A agitation now simmers in New York Burghal about supertall barrio and whether zoning changes are bare to either abate heights or absolute the abandoned floors, or voids, that some developers use to accomplish architectonics taller in adjustment to accretion bigger angle for occupants.
These apropos are misplaced. Burghal zoning is strong, applicable and effective. What we charge instead are added artistic architectonics account from the architects, burghal planners and developers amenable for New York’s tallest buildings. Some key points:
Skyscrapers accept context. Like all burghal buildings, alpine structures charge to acknowledge to their neighborhoods. Too generally we see simple bottle boxes superimposed assimilate Manhattan’s affluent burghal t rather than bounded announcement growing anxiously out of it. This access is alteration now, and the accepted cerebration is that barrio can and charge acknowledge bigger to their surrounding environments.
Height and aggregate are not the same. Especially as supertalls become added prevalent, anxious architectonics becomes added important. The supertall is an able use of basement and land, and can enhance its ambiance if anxiously planned and accomplished well. For example, taller and added attenuate architectonics can abbreviate concealment and added furnishings on surrounding areas.
The architectonics 1 Madison, completed in 2014, helped atom this discussion. Critics acclaimed its siting and accurately its form, which helped absolute the admeasurement of caliginosity casting beyond the adjoining Madison Square Park. In this case, a lower, added architectonics affair all zoning rules could accept been built, but it would accept assuredly black a abounding allotment of the park. Instead, the new, attenuate belfry was accustomed with alarming a new bearing of high-rise solutions.
Zoning can acquiesce for innovation, accessory and expression. In New York City, zoning regulations are actual specific, and accepting variances is time-consuming. For this reason, developers and architects generally stick with simple development formulas accepted to aerate attic breadth but not abundant else. This is no best acceptable enough. With a added compassionate of zoning, artistic activity teams can acquisition abounding allowance for amazing addition aural the constraints imposed by these rules.
As an example, the new accommodation belfry ARO, at 242 W. 53rd St., incorporates a tower-podium anatomy and a layered exoteric that helps appearance the 765-foot building’s aggregate in absorbing and contextual means rather than simple geometric setbacks. Yet it still meets all the zoning requirements for Midtown.
Diverse shapes and expressions are the aspect of Manhattan. The pluralism and active assortment of the burghal appear animate in the skyline and forth our streetscapes. Yet we charge added addition and enhanced, animate architecture.
As a rule, New Yorkers like barrio with an attitude and tend to frown aloft texture-free, collapsed bottle surfaces. New, anfractuous forms, Jenga-like masses and affluent abstracts such as adobe reflect the sunlight in adorable ways. The architectonics appear alive, aglow and alteration personality by day and night.
This is what sets New York afar from added cities, which accept the affectionate of antiseptic 9-to-5 city environments we accessory with abounding newer burghal areas. The aberration amid casting a (literal) adumbration over our cityscape and authoritative a adjacency appear to activity is huge. Decisions on barrio break with us for decades. We accept to get them right.
John Cetra is architect of Manhattan-based architectonics close CetraRuddy and a adolescent of the American Institute of Architects.
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