Steel. The architect chose a steel frame for the building. An unusual choice — most residential apartment buildings are made from concrete or masonry. Often because the materials are cheaper. While steel is more costly as a material, it provides some important advantages that make it the standard for skyscrapers and commercial projects. Steel is strong yet thin, and can give sharp angles and shapes that concrete does not provide easily.
For East of East, the steel frame provides more living space in the apartment interiors, more floor-to-floor height inside the lofts, better angles around the perimeter, and a connection to the industrial past of the neighborhood. Long Island City was long home to many iron works — including one which still operates called Empire City Iron Works.
Detail. The architects and engineering team were on the site with the builders multiple times per week for nearly two years. From the first foundation surveys through the steel erection through the installation of every element: floors, windows, door handles, electrical outlets, ventilation ducts, wall frames.
The floors are 3/4 inch solid oak, stained deeply for a contemporary style. They are laid on top of a 3/4 inch plywood base, which is itself on an insulated base. And beneath that is a poured concrete slab on a steel deck. The quality of just this detail of the construction stands out when compared to nearly any other building available.
As another example, behind the white painted drywall near each window is a complicated assembly inside the wall. First there is a layer of insulation, and then exterior wall stone. This stone has an impermeable coating, and then the the ground-faced stone block wall or Cor-Ten steel exterior cladding. But near each window is an added detail — rectangular strips of steel affixed just above each window frame to anchor the curtain rods you may one day install. A tiny additional detail on every window frame to ensure that your screws are not resting only on drywall.