New FiDi Building Gets a 'Second Skin'

22 Thames Street's 'Second Skin'

While stock broker’s yells are muffled by the bustling air that is Lower Manhattan, a new voice can be heard -- the voice of residents. The first ten years of the 21st century have brought changes to the Financial District. Office spaces have been remodeled into remarkable residential quarters. Brand new condominium buildings have also been rising to situate themselves alongside the more historic premises. It seems that the name of the Financial District has also been revamped in the excitement, as it is more endearingly referred to as ‘FiDi’ today.

Yet another change has come to FiDi. Just south of the World Trade Center on 22 Thames Street lies a century old 10 story building fashioned in brick. It had been sold last year, sealed off to the public, and demolition is in this building’s immediate future. Selldorf Architects has designed a 54 story tower--dubbed the Lower Manhattan Tower--which is set to become a new residential site at this address. All 637 feet of this establishment will be portrayed in what’s being described as a ‘faceted facade’ - terracotta louvers which will be fully operational by each individual tenant. These louvers have matte and mirrored finishes which are designed to either divert or refract solar activity from the units, thus naturally cooling and heating them. They also animate the building and have been dubbed as the “second skin” of the tower. Ever changing at the tenants will, their motion reflects the non-stop motion of New Yorkers.

The fate of the old brick building was sealed the moment it was sold. Since residential buildings have been swiftly rising within the historic streets of FiDi, it seemed likely that 22 Thames will become this neighborhood’s newest addition. One can no longer view the Financial District as being a place of “all work and no play.” Once workers have turned their computers off and diminished the lights in their offices, lights within residential buildings still burn. The Lower Manhattan Tower will prove to be a glistening addition to the changing downtown skyline.