Central Park (New York City)
Designing a skyscraper in New York is an experience unlike building in nearly any other city in the world. The combination of architectural history, coupled with the sheer volume of foot traffic walking past (and flying above) buildings in the Big Apple, makes their presence a vital part of the city's identity. So when the Chicago-based architectural firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill was tapped to design the Central Park Tower, it recognized the sky-high expectations. Slated to be completed in 2020, Central Park Tower will be a shocking 1,549 feet tall, making it the second-tallest skyscraper in the United States and the Western Hemisphere (behind One World Trade Center), the 15th-tallest building in the world, and the tallest residential building in the world. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, however, is no stranger to working at these heights. The firm is responsible for extending the skyline in the Middle East with such structures as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia. Yet, unlike those aforementioned locations, no matter the height, building in New York brings on a whole new host of challenges. “New York is one of the most iconic cities in the world,” says Gordon Gill, a founding member of the firm. “And much of this comes from its beautiful architecture. Understanding that and trying to design a building that will retain its own stature within that context has been a great opportunity. Contributing to New York’s skyline at that scale and becoming part of that legacy is a defining moment for any architect. That doesn’t happen every day." The structure consists of 179 luxury residences, while at the base, Nordstrom's will house its seven-floor flagship store. The location, on 57th Street between Columbus Circle and the Plaza District, means occupants will have uninhibited views of Central Park to the north. In the past, travelers arrived to New York (by car and air) would be greeted by dominating structures such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. Now we can add Central Park Tower to that exclusive list of buildings that stand out upon first experience.
Paris is a city steeped in classical architecture. Yet that won't be the case when MAD Architects' UNIC building is completed in 2020. Led by the Chinese-born virtuoso Ma Yansong, the residential structure will be located within the verdant setting of Martin Luther King Park. Playing off this theme, Yansong's undulating design is meant to blur the line between building and nature. The 13-story building is tall enough so that at the top floors, homeowners will have clear views of the Eiffel Tower (located to the southwest of the new residential building). Attached to MAD Architects' sleek structure will be an adjacent public housing project, as well as direct access to major metro and bus stops. While this is the Chinese firm's first residential project in Europe, we have a strong feeling it won't be the last.
Jeanne Gang, founder and leader of Studio Gang, is a once-in-a-generation-caliber architect whose designs bring natural wonder to the urban landscape. And her forthcoming series of skyscrapers proves, once more, her ability to add a defining characteristic to any skyline. Vista Tower, as the project is called, will be located along the Chicago River and in close proximity to the oft-traveled Lake Shore Drive, one of the main urban axes of the city.The lower portion of the building will house a hotel, while floors 13–93 will be all residential. Yet, much like Gang's other lauded designs, Vista was not just created for those who will be living within its walls, but also for the public walking past it each day. "The way the building steps in and out gives a sense of movement to passersby as light plays across the building throughout the day," says Juliane Wolf, Partner and Design Principal at Studio Gang. “The gradient of high-performance glass on the façade enhances the stepped façade, as it gets gradually lighter as the frustum fans out.” In other words, those who pass by will not only take notice, but likely enjoy the city's latest skyscraper.