Never Built New York: Projects From Gaudí, Gehry and Wright that Didn’t Make it in Manhattan

Sketches by Gaudí on the left, with Joan Matamala’s drawing of the building on the right. Image Courtesy of 6sqft

Ever since its unprecedented skyward growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Manhattan has been an icon of construction all over the world, with recent estimates concluding that the island contains some 47,000 buildings. However, as with all construction, completed projects are just the tip of the architectural iceberg; Manhattan is also the home of many thousands of unloved, incomplete, and downright impossible proposals that never made it in the Apple.

Of course, the challenges of New York are indiscriminate, and even world-renowned architects often have difficulties building in the city. After the break, we take a look at just three of these proposals, by Antoni Gaudí, Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry, courtesy of 6sqft.

Perkins+Will’s “Sleek” Manhattan Tower to Feature Five Open-Air Gardens

© Perkins+Will / MIR

Conceptual plans of Perkins+Will’s East 37th Street Residential Tower in New York City have been unveiled. Debuted in Cannes, France, during MIPIM, where the high-rise received a “Future Projects Award,” the 700-foot-tall tower boasts a “shimmering, angled curtain wall” organized by five clusters of shared amenities and open-air gardens.

More about the 65-story, 150,000-square-foot condominium tower, after the break. 

6 Takeaways From NYMag’s Article On Calatrava’s $4 Billion WTC Station

© Bedel Saget/The Times

Ask any person involved in the construction of Santiago Calatrava‘s World Trade Center Transportation Hub, and they will probably admit that the world’s most expensive train station has not been a PR success. In fact things have gotten so bad that a recent article by Andrew Rice for New York Magazine describes the gradual opening of the building later this year as coming “at long last and great cost, to both the government and his reputation,” adding that “a decade ago, Calatrava would have made any short list of the world’s most esteemed architects. Today, many within the profession are aghast at what they see as his irresponsibility.”

But, unlike much of the press coverage that has greeted Calatrava in recent years, the New York Magazine article is much more forgiving, taking the time to investigate the twists and turns of the project’s controversial 12-year history and offering the architect the opportunity to give his side of the story. Read on after the break for a breakdown of six takeaways from the article.

North America’s Radiant City: Le Corbusier’s Impact on New York

Co-op City. Image © Flickr CC user Runs With Scissors

Despite his status, never had the opportunity to build in New York – in fact he only had one chance to build in the United States at all, completing Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts in Cambridge in 1963. But this doesn’t mean his influence isn’t visible all over the Big Apple. Originally published on 6sqft as “Towers in the Park: Le Corbusier’s Influence in NYC,” this article takes a look at three examples where Le Corbusier’s “Radiant City” ideals were transplanted to New York.

Even before taking his first trip to New York in 1935, Le Corbusier described the city as “utterly devoid of harmony.” After seeing it in person, his feelings didn’t soften. He wasn’t impressed by the tall towers, rather stating that they were the product of an inferiority complex, and he thought the city’s leaders were too timid to hire him. He wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times saying that “American have not attained the rank of architecture; rather, they are merely small objects such as statuettes or knick-knacks, magnified to titanic proportions.” He thought the city would benefit from buildings that “don’t try to outdo each other but are all identical.”

Animated Film Envisions BIG’s Manhattan “Dry Line”

A vision to protect post-Sandy Manhattan against future superstorms, Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) “Dry Line” seeks to form a continuous storm barrier around lower Manhattan by transforming underutilized waterfront spaces into a “protective ribbon” of public parks and amenities. Though ambitious, the project is not impossible; it was one of six winners in the US’ Rebuild by Design competition that is envisioning ways New York can protect its edge.  

Watch the film above, by Squint/Opera, to see what Manhattan could potentially look like in the future, and read more about the project here. The Dry Line is also on view at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C as part of ’s exhibition HOT TO COLD: an odyssey of architectural adaptation.

SO-IL’s Vision for a Shrink-Wrapped Manhattan

Courtesy of

Steven Holl and Vito Acconci’s Storefront for Art and Architecture has hosted its share of installations, but its newest intervention envisioned by SO-IL as part of the Blueprint exhibition is a whole new concept: covering the entire facade with shrink-wrap. The seamless outcome is deceptively simple, however, as the involved some careful calculations, a massive frame, and a dedicated team with an acute attention to detail. Read more about the project, see the finished product, and watch the process, here.

