Copper in the Arts

June 2017

American Copper Buildings: The New York City Skyline Takes on a Copper Glow

By Nancy Ballou

american_copper_buildings.jpgThe American Copper Buildings in New York City. 

Photograph courtesy of JDS Development. 

A gleaming pair of angled luxury rental towers on Manhattan’s East River waterfront provide incredible views of the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan’s beautiful skyline, basking the passersby below with a shimmer of copper.

Known as the American Copper Buildings, the towers were developed by JDS Development Group and designed inside and out by the renowned SHoP Architects, with the goal of pushing design limits and leaving the urban landscape better served by the buildings.

The 41- and 48-story towers include 761 residences with more than 300 unique layouts and ranging from studios to three-bedrooms. A three-story skybridge suspended 300 feet in the air links the two towers. Not only does the skybridge contain a 75’ lap pool, a Turkish-style hammam, fitness center, climbing wall and other amenities, it is the first major skybridge to be built in New York in the last 80 years.

“The American Copper Buildings takes its name from the more than 5,000 copper panels (10’3” x 5’11”) that make up its facade,” says Marci Clark, Director at JDS Development Group. “SHoP has always been interested in playing with raw and living materials—materials that change in appearance over time—and chose copper for its oxidizing quality. Clad in 4.25 million pounds of raw copper, the towers’ signature copper hue will eventually become a deep green, not unlike the Statue of Liberty or the roof of the Woolworth Building,”

The American Copper Buildings are now the tallest copper-clad towers in the world. But, according to Clark, that was never the goal. “The goal was to create the most dynamic pair of dancing towers on the Manhattan skyline. “The angled silhouettes maximize the views from the buildings and give them that ‘dancing’ appearance.”

Originally, 60,000 tons of soil were removed during foundation work. More than 1,000 piles were driven into the soil to support the structures. Thousands of trucks delivered the 50,000 cubic yards of concrete that were poured.

“The American Copper Buildings are one of only two buildings in Manhattan that feature a copper facade. Copper is a significant component of New York’s architecture, but is typically used only as a decorative element, or as part of a building’s crown,” Clark mentions. “At the American Copper Buildings, the north and south facades are entirely copper—a modern interpretation of the material that manifests into a comprehensive experience.”

Inside the luxury apartments, bathrooms feature antique bronze detailing, a nod to the buildings’ metal exterior. The warmth of the antique bronze balances the coolness of the black crocodile marble and black stone floors. Bronze peepholes on the front doors to the residences also double as door knockers.

Some of the copper panels that have been outside the longest are already on their way to turning green.


JDS Development, 104 5th Ave., New York, NY

Also in this Issue:


2022   |   2021   |   2020   |   2019   |   2018   |   2017   |   2016   |   2015   |   2014   |   2013   |   2012   |   2011   |   2010   |   2009   |   2008   |   2007

Contact the Editor: