CHANGE UNIVERSE: Magazine Jewels
New York | ArchitectureAugust 24, 2009

The New Architecture

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After the tragic event of September 11 2001, the behavior of New York city inhabitants and developers altered considerably.

Many were the people that traumatized decided to leave the crowded Metropolis known as the fascinating Gotham City, to live in calmer and less threatened sites.

In order to heal this psychological depressive factor, restore trust in the market and help developers,  certain zoning regulations were altered by the commissary office of the buildings department allowing new construction models to take place. Among them, the so called : " Mixed Use Buildings" .

I decide to go on an expedition into the city  newest " architectural monsters "  all  of  them of extreme vanguard  and some , still in construction.  In the company of  the Israeli architect Avi Oster who offered to be my personal guide and  architectural consultant, my inseparable Cannon G9 camera  in my hand, I start my itinerary at 8th street Downtown East . I am also ready to feature for Marcel Steiner's  well-known Brazilian on- line review " Olho Magico" , a glorious article on the New Architecture in Manhattan.

While walking on a beautiful day, under a hot sun and a clear blue sky, Avi tells me that in the city , common minimum lots are between 18 and 25 feet, a very limited space for an architect's dream to take place. In these circumstances he adds, the new laws allowed  to take the maximum advantage of the those limited spaces accommodating both residential and commercial needs in unique building, offering thus new opportunities for both builders and inhabitants.

Moreover,  the International architectural elite was called into the city to compete with the local architects starting with the Valencian Spanish architect, sculptor and structural engineer  Santiago Calatrava responsible  today for the idealization and creation of the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub, icon of the American financial success.This overall effort  has the intention to rejuvenate the city with a new vital energy establishing a fresh creativity in the sector of lifestyle and modern living habitat.

Assisted , I have managed to pick 5 of these extraordinary buildings as my favorites as per Marcel 's feature request. The selection  by the way, was not  difficult as I had been standing in front of exclusive jewels  all without a doubt among the world' s most  innovative realized within the last four years.

New Academic Building for The Cooper Union

The new academic facility is conceived as a stacked vertical piazza, contained within a semi-transparent envelope that articulates the classroom and laboratory spaces. The vertical campus is organized around a central atrium that rises to the full height of the building.

This connective volume, spanned by sky bridges, opens up view corridors across Third Avenue to the Foundation Building. The interior space configuration encourages interconnection between the school’s Engineering, Art, and Architecture departments. All institutional amenities – including meeting rooms, social space, seminar rooms, wireless hubs, restrooms, and phones – are located in the fifth and eighth story sky lobbies that surround the atrium.

The skip-stop elevator system makes trips exclusively to the fifth and eighth floors, drawing occupants to use, and congregate on, the grand stair; in practice, 50% of people will use the stairs as their sole means of circulation.

The building’s physical and visual permeability helps integrate the college into its neighborhood. At street level, the transparent facade invites the neighborhood to observe and to take part in the intensity of activity contained within. Many of the public functions (including retail space and a lobby exhibition gallery) are located at ground level, and a second gallery and a 200-seat auditorium are easily accessible from the street.

The open , accessible building is exemplary as sustainable, energy-efficient architecture. The building will be the first green academic laboratory building in New York City. A steel-and-glass skin improves the building’s performance through control of daylight, energy use, and selective natural ventilation.

The double skin system allows for heightened performance and dynamic composition on several levels: the operable panels create a continually moving pattern, provide surface variety on the facade, reduce the influx of heat radiation during the summer, and give users control over their interior environment and views to the outside.

40 Bond Street

The building, designed by the eminent Swiss architects Herzog de Meuron, is an architectural masterpiece. It is a radical redesign of a traditional cast iron building with utterly unique apartments and townhouses (the first townhouses built in generations). Both have unprecedented, innovative and sophisticated layouts, details and finishes. But the true revolution is in the idea itself, not merely in the look. It is a contemporary luxury lifestyle with maximum pleasure and minimum bother.

In a historic neighborhood containing the most magnificent cast iron buildings in the world the team of Herzog & de Meuron, widely regarded as the world’s most innovative architects, have radically reinvented the cast iron building. They have created a landmark for the future and a new standard in luxury living by combining a classic idea with modern technology and materials. 40 Bond is an inspired building that will set new standards in its plan, in its materials and even in the way it captures and transforms light, reflecting new possibilities of glass and steel in harmony with life.

In the 19th century the historic cast iron buildings of downtown Manhattan revolutionized architecture. They combined classical architectural motifs with the latest engineering and technology advances to create elegant buildings filled with an unprecedented degree of natural light. These dramatically functional yet decorous commercial structures were the first step towards modernism. In the 20th century these buildings were transformed by pioneering artists into spacious homes and studios whose open plans transformed the style in which city dwellers live today.