Manhattan High School / Gould Evans

© Mike Sinclair

Architects: Gould Evans
Location: 2301 Poyntz Avenue, , KS 66502, USA
Year: 2012
Photographs: Mike Sinclair, Aaron Dougherty

Work on 432 Park Avenue Ceases Briefly Due to Falling Construction Debris

© dbox for CIM Group and Macklowe Properties

As uncovered by Curbed, construction workers at Rafael Viñoly‘s 1,396 foot (426 meter) tall 432 Park Avenue were served with a full stop work order last week by the New York City Department of Buildings, after an 8 foot (2.4 meter) long section of steel pipework was dropped from a construction hoist on the building’s 81st floor.

Why Are There Still No Built Traces of New York’s Tech Industry?

837 Washington Street. ImageImage via New York YIMBY

For many architects, the chance to make an impression on the landscape of New York City is a sign of distinction, an indication that they have “made the time.” But it’s not just architects who have this desire: for decades, the city’s industrial players have also striven to leave their mark. However in this article, originally posted on New York YIMBY as “How New York City is Robbing Itself of the Tech Industry’s Built Legacy,” Stephen Smith examines where it’s all gone wrong for the city’s latest industry players.

Strolling through the streets of Manhattan’s business neighborhoods, you can pick out the strata of the city’s built commercial heritage, deposited over generations by industries long gone. From the Garment District’s heavy pyramidal avenue office towers and side street lofts, dropped by the garment industry in the 1920s, to the modernist towers like Lever House and the Seagram Building, erected on Park and Fifth Avenues during the post-war years by the country’s giant consumer goods companies, each epoch of industry left the city with a layer of commercial architecture, enduring long after the businesses were acquired and the booms turned to bust.

But 50 or 100 years into the future, when our grandchildren and great-grandchildren stroll through the neighborhoods of Midtown South that are today thick with technology and creative firms, they are not likely to find much left over from the likes of Facebook or Google. There will be no equivalent of Grand Central or Penn Station, Terminal City or the Hotel Pennsylvania, left over from the early 20th century railroad tycoons, or SoHo’s cast iron buildings, developed by speculators seeking to feed the growing textile and dry-goods trades of the late 19th century. Perhaps unique among New York’s large industries, the tech and creative tenants that have become the darlings of the current market cycle are leaving very little behind for future generations to admire.

Interior Renders of Robert AM Stern’s 520 Park Avenue, NYC’s Most Expensive Apartment Building

© 2014 Zeckendorf Development LLC via 520parkavenue.com

This news article was originally published by 6sqft.

Robert A.M. Stern‘s 520 Park Avenue has already been called “the next 15 Central Park West,” and like its Stern predecessor, 520 is an ultra-luxury development with a stately façade wrapped in stone. Set to be completed in 2016, it will rise 51 stories high, but contain just 31 units, one of which is the $130 million penthouse, the city’s most expensive apartment. And though most of the attention has been on “the greatest apartment on the Upper East Side,” the fanfare has now shifted to the first batch of interior renderings for the building.

520 Park’s full website is now live, and not surprisingly, the residences have classic layouts, impressive Central Park views, and a host of high-end amenities.

How Cutting Edge Technology Helped Recreate the Stella Tower’s Concrete Crown

Screenshot from video by JDS Development Group

In some projects, preservation isn’t just about retaining what’s there, but also about putting back an element that has been forgotten to history (not always, though). This was the case at the Stella Tower in Manhattan, where as part of the building’s recently completed condo conversion, JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group, along with architects CetraRuddy have reinstated the dramatic Art Deco crown of Ralph Walker’s 1927 design.

Why New York Shouldn’t be a City for the One Percent

View above Central Park looking south towards “Billionaire’s Row” towers, with Midtown towers in background and various Financial District and Downtown Brooklyn Towers in far background. Image Courtesy of CityRealty

In recent years, it’s been difficult to miss the spate of supertall, super-thin towers on the rise in . Everyone knows the individual projects: , One57, the Nordstrom Tower, the MoMA Tower. But, when a real estate company released renders of the New York skyline in 2018, it forced New Yorkers to consider for the first time the combined effect of all this new real estate. In this opinion article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as “On New York’s Skyscraper Boom and the Failure of Trickle-Down Urbanism,” Joshua K Leon argues that the case for a city of the one percent doesn’t stand up under scrutiny.

What would a city owned by the one-percent look like?

New renderings for CityRealty get us part way there, illustrating how Manhattan may appear in 2018. The defining feature will be a bumper crop of especially tall, slender skyscrapers piercing the skyline like postmodern boxes, odd stalagmites, and upside-down syringes. What they share in common is sheer unadulterated scale and a core clientele of uncompromising plutocrats.

