Uplifting Urban Living: Façade and MEP Considerations for Skybridges

John Ivanoff
BuroHappold Engineering, New York City

The American Copper Buildings, winner of the 2018 CTBUH Best Tall Building Americas Award, consists of two dynamic residential towers on New York City’s East River linked by a skybridge, making an impressive addition to the skyline. The copper-clad towers consist of 761 luxury rental units, reaching 41 and 48 stories in height, respectively, with an iconic three-story skybridge located from floors 27 to 29, suspended 300 feet (91 meters) above the ground. This 100-foot (30.5-meter) skybridge is the first of its kind in New York City in 80 years. The skybridge creates a tri-level amenity cluster, including 75-foot (23-meter) indoor lap pool, lounge and rooftop deck, allowing the buildings to communicate with each other. The façade is composed of custom glass assembly, which differentiates itself from the copper towers while allowing for unobstructed city views, and provides enhanced thermal efficiency, which was optimized through intensive dialogue between the MEP and façade teams. In response to the bridge’s requirements for structural movement, the MEP services for electricity and condenser water have flexible connectors as well as automatic isolation valves.

This presentation reviews the feats of engineering and planning required to design and build a skybridge that carries and unifies the buildings’ MEP utility systems, while taking into consideration the structural movements of the bridge. During the presentation, the performance of the custom façade, movement joint and fire separation between the skybridge and towers are discussed in detail.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation