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This year, the Dutch architecture studio designs its first project in the United States, in New York City’s Upper Manhattan. 

Who is MVRDV?

Based in Rotterdam, MVRDV was launched by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, and Nathalie de Vries. The goal of this office? To find solutions to contemporary architectural and urban problems. Highlighted by such powerful projects as the headquarters of Dutch public radio and television and the WoZoCo housing for the elderly in Amsterdam, the office is 350 strong, architects and designers. In collaboration with the University of Delft, MVRDV now runs the Why Factory, a think tank and research institute offering a program for architecture and urban planning to understand the city of the future.

© Ossip van Duivenbode

A project that considers the local context

Designed for Youngwoo & Associates, this incredible building has a real impact on the Manhattan skyline. Yet its silhouette echoes the personality of its neighborhood. Thus, it takes the form of a stack of blocks, whose dimensions correspond to those of the local buildings, all clad in eight different colors of brick. This type of design creates a true vertical village without overwhelming the environment, as is often the case when buildings outgrow their neighbors. 

© Ossip van Duivenbode

Vibrant colors that echo the neighborhood’s storefronts

The colors are also a nod to this part of the city, reflecting its storefronts. Thus, the brightest colors, such as green, yellow, blue, red, and orange, are on the upper blocks, while the most discreet ones, such as plum, blue, and grey-brown, are at the visitors’ level, at street level.

© Ossip van Duivenbode

What will we find inside?

The building, not far from a university and a hospital, has 221 rooms. It also includes retail space on the first floor and more than 16,000 square meters of office space. Finally, the 12th floor, to be found in the blue block, is a space dedicated to events suitable for all festivities, from weddings to meetings to bar mitzvahs to quinceañeras, says MVRDV.

© Ossip van Duivenbode

Lisa Agostini