Some thoughts on the soldered model after Tuesday:
The new towers of Billionaire’s Row are the product of financial calculations. Their form is the evidence of rationalist thought processes that are concerned with core efficiencies and net floor areas: the building as a product. When we speak of the ‘anti-tower’ what does it react against? It exists in an alien context; the Projects of East Harlem are transposed to a luxury proposition, becoming a kind of architectural exquisite corpse. It also challenges quantitative design practices through the introduction of intuitive processes with their own inherently oppositional formalist outcomes. Where the tower is rational, the anti-tower is irrational. Where the tower is designed around the grid, the anti-tower is designed between the grid. Where the tower observes the (artificial) nature of Central Park, the anti-tower subsumes the urbanity of the Midtown block with(?_). Where the tower is materially decadent, the anti-tower is materially impoverished and must be polished before it is accepted by its new context.
The soldered model embodies some of these ideas. I wouldn’t claim it has a visual analogue in East Harlem beyond the prevalence of raw, unfinished steel, but it is a useful touchstone for thinking about these ideas regarding the anti-tower. Neither do I intend it to act as a blueprint for a proposal, but may rather form the basis of a particular moment or space within a larger building, hybridising the rational with the irrational.
Some thoughts on programme (in no particular order or hierarchy and any potential combination):
a burrito restaurant on the 90th floor (East Harlem is aka “Spanish Harlem” to locals)
a valet (the semi-circular driveway to the rear of the Park Lane Hotel was one of the reasons listed for it’s listing in the Preservation Report)
social housing provision
I am increasingly drawn to the proposal of a new hotel. The current Park Lane Hotel is making money, enough money to service the debt taken on by Witkoff in purchasing the building as explained in the interview with a New York business journal (link somewhere in this post)…
Hotel Theresa, George & Edward Blum (1912-13): the “Waldorf of Harlem”. Love the way the building takes the window pattern of Harlem and basically does exactly what I’d like to do; breaking up and embellishing the elevation. Blum used terracotta to create their ornamentation, but what could be done with limestone in the context of Midtown? Adding to the draft of the uncanny drawing I posted on Tuesday: