Ninad Garware

Office : Handel Architects

Aurora is a new 33-story mixed-use hotel and residential tower, located in Long Island City, Queens. The 240,000 SF building includes a 160-key hotel on the lower 10 floors, and 16 floors of residential above. A 3-story podium includes a restaurant/bar and a business center. Below-grade space includes a 1,200 SF gym and conference space. The rooftop, with views to Manhattan, includes a second gym, a lounge, and an outdoor landscaped deck.

Aurora has been designed to take advantage of its wedge shaped site, which tapers from a wider northern edge to a narrower southern edge. Its western façade is on a quiet and mostly residential street, and faces the Manhattan skyline. The eastern façade fronts on Queens Plaza and Dutch Kills Green, a recently constructed city park.

The building carries its two street walls continuously along the full length of the site with a base of storefront glass and concrete panels above.

At sixty feet, the tower steps back and continues to rise in the form a narrow slab, which itself shears into two eliding volumes, with one reaching well past the other. This sculpting is achieved by the use of deep reveals at the party walls, creating visual drama along what is typically left blank and unconsidered in New York City construction. These walls are constructed of site-cast concrete, and act as the structural shear walls of the building.

The broad faces of the building are visually defined by a taught sheet of glass which is framed by the concrete slab. The concrete has been scored to echo the vertically attenuated geometry of the curtain wall. The western façade is a pure rectangular expression of this idea, while the eastern façade is slit and bent, to form a single large cut which is prominent or invisible depending on the angle from which it is seen.