Pict0057.jpg (78493 bytes) New York Architecture Images-Gramercy Park

Kips Bay Plaza


Pei Cobb Fried


East 30th to East 33rd Streets.


Planning: 1957–  Construction: 9/61–  Completion: 4/63


International Style II  


concrete  Residential complex with twin 21-story apartment slabs, public plaza, retail arcade and parking 1.3 million s/f 
Client Webb & Knapp, Inc.


Apartment Building





This urban renewal project, composed of twin apartment slabs flanking a landscaped plaza, was an attempt to transform large-scale housing into architecture. The challenge was to develop an economic and aesthetic alternative to the steel-frame brick-skin apartment houses that had become standard in American cities since the beginning of the century. The solution, a pioneering application of cast-in-place architectural concrete, combines both interior and exterior, structure and finish, into an integral whole.

The twin slabs are aligned with the city streets and oriented to maximize skyline and river views. Each is defined by a concrete grid whose curved intersections express the fluid character of the structural pour. Because the façades are load-bearing units, fewer internal supports are required so that the apartments (28 per floor; 560 per building) offer more usable space inside.

Unlike most contemporary apartments, the interiors are generously lit by floor-to-ceiling windows. The deep concrete grid protects against glare and direct sun, while at ground level it opens both lobbies to a landscaped park that creates for Kips Bay its own context in the city. The site's sloped grade is maximized to conceal an underground garage and to integrate a shopping / restaurant spine along busy Second Avenue.


Major Components

Two 21-story slabs each with 608,000 s/f apartments (1,160 total units; 560 per building); 27,350 s/f typical floor area (28 apartments per floor); 3-acre landscaped plaza; retail spine; 78,000 s/f garage for 300 cars on 3-levels below ground.



City Club of New York: Albert S. Bard Award



URA Honor Award for Urban Renewal Design



FHA Honor Award for Residential Design


I. M. Pei & Associates services

Complete Architectural Services; Interior



Kips Bay Towers is comprised of two residential high-rise condominium buildings located at 333 & 343 East 30th Street and 300 & 330 East 33rd Street.

Both 20 floor buildings have a total of 1118 units and are home to a diverse professional community (singles and families) in fields such as medical, financial, technology and the creative arts. It encompasses 7.5 acres nestled between First and Second Avenue.

Designed in 1961 by I.M. Pei and originally named Kips Bay Plaza, this unique complex is heralded as one of the first residential buildings to be designed by the world-renowned architect. It converted to condominiums in 1981 when it also changed its name. Having the distinction of being the first exposed concrete residential buildings in New York City, Kips Bay Towers is also known for its unusually large picture windows and beautifully landscaped gardens. The design of the complex assures residents a sense of privacy, while still offering picturesque views and relaxing outdoor settings.
  see also

Silver Towers University Village (Silver Towers)