhattan harbour. More than half of the residences have private terraces, with existing openings enlarged to fully capture the breathtaking views. A 24-hour doorman, concierge, library lounge with bar, children’s playroom, fitness centre, sauna and a common decked roof terrace are a few of the amenities the residents will be able to enjoy. It is no surprise that its 5,955-square-foot penthouse was snapped up after less than a month on the market. The penthouse will be ready in December and all the residents are expected to be able to move into the tower early next year.
Walker, also the architect behind the city’s Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building and the financial district’s art deco Irving Trust bank tower, tirelessly developed the skyscraper typology and also worked on the Chicago and New York World’s Fairs in the 1930s. Perfectly timed to coincide with the Walker Tower renovation project, Rizzoli’s new tome ’Ralph Walker: Architect of the Century’ by Kathryn E. Holliday is the first monograph to fully present the architect’s work and vision.