AMLGM Proposes to Top New York Transportation Hubs with Sprawling Tower

Chad Kellogg and Matt Bowles of AMLGM have envisioned a new residential tower typology for New York that can connect and transform unused space surrounding various transportation hubs into a dense, mixed-use housing tower.

The proposal, dubbed Urban Alloy, which won first in Metropolis’ Living Cities Residential Tower Competition and received honorable mention in Evolo Skyscrapers 2014, is capable of responding to a number of unique spacial and environmental situations, providing a new way for the city to grow "organically" and provide adequate housing for the expanding population.

Read on for the architect's description...

Neighborhood Map. Image © AMLGM

From the architects: The most dynamic cities of the 21st century, such as New York, are anthropomorphic alloys that act as engines for innovation and social cohesion. These cities, with their continually evolving demographics, will forge the dynamic societies of the future. With the rapid rise of near instantaneous communication, a city’s’ livability has gained prominence as an attractor for top minds. In order to secure its future as the leading global center, New York needs to continue to grow intelligently. Thus, we have envisioned an opportunity to draw the energy of Manhattan out into the four other boroughs without disrupting existing land use.

Urban Alloy proposes a residential typology rooted in the remnant spaces surrounding the intersection of transportation infrastructure, such as elevated train lines and freeway interchanges. With the proposed design and specified materials, we aim to optimize a heterogeneous and highly linked set of living environments capturing the air rights above these systems.

Section. Image © AMLGM

Living Concept

The combination of escalating land prices and the acceleration of city migration have made urban renewal based modes of densification unfit for the contemporary city. Urban Alloy is the symbiotic re-purposing of the air rights above transportation corridors in New York. Urbanist’s have long touted the benefits of greater housing density near public transportation hubs - Urban Alloy proposes the advancement of this idea by locating the system directly on the intersections between surface and elevated train lines.

We have chosen the intersection of the LIRR and the 7 train as a test case. The paradigm of one size fits all is obsolete. Urban citizens want diverse living situations where they can work, play, eat and rest within a pedestrian zone. As technology creates the market desire and a conditioning for personalization, society is more willing to pay a premium for spaces that are tailored to their particular needs. 

Program Diagram. Image © AMLGM

Skin Concept

The wide range of programmatic options inspired a blend of floor plate geometries that transition from cylindrical to triangular from the base to the top of each tower. This blend, along with constraints instilled from the site, generates a complex geometry that requires a new facade optimization paradigm. 

A composite or alloy of multiple flexible systems is required to optimize a skin in which every point has a unique environmental exposure. The system is deployed on a grid that follows the geometric directionality of the surface. 

Skin Diagram. Image © AMLGM

At each intersection of the grid, the normal of the surface is analyzed against its optimal solar shading and daylight transmitting requirements. An authored algorithm then generates vertical and horizontal fin profiles that blend with the profiles at adjacent nodes. The result is an optimized system of decorative metal fins that are unique to each specific solar orientation. 

Based upon the tenants of current solar facade design, the algorithm utilizes deep horizontal fins along southern exposure, and deeper vertical fins along east and west facing surfaces. This system generates specific fin depth and orientation for every point on the surface.

Atrium. Image © AMLGM

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Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "AMLGM Proposes to Top New York Transportation Hubs with Sprawling Tower" 17 Apr 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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