Some of these changes are already transforming New York city’s neighborhoods. The most prominent example of this, and one of the most significant projects of recent years, is Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s High Line. Not only did it pave the way for a new, holistic approach to urbanism focused on reviving existing, untapped space through designs that address contemporary needs, the High Line’s success has also led it to become a locus for new development. With a kind of gravitational pull, the High Line has propelled a residential boom from the Meatpacking District through Chelsea that will see dozens of very exciting projects. The most recent addition is SHoP’s proposal for a 10-story timber-framed structure. This would be the tallest of its kind in the city and a departure from the traditional steel and concrete palette of high-rise construction.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro, The High Line. Photo by Iwan Baan. Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
Bjarke Ingels Group, The Dryline. Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group.
Based in OSAKA
Left: Tadao Ando Architect & Associates, 152 Elizabeth Street. Rendering by Noë & Associates and The Boundary. Right: Portrait of Tadao Ando examining the model of 152 Elizabeth Street, photo courtesy of Sumaida + Khurana. Courtesy of Tadao Ando Architect & Associates.
Throughout the boutique building—which will contain only seven residences—Ando (who also worked alongside Gabellini Sheppard Associates on the interior design) was focused on incorporating the elements—light, sound, air, and water—and using each as a distinct material in his architectural vision. The site will include one of the largest living green walls in New York City, a floor-to-ceiling water wall in the entrance vestibule and, most curiously, a volumetric fog and light installation carved into one of the exterior walls that will change at different times of the day, according to weather conditions. Altogether, Ando’s New York debut retains his signature approach of creating cohesion between architecture and its natural surroundings—and endeavors to embed a small sanctuary to nature into an unsuspecting corner of the city.
Based in New York
Selldorf Architects, Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility, Brooklyn, New York. Image by John Majoris. Portrait of Annabelle Selldorf by Brigitte Lacombe. Courtesy of Selldorf Architects.
Within her oeuvre, the Sims Sunset Park Materials Recovery Facility in Brooklyn seems a bit out of left field, but Selldorf deftly converted the industrial site with her minimalist touch. With recycled materials used throughout, the building embodies its program. The site fill is made out of recycled glass, asphalt, and rock reclaimed from the Second Avenue subway construction; the structure is made from recycled steel and the plazas are finished with recycled glass. The facility will also contain one of the largest applications of photovoltaic panels in the city and a 160-foot-tall wind turbine that supplies up to 10% of the facility’s power. But the building doesn’t only consider the impact of recycling in a physical way; one of the project’s defining features is the inclusion of an Education Center that contains classrooms, exhibition space, and a viewing platform onto the Processing Facility where visitors can see the recycling process in action.
Based in Copenhagen and New York
Bjarke Ingels Group, 2 WTC. Image by DBOX. Portrait of Bjarke Ingels. Photo by Steve Benisty. Courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group.
Ingels sees his practice as hitting the sweet spot between utopian ideas and pragmatic realities. As he once explained, each project is a specific response to a complex network of factors: “Some people use only the color white, or only 90 degrees. What defines their style is the sum of all their inhibitions. And I think we try to put ourselves in a position where we can be free to choose any weapon of choice in each and every case to match the context, the culture [and] the climate in the best possible way.”
When he received the commission for 2 World Trade Center, the last skyscraper to be built at the revered site, he had to mitigate some of the most delicate dynamics involved in building in New York City. He views the adjacent 9/11 Memorial as a sacred place for remembering and considers 2 WTC a symbol of the city manifesting its defiance in the face of terror. As such, he conceived of the building as having two distinct faces: the smooth, tall, and slender side, which faces the Memorial with solemn respect, while the stepped green terraces of the northern side greet TriBeCa with vibrancy. At the 92nd Street Y last week, he recalled meeting a man whose brother was a first responder during 9/11 and tragically lost his life that day. He interpreted the tower itself as a unique memorial, a clear symbol within New York’s skyline—a stairway to heaven.
Based in NEW YORK
SHoP Architects, 111 West 57th Street, JDS Development Group. ©SHoP Architects PC. Portrait of SHoP Architects principals. Image by March. Courtesy of SHoP Architects.
