(Jenga Box, 56 Leonard Street, New York, NY. May, 2014. Photo by Greg Gordon Canaras)
The Urban Critic: Urban Morphology evolves at a continual pace and “The Image of The Tower” evolves along with it, lock step with the cultural affectations of its Time. The projection of a unique image is rising in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York. The silhouette of The Jenga Box, jagged and shifting to the observer, stands in stark contrast to the monolithic skyscrapers of the Manhattan skyline. It’s uniqueness in profile can be seen as a commentary on the traditional skyscrapers of the Past, as this building calls into question the qualities of proper Proportion and Mass; rules when traditionally executed, resulted in objects of Beauty. As a Nontraditional Tower, in an Unconventional City, The Jenga Box begs the question: Where will this object of Beauty, if the moniker of Beauty is bestowed upon it, gain credibility in its own Formal logic?
(Fragmented Realism, New York, NY. May 2014)
The answer appears to be in Fragmentation. Fragmentation in the form of the Cantilevered Tower has become a trend in The City as architects develop methods of constructing buildings over adjacent parcels of land. These cantilevers become, in essence, an Architectural tool of expression; perhaps in the appearance of The Chaotic City? This suggestion feels a bit empty though.
Fragmentation has its roots in Deconstruction and Deconstructivist theories which pervaded Architecture in the 1980’s. Fragmentation was the basis of these theories, which were further broken down into investigations of Semiotics (meaning making) and language structures. When Deconstructivist theories were applied to the rule book of building making, they sought to break down and dislocate the Form, Appearance and Structure of a building into disparate parts. It was essentially a game of Linguistics applied to Rational Science.
This new form of “Fragmented Realism” in the image of this tower, appears to be a refinement of these theories from the past. Perhaps this reasoning is justified by the sophistication of todays Cultural Consumer? This building, in essence, is being purchased as a commodity, and Fragmentation, in this case, is a reflection of its inhabitants’ desire for self-expression in the ever-changing and Chaotic City. This rationale is a bit empty, but not as much.
Shifting at the base, the building climbs in a regular manner in its middle, then bursts apart at the top. The animation suggests that this structure is a composite of many parts of the universe uniting; A compilation of disparate fragments crashing together in magical alignment. An object of creation. This building, so it seems, is not like any of the others. It teeters on the edge of the intangible; and begs another question: Is it half full or half empty? One piece pulled out and the whole thing might come tumbling down.
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