139 East 23rd Street

Location: Manhattan, NYC

Architect: HTO Architect

Finished: 2018

Photos: Dean Kaufman

Petersen Magazine: Petersen 48

Products: K56

Categories: Housing projects

“We eat, sleep, and breathe New York – which is why we are so adamant about doing right by our city,” the HTO Architect company writes on its website. 139 East 23rd Street, just a block away from Gramercy Park, lives up to every expectation of what a modern Manhattan apartment block should look like.

HTO Architect designed the building around a sober, straightforward façade with five large, almost square, slightly recessed glass sections subdivided by black metal bars. The building is surrounded by historic neighbours, many in brick, which made it the obvious choice of material for No.139, too. The architects settled on the handmade Kolumba, K56, which is mainly black with subtle dark brown shades.

K56 derives its unique look from surface vitrification during the hard firing process, which results in both shiny areas and traces of sand aggregate on the finished product. The powerful, rustic brick perfectly complements the discreet and elegant architecture.