Earlier this month, a series of cities worldwide have revealed various initiatives that would help them better understand the effects of climate change and shape a more environmentally conscious environment. From several American cities creating digital twins to help curb carbon emissions to the city of Brighton mandating bee bricks to foster biodiversity and Central Park becoming a laboratory for studying climate change adaptation in urban parks, cities take on a multidisciplinary and multi-scalar approach to environmental issues.
Central Park: The Latest Architecture and News
As temperatures rise across the globe with no sign of slowing down, the parks of the future will be subjected to droughts, flooding, punishing heat, and more abundant snowfall as warmer air is capable of holding more moisture than colder air. (It’s often said the world of the future will be wetter and wilder for that exact reason.)
So how can urban parks harden themselves for the coming decades? The Central Park Conservancy, the Yale School of the Environment, and the Natural Areas Conservancy have teamed up to turn New York City’s most iconic park into a hub for studying climate change adaptation and potential mitigation strategies. The Central Park Climate Lab was announced on January 12 by the conservancy, and the insights gleaned from the program will expand to other parks across New York city and eventually, other parks across the country.
The Children’s Museum of Manhattan has announced that it will renovate an abandoned church off of Central Park in New York City. Designed by architecture firm FXCollaborative and design studio Local Projects, the new museum building enables CMOM to meet increased demand for its program and resources, and marks CMOM’s first expansion in over 40 years. The project aims to engage and inspire New York City’s youngest citizens.
Centered over Central Park in Midtown Manhattan, 111 West 57th Street, the second tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere has topped out at 1,428 feet. Designed by SHoP Architects with interior architecture by Studio Sofield, the tower is considered the most slender skyscraper in the world.
The SHoP Architects-designed 111 West 57th Street has witnessed a major milestone with the topping out of its reinforced concrete superstructure, as reported by New York YIMBY. The supertall scheme, measuring 1428-feet-tall, will be the second-tallest building in New York City by roof height, and the most slender tall building in the world.
The results of the LA+ ICONCOCLAST competition have been published, asking designers to reimagine and redesign New York’s Central Park following a fictional eco-terrorist attack. In total, over 380 designers from 30 countries submitted over 190 designs, culminating in five equal winners.
Hailing from the UK, USA, China, and Australia, the winning entries ranged from "megastructures to new ecologies and radical ideas for democratizing public space.” Jury chair Richard Weller praised the winners for “how designers can move beyond the status quo of picturesque large parks and embrace the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.”
New York’s iconic Central Park was designed in 1858 by F.L Olmsted and C. Vaux, having been chosen in a competition against 32 other entries. The competition called for the design of a park including a parade ground, fountain, watchtower, skating arena, four cross streets, and room for an exhibition hall.
Of the 32 alternative entries, only one survives to this day. The sole survivor was drawn up park engineer John J. Rink. To give an indication as to how Rink’s plan would have aged in the Big Apple, NeoMam Studios and Budget Direct have published a set of visualizations derived from the design. Find out below what one of the world’s most iconic green spaces could have looked like if a 160-year-old decision had been different.
LA+ ICONOCLAST challenges designers to reimagine and redesign New York's Central Park for the 21st century following a fictional eco-terrorist attack that devastates the park. LA+ invites submissions from architects, landscape architects, planners, artists, and designers from anywhere in the world. This is an ideas competition - no professional qualifications are required to enter.
Five winners will share US $20,000 and feature publication in a special issue of LA+ Journal entitled LA+ ICONOCLAST. Ten honorable mentions receive a certificate and publication.
Lola Sheppard - architect and co-founder, Lateral Office
Geoff Manaugh - author, BLDGBLOG and “A Burglar’s Guide to the
Proposed World's Tallest Wooden Structure Would Filter Contaminated Water in New York's Central Park
Responding to the ever-growing demand for sky-high public spaces and the need for innovative environmental solutions, New York-based studio DFA has envisioned a 712-foot-tall prefabricated timber observation tower in New York’s Central Park that, if built, would become the world’s tallest timber structure.
Combining the principles of “architecture, recreation, resiliency, and tourism,” the Central Park Tower would rise out of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, the 106-acre man-made lake that encompasses one-eighth of the total park area and holds one billion gallons of contaminated water.
New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman puts forward his opinion on what should be done about the new breed of supertall residential buildings threatening to place Central Park "inside the world’s biggest chessboard". While he accepts that they may be an important factor in bringing wealth (and tax revenue) to New York, he offers some simple changes in legislation that could protect the city's famous skyline from abuse by high-power development firms. Read the full article here.
UPDATE: SHoP Architects' ultra-thin, 100-unit apartment tower has now won approval from the New York City Landmarks Commission. Once complete in 2016, the 1,350-foot structure will offer luxury apartments that peer down at the Empire State Building and rise just above the One World Trade Center’s roofline.
Renderings from the architecture firm show Manhattan's skyline will soon welcome its newest "super tall" building, a strikingly skinny residential tower rising 411 meters (1,350 feet) on a puny 13 meter (43 feet) wide site just two blocks south of Central Park.
The Excavating Wilderness: A Orienting Trajectory Across Central Park proposal by Syracuse University graduate Jeff Kamuda investigates the tensioning between natural wilderness and the built environment. With the rise of modern civilization, a fluctuating tenet between humans and nature can be observed in its reincarnation of the urban park. Situated in New York City’s Central Park, the project introduces a set of natural phenomena through a unique and atypical approach, which in turn serves to stimulate a dialogue between the individual, the park, the city, and the cosmos. Stretching a mile across Central Park from Grand Army Plaza at 59th street to the American Museum of Natural History at 77th Street, the triparted project achieves a dramatic juxtaposition of subterranean experience combined with elevated architecture. Read more after the break.