Though most of their slated projects are still on the drafting board, you might be familiar with the sight of two towers rising along the East River at 626 1st Avenue, characterized by a slight lean around mid-height, as though they were being pinched together. Once completed, the structures will stand out because of the distinctive gleam of their façade. The north and south faces are clad in copper panels with a gradient of apertures, while the east and west faces feature a glass curtain. The two towers will bring a total of 800 new apartments to the downtown area, along with a plethora of amenities like the enviable pool that will be suspended over the city in the towers’ connecting bridge.
In Midtown, the studio is working on what will become one of the tallest towers in the city and the skinniest skyscraper in the world. 111 West 57th Street rises straight up in the north while its southern façade employs a series of very subtle setbacks, reducing the shade that the tower will cast. The exterior makes a nod to the golden era of Manhattan skyscrapers in the 1920s, with a dark glass curtain wall covered with terracotta and bronze trimming.
Based in LONDON and New York
Adjaye Associates, The Studio Museum in Harlem. Portrait of David Adjaye. Photo by Ed Reeve. Courtesy of Adjaye Associates.
The Studio Museum was originally founded in 1968 in a small loft space and moved in 1979 to a former New York Bank for Savings building that was renovated and extended to form its current site. Adjaye’s project will be the first structure designed specifically for the Studio Museum and its focus is on increasing interior spaces while retaining a dynamism that reflects and resonates with its vital neighborhood, Harlem. As such, the design draws on Harlem’s existing architecture, its traditional brownstones, churches, and vibrant sidewalk life. The expansion will double gallery space (which will allow the museum to significantly extend its schedule of exhibitions), grow its artist-in-residence program, and increase public programming areas by 60%. Ultimately, the project will deepen the Studio Museum’s role as an inviting, central meeting place for the community at large. The design features a transparent ground level with an “inverted stoop,” a set of steps that begin at the sidewalk, descend, and can be used as a stage for lectures, screenings, and performances (some of these spaces will be open free of charge to increase accessibility).
Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Based in New York
Diller Scofidio + Renfrom, Columbia University Medical Center Tower Rendering. Portrait of Charles Renfro, Ricardo Scofidio, Elizabeth Diller. Photo by Abelardo Morrell. Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
Meanwhile, the firm’s fantastical proposal for the Culture Shed at Hudson Yards pulls out another thread that runs through the studio’s interdisciplinary portfolio. The design, a collaboration with Rockwell Group, establishes a highly flexible cultural center adaptable to the visual arts, performing arts, and creative industries. It proposes a column-free exhibition space covered by a 140-foot retractable “shed” that can be deployed using industrial crane technologies to expand or contract the space for changing needs. Or, the structure can be opened fully to create a large and freely accessible open-air plaza.
This brings to mind DS+R’s Blur Building—a pavilion for the 2002 Swiss Expo that was sited 400 feet out into Lake Neuchatel and consisted of a simple metal framework that was periodically activated by a fog-mist system, enveloping visitors in what essentially amounted to be a man-made cloud—as well as their unrealized proposal for the Bubble—a pneumatic structure that would serve as an expansion to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. to create pockets of space for public programs, as needed. What unites these projects is a sense of architecture as ephemeral atmosphere, a view that is centered on building for the fluidity of events and creating spaces that can adapt to the complexity of urban life. (This spirit is also present in their new project for the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive, which opens to the public on January 31st.)
Based in lONDON
Zaha Hadid Architects, 520 West 28th. Portrait of Zaha Hadid by Brigitte Lacombe. Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects.
The structure follows a clever and elegant design whereby its 11 stories give way to 21 floors staggered along a central chevron device. While the building’s sleek volumes are not quite as futuristic as those we’ve come to expect from Hadid, its sculptural facade—handcrafted out of metal—embodies the industrial spirit of its surrounding neighborhood. As the exterior looks to the history of its setting, the interior defines a sense of modern luxury, with unparalleled amenities like a private IMAX theater, a robot-operated garage, and a fully-equipped spa suite. The curvilinear logic of the structure is followed into each of the 39 residential units, which echo the motif in furnishings designed by Hadid herself, like a swooping kitchen island and textured bathroom walls.
Based in NEW YORK
Rendering of The Lowline. Portrait of Dan Barasch and James Ramsey. Courtesy of RAAD and The Lowline.
Based in LONDON
David Chipperfield Architects, The Bryant. Rendering by Miller Hare. Portrait of David Chipperfield. Courtesy of David Chipperfield Architects.
