A look at the skinniest skyscraper in the world: the Steinway Tower

NEW YORK (AP) — One skyscraper stands out from the rest in the Manhattan skyline. It’s not the tallest, but it’s the skinniest – the skinniest in the world, in fact.

The 84-story Steinway residential tower, designed by New York-based architecture firm SHoP Architects, earns the title of “the world’s tallest skyscraper” thanks to its logic-defying 23 1/2 width-to-height ratio for 1.

“Anytime it’s 1 in 10 or more, it’s considered a slender building; 1 to 15 or more is considered exotic and really hard to do,” said SHoP Architects founding director Gregg Pasquarelli. “The thinnest buildings in the world are mostly in Hong Kong, and they’re around 17 or 18 to 1.”

The tower’s 60 apartments cost between $18 million and $66 million per unit and offer 360-degree views of the city. It is located just south of Central Park along a stretch of Manhattan’s 57th Street known as “Billionaires Row”.

At 1,428 feet (435 meters), the building is the second tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere, second only to the Central Park Tower at 1,550 feet (470 meters). For comparison, the tallest tower in the world is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which rises to 828 meters.

The Steinway Tower is so skinny at the top that every time the wind picks up, the luxury homes on the top floors sway a few feet.

“Every skyscraper has to move,” Pasquarelli said. “If it’s too stiff, it’s actually more dangerous – there has to be flexibility.”

To prevent the tower from swinging too far, the architects created a counterweight with tuned steel plates. And while the exterior has the de rigueur reflective glass, it also includes a textured terracotta and bronze facade that creates wind turbulence to slow the building’s acceleration, Pasquarelli said. About 200 rock anchors descend no more than 100 feet (30 meters) into the underlying bedrock to provide a deep foundation.

Steinway Tower has a long history as the former location of Steinway Hall, built in 1924. JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group purchased the building in 2013, and now they are looking to the future.

“What I hope is that in 50 years you only know New York with 111 West 57th St.,” Pasquarelli said. “I hope he will hold a special place in the hearts of all future New Yorkers.” ___

AP contributor Aron Ranen contributed to this report.