Photo Credit: Evan Joseph

Central Park Tower’s Communal Terrace: a Town Green In the Sky

By: LX Collection

Exterior aerial view of Central Park Tower condominiums with a sunset view of New York City in the background. Photo Credit: Extell Development Company

When a building becomes the tallest residential tower in the world, it quite literally expands the possibilities of what a living space can be. Central Park Tower has not only changed the New York skyline, it has also introduced new ways of connecting with nature in this dense metropolitan environment. It’s fitting, then, that HMWhite’s Hank White, one of the country’s top landscape architects, and a creator who holds a deep commitment to the emotional impact of landscape on daily life, was called in to design the tower’s 14th-floor amenity terrace. The result is a communal outdoor space that cultivates the powers of the imagination and of the natural world in equal measure.

“We get excited about giving residents an opportunity to just have a comfortable exhale,” White said. “You walk out the doors of the amenity spaces, and boom—you are in this garden sanctuary that can remind you of a landscape or garden you experienced as a child, which has an immediate soothing effect.”

The terrace at Central Park Tower is a three-part structure that includes a 25-meter lap pool, a sun deck with food and beverage service, gas grilling stations with seating areas for al fresco dining, and a green lawn that echoes the sprawling lawns of Central Park.

A particular influence for White was the concept of the town green—the place where people in a village congregate and form relationships. “We set up something we hope gives you that sense of, ‘This is my back yard. I’m home again.’ A sense of belonging to a community.” 

White has created a series of carefully designed room-like environments that test the boundaries of inside and outside. The terrace comes into dialogue with the surrounding skyline, yet becomes a tranquil oasis, removed from the bustle of the city. Timber walls, stone benches, and tree plantings evoke a European cloister as well as childhood memories of playing until dusk in the back yard.

Photo Credit: Evan Joseph

The plantings have been carefully chosen to complement movement through the space in every season. European hornbeams create a hedgerow on the north side of the terrace, and Eastern redbud trees and black cherry trees at the center of the terrace provide blooming flowers in the spring and shade all year long. The upper roof garden and the swimming pool terrace are both dotted with moonglow magnolias.

There is also a play area for children, a screen for watching movies under the stars, and plenty of seating that provides both privacy and a glimpse of the lawns and pool deck where the communal life of the building unfolds. It’s a place where you can host a dinner party, go for a swim at dawn, or relax with friends for an after-dinner drink. But, most importantly, it’s also a place that has the power to change the experience of daily life in a city where a tower that reaches the sky offers the natural space that makes a landmark a home.