Stemming from my last post about the Telefonplan in Stockholm as a factor in urban identity, I take aim at home, New York City. In the next four years New York City's skyline will be brand new. With six major skyscrapers jotting up on this tiny island, look at each one, and think what kind of impact will this have or does it have on our current urban ID, the design of the famous skyline, and presence in work, play, and life of a New Yorker. Urban planning and development as crucial elements in the cogs of urban living; these buildings all to some degree are a reflection of an architectural, artistic, design, financial, pop, and lifestyle capital of the world, and so should foreshadow and resonate the collective ideals of its community.
Residential Real Estate:
-- The Solaire. One of the first green residential buildings, The Solaire in battery park signaled the onset of a change in development. By marketing itself as an innovative solution to growing environmental concerns, not only does the building make convention for new buildings to be constructed, but also acknowledges the a demand for this kind of living.
-- The Helena. The Helena came shortly there after, also on the west side, in the 60's. The Helena followed pattern with The Solaire and is helping to reconstruct the skyline from a New Jersey angle.
-- The Hearst Tower. The home to numerous magainzes in the Hearst Empire, this columbus circle building, also leaning towards the west side, achieved "gold" LEED status. Hmmm. Well, the architectural use of the original building's base saved something like 30,000 tons of building material. The design? I am not quite so fond of the design, considering that it is of no cultural influence or relevance to its community. Although the design does give to saving materials. (see above).
-- The New York Times Building. This building is really amazing. Another contribution to the reconstruction of the west side skyline, Renzo Piano has taken great care in building an iconic and strong presence in New York. It features a technologically advanced innovation in glass facades, allowing for optimum conditions for heating, cooling, productivity, and aesthetics. This building, in humble opinion, also contributes importantly to the design of the landscape. The simple, elegant, and sharp structure carefully plays respect to its skyline neighbors, yet forms the independent and striking character so defined by residents of the city, and the nature of the newspaper.
-- The Bank of America Tower. 6th avenue, just off of bryant park is the Cook+Fox creation of the Bank of America tower. When complete, claims to be the most environmentally conscious building in New York, it's organic and curvaceous design is indicative of a green-building that would overlook a famous park. They are trying to get platinum rating, but moreover, I think that the way the tower has been publicized is a full indication of how important it is that Cook+FOX recognizes their position as a voice for the architectural voice of NYC, because of their leadership here.
-- The Freedom Tower. To be built on the World Trade Center site, this buildings appears to father the buildings around it, in a skyline shot. It rises above with the support of the buildings that surround it, I see how the design integrates well with the lower manhattan landmark site. It's sustainability, while not as great as those that are above, is significant, with its own natural fuel cells to generate power. The building's design is the culmination of hot debate over how and what should fill this spot, the ultimate example of how architecture in an urban environment plays the ever-important cultural and social catalyst position.
We are seeing a total reconstruction of Manhattan's west side skyline. Second, all the buildings show that such large members of the community play a leadership and exemplary role in reflecting the desires of the community in which it is joining. New York is on a green trend, sustainability and concern for the welfare of our community is more important than ever, and we can see how each architect has taken great care to respect the wishes of those people that will organically integrate their lives with their urban environment. My problem is, I wish there was a modicum of pace involved so that we can learn from the mistakes of each tower as they are built, and iterate our sustainable thinking more suited for actual results over USGBC certification.
Listening to: Miles Davis with the great Gil Evans.