Month: December 2015

2015 Urban Morphology Roundup

Thank you readers for your continued interest in our blog throughout 2015. Gordon’s Urban Morphology has grown substantially in readership over our prior year as we continue to highlight subjects in New York’s built environment which have galvanized The City in one way or another.

Continuing the tradition from last year, here is our Round-Up of our most popular posts based on user clicks:

 

VISUALHOUSE NEW YORK 2030

VISUALHOUSE NEW YORK 2030

Our most popular post of 2015: Readers imaginations soared to the heights of the Supertall Skyscrapers in Imagination City


Cantilevered Condo

Our most controversial post which touched on the provocative positions which Architecture can take:  The F#ck You Building on The Fringes of Delancey


Essex_Main

The blandness of the Essex Crossing Development, sold to the public as a development which was once much more attractive: A Bait and Switch in The Lower East Side


Fountain View 2 WTC

The redesign of Two World Trade Center, and the impressions this change left us had us lament in Hunchback of The Trade


Nordstrom Spire

And New York’s next great Supertall had its top lopped off in The Central Park Spire, Revisited


Two Tenements Down_2

While our most poignant post revisited a piece of Tenement history, befallen by the wrecking ball in Two Tenements, Down


 So, there you have 2015’s top posts. Thanks again for your readership and stay tuned for 2016 where we’ll continue to strive to bring fresh perspectives on our Changing City. Happy New Year from Gordon’s Urban Morphology.

The Nightmare at Christmas

mark-foster-gage-architects-41-west-57th-street-ornate-sculptural-new-york-tower-designboom-05

(A Nightmare on West 57th Street. Image by Mark Foster Gage Architects. 2015)

Hopefully part satire, and most likely a commentary on the gaudiness of the Billionaire’s row towers sprouting up along Central Park South; this image of a Theoretical Tower on West 57th Street has grabbed the attention of New Yorkers. Mainly because it sows seeds of confusion amongst the population. What IS this giant decorative monolith?

“Is this really getting built”

“Gotham on steroids”

“New York’s largest Christmas Ornament”

The rendering, understandably, can be taken in the lighter context as a theoretical work of urban critique. The pastiche is completely over the top and unnecessary from an architectural standpoint. Perhaps it is the perfect counterpoint to the banal glass boxes rising all across the City. In this respect, this Modern Gothic is a welcome relief, purely as an image, or as a historio-futuristic reference.

mark-foster-gage-architects-41-west-57th-street-ornate-sculptural-new-york-tower-designboom-03

(The Nightmare Tower, Perched over Central Park. 2015)

As a real building though, and as a building which should be taken seriously; This mismatch of scale and styles is one for the paperbacks. The Theoretical Nightmare Tower to forget, at the end of 2015.

More on the provocative tower proposal can be found here:

Mark Foster Gage takes architecture to new heights, from Arch Daily

Elaborate Gargoyle Skyscraper, from Dezeen

The Anonymous Building

2-North-6th-Place

(The Anonymous Building, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Rendering via J&A Concrete. 2015)

The Anonymous Building rises on the Brooklyn waterfront. Modernization and Development with no context to Place. New York, New York. Anywhere, USA.

The Gentrification movement has had its grip on large swaths of The City, most notably now, in Williamsburg, where local offender “The Egde” condominium continues to sprout glass boxes without a connection to surroundings. Only views to the outside skyline can be had for a price of admission, and a token concession of affordable units allocated to those lucky enough to win the lottery.

The Anonymous Building has crept into our public consciousness as an Architecture which lacks any clear distinction, or personality; In many respects, an architecture of reluctance. Though a lack of assertion is not always a bad thing. There are countless ways a responsible “background” building can stand its ground as a contributor to its surroundings, usually with thought and connectivity to landscape.

The Anonymous Building, in its desire to be nothing in particular, has become an agent of compromise in our expanding New York. Sheer scale and demand have outpaced the ability (or desire) for meaningful Design to adapt to our rapidly changing Urban Context. So much so, that the solution has become an Architecture that disappears from memory. The Anonymous Building, Anywhere, USA.

More info on The Anonymous Building can be found HERE:

Third Edge Tower, Now Rising. From Curbed

40 Story, 554 Residential Unit Tower Rising. From YIMBY

 

Chopping Block : The Provident Loan Building (Updated)

Gordon's Urban Morphology

provident-rendering-2

(The Provident Loan Building, as it may be in the future, Houston and Essex Streets, New York)

Note: This is an updated commentary to our prior post in early 2015: The Provident Loan Building, whose demise was rumored to be approaching, has been apparently saved and reincorporated into the plan for another condominium tower. This rendering, while outdated and not current, reflects the massing and relationship of the tower to the historic Provident Loan Building below. While not a blockbuster, we’re confident that a solid piece of Urban Design will evolve from this plan, since the New Designer is Rogers Partners Architects.

Satisfying, in many ways, because there is finally an interest in adapting old buildings while recognizing the potential value they may bring to both The Cityscape and development in general. Following a model of adaptation in much older cities (such as London, Paris and Rome), the project recognizes the contribution…

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