The Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge is a residential building, completed in 2008. Daniel Libeskind’s residential tower is located in Covington, Kentucky, USA and it is marked as an important structure in the architectural renaissance. It is a 20-story building and 300ft high with 70 units. The building is located at 1 Roebling Way, which was renamed by a city official to better fit the structure.
The site is adjacent to the Roebling Bridge. The building was awarded a CNBC Americas Property Awards for Best High-Rise Development in 2008.
Daniel Libeskind’s Philosophy
Daniel Libeskind is involved in various types of projects including cultural, residential, and commercial structures, and urban designing. His studio has built many concert halls, convention centers, museums, residential towers, shopping centers, hotels, and university buildings.
Libeskind believes that buildings are crafted with perceptible human energy and address the greater cultural context that they are built in. His commitment to expanding the scope of architecture reflects his immense interest and engagement in philosophy, art, literature, and music.
“To provide meaningful architecture is not to parody history but to articulate it.”
— Daniel Libeskind
Concept and Style
The sloping roof of the tower is provided to maximize viewpoints and unobstructed visibility of the Cincinnati skyline from every unit. It is designed in this fashion to provide a visual link between the high-rise buildings on the west and low-rise buildings on the east in Covington. The ascending height of the building also represents the suspension cable of the Roebling Bridge adjacent to the tower.
The Ascent at Roebling Bridge is an attempt by Daniel Libeskind to bring about a change in residence architecture by making it on a grand scale. The vision was to bring a strong sense of community and commitment to innovative construction. The building represents the post-modern style of architecture. The use of glass, high-rise buildings, and a strong form of the structure mark it as an important benchmark in the post-modernism era of architecture.
The color of the building was also chosen consciously as blue as it was in close vicinity to a river and the Roebling Bridge over it had blue suspension cables. Thus, the color blue was a soothing element introduced that could also provide a serene reflection of the river on it.
Daniel Libeskind made sure that the neighborhood was limited to a maximum of three apartments on the floor in each tower for privacy purposes. On the plaza level, retail shops and condominium services were provided like hospitality services, exercise rooms, media rooms, and storage spaces.
The building from the outside looks like one homogenous tower, but the design was done in two parts; the east tower and the west tower. There are 11 stories on the western portion and 23 stories on the eastern portion of the building. Both the towers were separated from a firewall. Also, two separate circulation cores were built to make the users feel immediately connected to their apartments after getting into an elevator. The elevators are almost leading into their apartments.
Individual units are also oriented such that they get the view from every vantage like the Roebling Bridge, Cincinnati skyline across the Ohio River, and the rolling hills. Also, the location of the building adds up to the standard of living of the users. It is located very close to restaurants, boutiques, local gathering spots, riverfront parks with walking trails, etc. Covington is named as one of the top 10 urban neighborhoods to live in, in the country.
The building had to face some structural challenges like the wind tunnel effect. The model of the building underwent wind tunnel testing to analyze structural strength. The building is shaped in the form of a sail and the sail faces the southwest direction which is the direction of the wind. Thus, the building naturally invites wind into the structure and gives direction to the same.
Also, since it was in the direction of wind blowing, additional structural systems had to be proposed for its structural strength like 2 service cores and a firewall.
Snow load and snow falling off the roof also had to be treated. Hence, a complete roof system was designed with suspension cables that could break the pieces of ice and avoid any mishap. The roof is a single-ply membrane made up of rubber that comes in different colors but was colored blue to match the external façade of the building.
The superstructure is made up of precast concrete, a glass curtain wall on the façade, cast-in-place concrete, reinforced concrete, and steel.
The irregular repetition of floors breaks the stereotypical high-rise residential building typology. The glass curtain wall used as an elevation treatment blurs the gap between the outside and inside of the building both physically and visually.
The multiple layers at the external façade also help to keep the apartments away from the eastern sun. Cantilevered decks on the riverfront’s side are also irregular but it gives beautiful vantage points. The structure is made up of concrete and cladding with a glass curtain wall.
ArchDaily. (2011). The Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge / Studio Libeskind. [online] Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/118092/the-ascent-at-roebling%25e2%2580%2599s-bridge-daniel-libeskind [Accessed 5 Jun. 2021].
Libeskind. (n.d.). The Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge. [online] Available at: https://libeskind.com/work/the-ascent-at-roeblings-bridge/ [Accessed 5 Jun. 2021].
Lomholt, I. (2008). The Ascent, Kentucky, Covington Building. [online] e-architect. Available at: https://www.e-architect.com/america/the-ascent-kentucky [Accessed 5 Jun. 2021].
pls4e (2018). Ascent at Roebling’s Bridge. [online] SAH ARCHIPEDIA. Available at: https://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/KY-01-117-0005 [Accessed 5 Jun. 2021].