(Rendering of the F#ck You Building. New York. By ODA Architecture)
The Urban Critic: Delancey Street, in New York’s Lower East Side, has been known for its rough around the edges aesthetic, and below the radar neighborhood status for the majority of New Yorker’s. Its Far East Side location, at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge, has been kind of a no-man’s land for many decades after the demolition of multiple city blocks in the name of Urban Renewal. Of Note: These demolished city blocks are now under development as the future Essex Crossing, which we critiqued in our prior post A Bait and Switch in The Lower East Side.
Where the Essex Crossing development lacks in clarity across Delancey, this fortress of glass rising across the street (at 100 Norfolk Street) harnesses the current trend of Air Rights Transfers in New York and takes this real estate trick to a new level. By exposing all aspects of building structure and packaging it into a powerful building Form, this cantilevered condo tower takes an aggressive position of iconography in a rapidly changing Lower East Side. In a lot of respects, this position is welcome.
Oftentimes, the softer side of architectural expression takes over with the contribution of community organizations and neighborhood input. Watered down versions of friendly building forms with developer-grade facades becomes the expectation. Since this is the prevailing trend in Our Changing City, the definition of powerful architecture gets lost.
(The softer side of Architecture, across the street at Essex Crossing)
The Cantilevered building on Delancey falls into the category of a F#ck You building. It positions itself as an “edge” structure, in a fringe neighborhood; Not quite sure of itself, but taking a position by pushing boundaries. Its fragmented form, a building type we’ve highlighted before in Jenga Box Rising, bucks the notion of traditional residential architecture and elevates it into the realm of Fragmented Realism.
And while this notion of fragmentation is oftentimes disturbing to the viewer, provoking feelings of unease and imbalance; It is precisely what society needs in order to keep moving in a progressive direction. The F#ck You building is a provocation, an Urban Experiment. It questions the everyday challenges of living in a complex and mutable city, and solidifies these challenges into a three dimensional Urban Form, soon to rise on the fringes of Delancey.