MAD Architects has embarked on a visioning exercise for a New York City development that they say breaks the mold of typical Manhattan towers. The studio, led by Ma Yansong, has released renderings of a 232-metre-tall curtain-walled proposal that counters the "pinnacles of conventional towers that typically express very distinct, imposing outlines."
Crafted in response to a design brief from developer Caerus Group, the East 34th concept is wrapped in a deep-coloured glass facade that morphs into a transparent narrow crown blending into the sky. Located near the Empire State Building, MAD likens their plan to a seed sprouting above the island's street grid, embracing an organic form as it undulates skywards.
The studio says its design rationale stands in contrast to traditional buildings that have evinced power and capital. By dismissing the conventional stacked floor plates of a "bygone industrial era that has come to characterize the city's horizon," the East 34th vision attempts to soften the skyline and foster communication between New York's modernist cityscape and nature.
A commercial podium filled with retail and public amenities would anchor the building to the street. A multi-storey atrium accented by a large green wall is interposed with double-height communal spaces that offer opportunities for resident interaction.
A model of the concept is now on display in 'MAD X', a year-long exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
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