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Medal Winner 2000
SOM Foundation UK Award

A Skyscraper in New York

Part 1 Project 2000
Jordi Pages-Ramon
Architectural Association London | UK
A Skyscraper in New York.

A double series of sensitive structural fibres receive and integrate diverse layers of programmatic and site-specific information through a process of material proliferation, collaboration, and mutual accommodation, to build up a porous skyscraper typology into the United Nations Headquarters (NYC).

Samples abstracted from Gaudi structural explorations and principles of proliferation from the structural behavior of bones are studied in order to generate a set of rules to create a system of organization, able to populate the sky and to accommodate programmes in that process.

The distribution of hotel components responds to the emergent structural conditions by stratifying the organization in three different longitudinal promenades (ground, sky and mid-promenade), where public facilities are located (lounges, auditoria, cinemas, restaurants), and from where other hotel programmes (unit rooms, shared facilities, minor gardens) are accessed.

A set of views, noise, accessibility and sun-light exposure diagrams inform progressively the structure and establish different mixtures of proximity and access to commodities within the hotel infrastructure, integrating systematically a multiplicity of completely disparate functions in a single urban body.

(Slides are shown in sequence from process research to minor scale building detail.)

Jordi Pages-Ramon

'To ride the anxiety of control in the process of making by delaying, intensifying and directing the performance of its causes: this would seem to be one of the imperatives of contemporary architecture. It matters little whether the conflicts, contradictions and torments that create anxiety are reconciled. What matters is how they are specifically absorbed into a comprehensive machine capable of integrating those processes as pure difference and of turning them into the technical life of the project.'

The expressiveness of Jordi Pages' work is based on the intensive exploration of a series of modes of mediation of the multiple exchanges of information between functional determination and material organisation. Its intelligence relies on the precision in the systematisation of these modes. Its sensitivity is constructed in the way these modes are hierarchically and temporally integrated. Its relevance is supported in the diffuse yet rigorous control of the material effects of these mediations. Its vigour is evidence of the balance between austerity and creativity to exploit the potentials emergent from highly constrained conditions.

Along the lines of its artificial duration, this project for a skyscraper in Manhattan has produced a rich artificial life for itself. The persistent enigma of this work -a kind of peculiarly precise aura- is merely the extension of the potentials that are kept alive along the process and across the materials, and that still perform in our minds.

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