Olympic Bird's Nest architects design NY high-rise

15th September 2008, Comments 0 comments

A translucent glass skyscraper designed by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron to look like houses stacked in the sky will reinvent New York’s urban landscape.

15 September 2008

NEW YORK -- The Swiss architects of the iconic Bird's Nest stadium at the Beijing Olympics are bringing their innovative style to New York City with a translucent glass skyscraper designed to look like houses stacked in the sky.

Architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron's USD 650 million (CHF 1,033 million), 57-story condominium featuring dramatic, cantilevered terraces is slated to begin going up in mid-October in lower Manhattan.

It will be their first high-rise commission anywhere in the world. The design is scheduled to be unveiled Monday.

The architects liken their design to "houses stacked in the sky," with each level staggered progressively with different-sized boxes arranged at varying angles to create unique floor plans for each of the 145 apartments.

They said the tower reinvents the classic American skyscraper as "a lacy, pixilated Rubik's Cube". Its concealed framing results in a nearly all-glass structure with cityscape views from virtually every angle.

Herzog said the firm uses "well-known forms and materials in a new way so that they become alive again," just like Andy Warhol "used common pop images to say something new".

The building will feature a massive stainless steel sculpture by Anish Kapoor that will be "playfully squished" into the tower's base as homage to the city's culture, said developer Izak Senbahar of Alexico Group.

It will be the first permanent public artwork in New York City for Kapoor, best known for his enigmatic sculptural forms including "Sky Mirror," a temporary installation at Rockefeller Centre, and "Cloud Gate" in Chicago's Millennium Park.

Senbahar said he commissioned Kapoor to create the balloon-shaped form as a permanent site-specific work because "great art and architecture are essential parts of everyday life."

The sculpture also articulates the architects' vision of blending the indoors and outdoors. The building will have an expansive 5.4-metre-high black granite lobby, a 23-metre pool, outdoor sun deck, library lounge, screening room and fitness centre.

The apartments will be offered for USD 3.5 million to USD 33 million. The tower is slated to open in 2010.

Herzog & de Meuron is currently redesigning the Tate Modern in London. The twisted silver beams of its USD 450 million Bird's Nest stadium became one of the most enduring images of the Olympics.

[AP / Expatica]

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