Morris Adjmi Architects

83 Walker

14,000 square feet
9 stories, 9 units
New York, New York
2017

83 Walker is located within the Tribeca East Historic District, an area with a significant number of noteworthy structures by pioneers of cast-iron architecture. The new apartment building honors this history with a modern interpretation of the classic nineteenth century cast-iron façade that is both edifying and unexpected.

Everything about 83 Walker’s fascia appears to be traditional and instantly familiar, from the basic tripartite division to the composition of the arched windows, lintels, and understated pilasters. But it is actually the inverse of Tribeca’s typical cast-iron façades—instead of projecting out, pilasters have been imprinted as a “negative.” The building is, essentially, an enormous mold for creating a cast-iron façade.

Constructed from sandblasted precast concrete panels, the color of the building’s façade relates to both the white-painted cast-iron and buff-colored stone found throughout Tribeca. However, 83 Walker does more than invoke the colors and forms found throughout the historic district—it inspires a consideration of how the buildings were constructed, how the components were cast and assembled. In this way, 83 Walker is a singular record of the architectural processes that have shaped the neighborhood.

Despite this nontraditional expression of cast-iron forms, the new building was praised by the NYC LPC as a “contemporary and sympathetic complement” to the loft buildings in the Tribeca East Historic District.

Façade Inspiration & Process

Cover of Daniel D. Badger’s 1865 Architectural Iron Works catalog, which features cast-iron façades and components.
83 Walker isn’t an obvious response to Tribeca’s historic cast-iron buildings. By showing the negative, it suggests what isn’t typically seen: the forms that were used to mold them.
Rachel Whiteread’s works, such as "House" (1993), pictured here, were a notable inspiration for 83 Walker. Her surprising intricate plaster and resin casts of objects and spaces defamiliarize everyday architectural elements.
One of 83 Walker’s precast concrete panels being removed from its mold. The concrete façade fits the cast-iron context so well that it’s easy to walk past the building without giving it a second glance. Up close, however, the unexpected construction method and material offer a dramatic contrast to the neighboring buildings.
Cover of Daniel D. Badger’s 1865 Architectural Iron Works catalog, which features cast-iron façades and components.
83 Walker isn’t an obvious response to Tribeca’s historic cast-iron buildings. By showing the negative, it suggests what isn’t typically seen: the forms that were used to mold them.
Rachel Whiteread’s works, such as "House" (1993), pictured here, were a notable inspiration for 83 Walker. Her surprising intricate plaster and resin casts of objects and spaces defamiliarize everyday architectural elements.
One of 83 Walker’s precast concrete panels being removed from its mold. The concrete façade fits the cast-iron context so well that it’s easy to walk past the building without giving it a second glance. Up close, however, the unexpected construction method and material offer a dramatic contrast to the neighboring buildings.

83 Walker’s façade isn’t the only aspect of the building that offers a surprising twist on the Tribeca vernacular. The eight full-floor apartments and ground-floor duplex all feature windows that look like the traditional two-over-two double-hung sashes commonly found throughout the area but are, in fact, large hopper windows that open inward.