One of the most salient features of 40 Bond is an elaborate sculptural gate of cast aluminum. This twenty-two foot high and one hundred forty foot long “Gaudíesque” sculptural gate separates the front private gardens of the townhouses from the street. Jacques Herzog said that “when we decided to do gates it was essential that they integrate with the New York street, we wanted to create something solid, rough and chaotic…so we began to experiment with New York City street graffiti which became the starting point of the design.

” The gates individualize the façade of the building but, at the same time, the graffiti inspired design blends the building into the neighborhood. This cast aluminum wall appears as a vast work of art (in fact it is produced by a foundry that manufactures artist sculptures), an abstract expressionist sculpture echoing Pollock, Kline and Dubuffet. Yet, it is elegantly functional and defines the façade by establishing a distinctive New York City graffiti inspired graphic motif echoed throughout the building.

Effortless Luxury Living is the essence of 40 Bond, a sophisticated new concept in urban living created by Ian Schrager. For the first time, it combines all the benefits of home ownership with the services, privileges and amenities of a unique world class, five-star hotel. This is something that has never before been offered in apartment living. It is a new way of living…a carefree and effortless one.

100 / 11 Avenue  'Vision Machine'

View of 100 11th Avenue in context along Manhattan's far West Side. In 1987, maverick French architect Jean Nouvel burst onto the international scene with a new headquarters for the Arab World Institute in Paris, one of President François Mitterrand’s Grands Projets. With mechanized oculi and veils of glass and steel, the building was hailed as an unconventional masterpiece that encouraged people to not only accept modern architecture in a historic setting, but to be thrilled by it.

Over ensuing years Nouvel has woven art, history, cultural references and new building technologies into provocative architectural contrasts between inside and outside, intimacy and the urban network, and has become renowned as one of the most original designers of his generation. In conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Arab World Institute, construction has begun in New York City on Nouvel’s latest glass and steel landmark, a direct material and conceptual descendant of his Paris tour de force: 100 11th will be a 23-story tower described by its architect as “a vision machine” at the intersection of 19th Street and the West Side Highway, along the Hudson River in Manhattan.

The building's gently curving curtain wall of different sized panes of colorless glass - each set in a unique angle and torque - will sheath one of the most meticulously customized, high performance residential addresses in the nation. This dazzling window pattern will frame splendid views from within the tower while producing an exterior texture that serves as a poetic analog for the vibrancy, density and changeability of New York City.

Nouvel describes 100 11th as “a vision machine,” with every angle and structural detail designed to create visual excitement. Approximately 1,650 different windowpanes comprise the most highly engineered and complex curtain wall ever constructed in New York City. The curtain wall of 100 11th captures daylight differently over the course of the day and the year. A surface that seems to brighten and go dark as if by computer program is, in fact,made dynamic by the movement of the Earth. These daily and seasonal changes will heighten your senses and foster a connection to nature.

The lobby is a dramatic transitional zone between the public life of the street outside and the privacy of individual homes in the tower above. Soft controlled lighting and dark monochromatic walls will create a theatrical but peaceful atmosphere that contrasts with the reflection and animation of the building's exterior. Enormous punched windows provide views of the building's tree-filled garden.

By raising the restaurant and other public functions of the ground floor to 4' above grade and sculpting a concrete base, Nouvel has created a perfect balance between pedestrian activity and the lively atmosphere of interiors. Views from the sidewalk of the restaurant animate the street and further catalyze the neighborhood's ongoing transformation located to allow for a broad variety of furniture configurations that take full advantage of the light and views.

The building's pool is designed so that residents may swim comfortably indoors or outdoors, depending upon the weather. A portion of the pool is sheltered within the building's structure, while the balance of its length extends into a landscaped outdoor space. A glass partition has been customized to enclose the indoor portion of the pool during winter months or inclement weather, so that the indoor portion remains fully operative and warm at all times.

Within a framework of glass, steel, and concrete, a six-story vertical garden blooms. From planting boxes built into the structure, trees soar upward and plants cascade down the walls, lending their scent to the atmosphere.

IAC/ InterActiveCorp

This $62 million, 10-story office building in Manhattan’s Chelsea District will serve as the East Coast headquarters of IAC/ InterActiveCorp, a prominent multi-media firm. Designed by renowned Architect Frank Ghery, the building is located between 18th and 19th Streets, across from the Chelsea Pier in Manhattan.

The gross area of the building is 550,000 square feet which includes retail space in the lower floors and typical office space above the 7th floor. The building is reminiscent of the boat sails on the adjacent Hudson River. The billowing exterior curtain wall was sculpted with a glass-façade to produce dramatic angles and spectacular views for the interior office spaces. DeSimone Consulting Engineers of New York City designed a gravity defying concrete frame with a typical 12-inch flat-plate concrete floor with spans up to 35 feet.

