Designed by the world famous Mexican architect Enrique Norton, Cassa Hotel and Residences (70 West 45th St.) is both a luxury hotel and long-term residence with apartments both for sale and rent.

Despite the marketing logic that seems to straddle multiple and possibly conflicting visions for building developments, the design for this simple tower is quite elegant and straightforward. The white tower rises mid-block from an unassuming base, its gridded stone facade punctured almost uniformly with square windows. On the street and rear sides, the windows appear evenly at almost every increment, but on the other two lot-line facades, the patterning is reduced to comply with the city’s code constraints that limit windows to less than 10% of the area. According to Norten the “tower’s window and their punctuated rhythm becomes the façade’s only ornaments.” But by also comparing them to the floor plans found on their website, one can also cleverly deduce which units are 1-bedroms and which are the floor-through 3-bedrooms.

The only other slight variation in the tower is that it leans slightly away from the street at 54th. Though the angle is hard to perceive, it can be verified by closely observing the spacing of the grid from the street edge.  This minor slope is a clever way that the tower, after an initial setback at the 7th floor, complies with the zoning ordinances of NYC. Otherwise, the building stands as an unadorned white mass, that makes for an exceptionally good projection screen as it did last year for the promotion of Showtime's Dexter.

Tags: look-up, new-york, cassany, enrique-norton
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