HOUSES IN THE SKY
PROJECT TYPE: RESIDENTIAL TOWER
LOCATION: BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
The residential tower as type has become an anonymous edifice of repetitious unit aggregations. This approach, although successful in creating density, produces homogeneity in both appearance and experience. Rem Koolhaas, in “Kill the Skyscraper” in Content, argues that the skyscraper, originally invented as a social condenser, has slowly devitalized social performances throughout history and ultimately lost its programmatic heterogeneity in the form of a high-rise model made up of the repetition of stacking of the ground floor. Matthew Soules, in his recent Log publication, references 432 Park Avenue as the extreme endpoint of this condition, using Rafael Vinoly’s own term “constant object” to define the building as “an object as devoid of differentiation as possible.”
The project aims to disrupt the current model by acting against anonymity, repetitiveness, and density; hoping to produce individuality between unit experiences through gradient slab morphologies and offer assets to both the city and user through the exploitation of openness. The outcome is a porous architecture that engages the interstitial spaces between units and floors as areas of social interaction, lightness, and outdoor space, producing HOUSES IN THE SKY. Every unit is paired with a “backyard” which sits on top of itself, creating an experience unlike any current condition in New York. Using a minimal surface structure, slabs are capable of cantilevering off the central core, staggering floors vertically and allowing for an interstitial area of outdoor space and vertical courtyards for the inhabitants. This gesture, coupled with the doubly twisted formal arrangement, pushes the tower further vertical and creates uniquely panoramic views of the city.
No two apartments share the same view, no two floors share the same plan, no two elevations share silhouettes. Symmetries and aggregations are used but slightly distorted, glitched, and twisted. These differences are subtle in some areas and clearly defined in others, creating multiple readings and experiences of the project.