The brick facade of The West, a new condo building with 219 residences, is made up of almost 580,000 pounds of demolition and industrial waste. Created by Dutch company StoneCycling, the recycled bricks contain 60% waste, including ceramic toilet bowls, roof tiles, and steel. Most bricks are made up of two to three waste streams, although the company works with 60 waste streams overall.
The West was designed by Concrete, the Dutch architecture firm behind Citizen M hotels in New York, London, and Amsterdam. This is their first time working with StoneCycling’s “WasteBasedBricks”—and the first time the bricks have been used in the U.S.—but the architects are drawing on a strong legacy of Dutch brick building. “The canal houses in Amsterdam are all built by brick,” says Erikjan Vermeulen, a founding partner at Concrete. “We have a big brick tradition and history.”
The architects used the bricks on the first seven floors of the building’s facade, and inside the lobby, where some bricks protrude just enough from the wall to spell out a poem about Hell’s Kitchen in morse code. From up close, every brick looks different. Some are smooth, others look and feel like sandpaper, others have tiny little craters on their surface, like samples from the moon. Each brick was brushed (by hand) with a thin, slightly reflective coating of glass particles, which gives the surface an ever-so-subtle shine, particularly when the sun hits the facade.