Check Out These Images of New York’s Skyline in 2018

View looking south above Central Park showing “Billionaires Row” towers visible in foregorund, midtown towers in background, and various Financial District and Downtown Towers in far background. Image © CityRealty

If New Yorkers thought that construction during Michael Bloomberg’s tenure as Mayor was frantic, then what’s coming next might be quite a shock: courtesy of CityRealty, these images show the New York skyline in 2018, when many of the city’s current projects will be complete. Produced from building models by TJ Quan and Ondel Hylton as a marketing ploy for Jean Nouvel‘s which recently (finally) began construction, the images include all of Nouvel’s illustrious future neighbors: the “Billionaire’s Row” including 111 West 57th Street, 220 Central Park South, 225 West 57th Street (Nordstrom Tower) and One57; new Midtown developments such as 432 Park Avenue, 520 Park Avenue425 Park Avenue, One Vanderbilt, 610 Lexington, 15 Penn Plaza, and the Hudson Yards towers; and even the latest financial district towers, 1WTC, 30 Park Place, 125 Greenwich, and 225 Cherry Street.

Video: Robert A.M. Stern on Designing Background Buildings and The Limestone Jesus

“We have lots of silly buildings being built, in my opinion. The buildings should not look like Lady Gaga,” stated Robert A.M. Stern in the latest installment by the Louisiana Channel.

Fifteen Central Park West, what many know to be the “world’s most powerful address,” was designed by Stern with one intention: to fill in the wall of Central Park West with a single, well articulated “background building” rather than a “twisting and turning isolated” structure. As Stern describes in the video above, the building, known as the “ Jesus,” is praised in the real estate world for it’s high-priced apartments.

“Almost every building that is new has a built-in history. We are architects that build on the shoulders of the past. I think is is much more exciting to enter into a dialogue with the past and also to take things from the past and restudy them, their theme and variation. Architecture is made up of many languages in my view and if we have a modern language that is evolved but it doesn’t mean that the other languages can’t also continue to be spoken.”

The High Line’s Final Chapter is Complete; But Don’t Close the Book Just Yet

View looking west along one of the Rail Track Walks. Image © Iwan Baan, 2014 (Section 3)

With the opening of the final section of New York’s High Line last month, the city can finally take stock on an urban transformation that took a decade and a half from idea to reality - and which in the five years since the first section opened has become one of the great phenomena of 21st century urban planning, inspiring copycat proposals in cities around the globe. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as “The High Line’s Last Section Plays Up Its Rugged Past,” Anthony Paletta reviews the new final piece to the puzzle, and examines what this landmark project has meant for Manhattan’s West Side.

The promise of any urban railroad, however dark or congested its start, is the eventual release onto the open frontier, the prospect that those buried tracks could, in time, take you anywhere. For those of us whose only timetable is our walking pace, this is the experience of the newly opened, final phase of the High Line. The park, after snaking in its two initial stages through some 20 dense blocks of Manhattan, widens into a broad promenade that terminates in an epic vista of the Hudson. It’s a grand coda and a satisfying finish to one of the most ambitious park designs in recent memory.

Jean Nouvel’s Tower Verre Finally Ready to Break Ground

©

Jean Nouvel‘s long-awaited 53 West 53rd Street, also known as the Tower Verre or the MoMA Tower, may finally be ready to move ahead with construction after the project’s developer Hines purchased $85.3 million worth of air rights from its neighbors MoMA and the St Thomas Episcopal Church and arranged the $860 million construction loan required for the project.

Originally proposed in 2007, the design has been plagued by problems, including significant delays due to the financial crisis and a difficult approval process which resulted in the building’s height being slashed from 1,250 feet to its current planned height of 1,050 feet. However, according to a statement from Hines groundbreaking on the project is now “imminent.”

High-Speed “Skyway” Aims to Shorten Commutes from Brooklyn to Manhattan

© via New York Daily News

New York real estate executive Daniel Levy of CityRealty has unveiled a proposal to connect Brooklyn’s waterfront to Manhattan with a $75 million “East River Skyway.” According to Levy, the high-speed gondola could shorten commutes to just four minutes and move more than 5,000 people per hour, while relieving congestion on ferries, subways and bridges. “[The Skyway] would be a relatively inexpensive and quickly deployable solution,” said Levy. “It is essential to adapt ’s transportation system to serve residents in these booming areas.” Levy will present the project in an effort to harness support at the Brooklyn real estate summit on Tuesday.

What Happened to Manhattan’s Lowline Project?

Courtesy of James Ramsey and

In 2011, the Tribeca-based design duo of James Ramsey and Dan Barasch proposed a radical project to transform an abandoned subterranean trolley terminal in Manhattan‘s Lower East Side into an underground park filled with natural light and vegetation, eventually proving their design with a full size mock-up of their design for light-capturing fiber-optic tubes. Since then, they haven’t had nearly the same level of publicity – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still working. This article by The Architects’ Newspaper catches up with Ramsey and Barasch as they attempt to make their $50 million project a reality by 2018. Read the full article here.