To accommodate this untraditional architectural design; the structural engineering office of Only two columns are truly vertical. All other columns have some degree of inclination—up to 25 degrees from vertical. The reinforced concrete shear walls in the core counteract the twisting effect of the columns to stabilize the structure. The floor slabs also include numerous openings which offer interior views of the building.

IAC is an electronic and new-media conglomerate that includes the Home Shopping Network and more than 60 Web-oriented brands, such as Ticketmaster, Expedia, Lending Tree, Citysearch, and The new IAC Building’s dynamic form reflects the aggregation of these diversified brands under one roof.

The Iac building also utilizes the most advanced technological amenities, including the world's largest high resolution video wall, ubiquitous WI-FI access and modular meeting spaces equipped with the high definition conferencing and customized internet access equipment.

STUDIOS Architecture’s interior design makes clever use of customized, 120-degree workstations that stretch out across the irregular floor plates, folding into the unusual spaces created by the building’s fluctuating envelope. Contrasting the ethereal palette of the curtain wall, STUDIOS punctuated the muted interior spaces with incidents of color, developing an eclectic aesthetic to suit the client.IAC is among a number of forces stoking the revitalization of the West Chelsea neighborhood. Opening up to its new neighbors, the ground floor of the IAC is a “living room” space for the community.

Galleries and nonprofit organizations host events in the lobby, which boasts one of the world’s largest HD-quality rear projection screens. Gehry may not have stamped his long-awaited signature onto the New York skyline, yet with IAC he has created a building that brings identity to a neighborhood in flux and to a corporation whose distinct entities can now function as a more effective conglomerate.


Finally the last stop. I am getting really tired of this expedition. I feel a little melancholic, possibly because I have worked non stop for more than 36 hours featuring these extraordinary architectural  marvels and the magic of this tour has soon come close to its end. I need to get re -freshened with something new, something different, something that still will surprise me, something that is already functioning and alive.

It's already 10 o clock at night. Avi Oster is smiling, for some reason he knows he will provide with the surprise I need. And here it is. It's called 3W13. Wow! Looking up to a very narrow incrustation building  between two others as small, illuminated from top to bottom. " Is  there a party taking place  ? " I ask.

Oster , laughing now , explains that his building signature is directly linked to a concept called  "Mood Street ". It's basic principle consists in stimulating and elevate the senses of the individual passing by in the street, as well as of it's inhabitants.

Through a sophisticated mechanism of  led illumination in different tones, war in the summer and cold in winter time,the facade illumination changes intensity through a system of LED  lights  controlled by a monitored panel, sensitive to heat and to the presence of street  pedestrian passing by the building.

Not happy  only  with the " Mood Street " concept, Avi Oster , created for 3w13 another interesting one : The " Window into a Window" concept. Because of the residential laws of the building department windows must be enabled  to open at all times.  The 3W13 facade has two sorts of windows:  those that  will allow the building's inhabitants  to integrate perfectly with the street life through a floor to ceiling view and  smaller windows frames  designed to fit right in the middle of the glass panels as to catch the moving reality like in a picture allowing full integration when open to breath  fresh air.

Fascinated with all the interesting concepts , I realize that Cristiano Cora, the  owner of the Cristiano Cora Studio a hair salon  in the 3W13 is in front of us talking to Oster looking  attentively at my poor thirsty hair. Oster,  author of the salon design explains that since today that most beauty salons are focused only on their sevices , his  goal in this project was  to explore a new approach to  the process of a women' s transformation into the space. The challenge was to find elegant solutions through the use of  technology as a production line system and the language of minimalism, to achieve both cocooning and the incubation of the "hair form" itself.

Suggestive indirect light, the organic form, surrounding acoustics and the unlimited interactions of the structural elements of the space transform users to a dimension of infinite lightness of being.

I am not listening anymore. I am stopping right there. Gotham , it's  lightness of being and  it's new transformation into the  space what at the moment I want to focus  on while I get my hair scalp massaged from the past.

Joelle's Tips:

The buildings:

New Academic Building for The Cooper Union

Design : 2004/2006

Costruction : 2006/2009

Arquitect:Tom Mayne of Morphosis

Type: Academic

Website: New Academic Building for The Cooper Union | Morphopedia | Morphosis Architects

40 Bond Street

Designer:  Jaques Herzok and Pierre de Meuron of Basel


Type: Residencial and Lifestyle Management

Website: 40 Bond Street

100 / 11 Avenue  'Vision Machine'

Designer: Jean Nouvel

Construction: 2206/2009

Type: Residencial Commrcial

Website: 100/11 Avenue ' Vision Machine'


Designer: Avi Oster

Construction:2006 /

Type: Residential Commercial

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