The pared-down—maybe even sober—aesthetics reflect Chipperfield’s oeuvre, characterized by quiet yet monumental interventions led by a careful attunement to materials and their tactile properties. Not surprisingly, the architect has remarked that one of his measures for good architecture is a consideration of what will remain once the building becomes a ruin. With this in mind, his practice is a curious conflation of iconicity and timelessness. In March 2015, the British architect was also tapped to lead the extension of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s modern and contemporary art wing, while also doubling the square footage of the museum’s roof garden. We’ll be eager to see how his proposal unfolds, and for him to apply his sensitivities to the beloved institution.
Based in PARIS
Ateliers Jean Nouvel, 53W53. Portrait of Jean Nouvel. Courtesy of 53W53. Photo by Gaston Bergeret. Courtesy of Ateliers Jean Nouvel.
The structure is distinguished by its tapered form, composed of three separate volumes that peak at different heights and are burnished in different tones: silver, black, and gold. The exposed steel structural system, known as a “diagrid,” marks the exterior with its signature zigzagging pattern—but even though fragments of it peek through to the inside like bits of a sculpture, it also comes with some significant design inconveniences. The windows, for example, are inoperable and require a special ventilation system as well as custom shades.
As part of the larger redesign of the MoMA campus—which saw the much-contested demolition of the American Folk Art Museum—the tower will have the rare distinction of being integrated into Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s new MoMA expansion. The otherwise residential building will contain three new gallery levels on floors 2, 4 and 5, which will be connected to and accessible from the museum’s other exhibition spaces.
based in CHICAGO
Studio Gang, Solar Carve. © Studio Gang Architects. Portrait of Jeanne Gang. Courtesy of Studio Gang.
A reverence for nature manifests throughout her built work, both visually and strategically. (She keeps birds’ nests on her windowsill as a reminder of organic beauty and resourcefulness.) Throughout Gang’s design for the American Museum of Natural History’s new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, dramatic arched forms reminiscent of geologic formations weave through the museum’s space, carving out niches that will be used for special installations and forming fluid connections between galleries, classrooms, and other facilities. Allowing for surprising vistas to develop between the museum’s spaces, Gang’s intervention is a keen reflection of nature’s ability to induce wonder and exploration—and as such, becomes a metaphor for the AMNH’s overarching mission. Once the proposal gets all necessary approvals from the city, it will be slated for completion in 2019, to coincide with the institution’s 150th anniversary.
For the Solar Carve, which will take up residence on the High Line, Gang realizes lessons from nature more indirectly. The 12-story office tower has asymmetric profiles that almost seem like they have been shaved down or carved out of the structure. This is the result of studies of the sun’s path, which dictated the building’s form in order to minimize obstructing shadows while maximizing the flow of air and views of the Hudson. The resulting “gem-like” structure serves as a model for the benefits of solar-driven design and the ways in which sustainability can drive innovative architectural ideas.
Herzog & de Meuron
based in BASEL
Herzog & de Meruon, 56 Leonard. Portrait of Jacques Herzog, Ascan Mergenthaler, and Pierre de Meuron. Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron.
The building is nuanced and singular, and like Herzog & de Meuron’s diverse portfolio, is guided by the principle of using “well-known forms and materials in a new way so that they become alive again.” In several of their past commissions, the interaction of art and architecture has taken on an important role, as in the silkscreened facade of the HdM Ricola Europe Building, or their collaboration with
Based in NEW YORK
Rafael Viñoly Architects, 432 Park Avenue. Image by DBOX for CIM Group/ Macklowe Properties. Portrait of Rafael Viñoly. Courtesy of Rafael Viñoly Architects.
Viñoly is also working on a quieter expansion project for Rockefeller University, which will add two acres to the existing campus by building over the FDR East River Drive to create new laboratories, administrative space, a conference facility, a dining commons, and an outdoor amphitheater. The organic, sprawling nature of this project, which will also see upgrades to the adjoining section of the East River Esplanade, contrasts sharply with the monolith at 432 Park, but this variation follows Viñoly’s focus on each project as a site-specific study. “To me the critical thing in every building is the possibility of changing convention,” he has explained. “We effectively look at every project differently, we don’t believe that you have to be specialized.”