New York Magazine has remodeled itself into the client that most architects dream of: the one that doesn't pose any restrictions, but gives the designer freedom to do whatever they'd like to.
Well, that's almost true: they invited four architects to make plans for an empty lot in downtown New York. The rules were simple, and I quote "We required only that the result include a residential component and that it more or less meet zoning requirements."
It's nice to see the different approaches the invited architects took. Flank, for instance, came up with a concept to make affordable, middle class housing in this area - a type of dwellings that is not that well represented in the urban tissue of the area. Flank came up with a design, in which a corporate logo is integrated into the facade of the building. But it's not just a building with a billboard on the side of it - the billboard is fragmented to ensure that it's highly visible from a little distance, without interfering with the quality of the appartment as such.
But, if I were to decide which design should be built (if any of it would actually be built in the future), I'd definitely go with the proposal of Work AC, called The Locavore Fantasia. They went for a snazzy appartment building, with anurban farm on top. The whole is stretched to get a potential for maximizing farmland in the city - creating shorter lines of transportation, closer contact with nature, and all the other advantages of urban agriculture. The building is devised to have different crops on each floor. It might not only be urban agriculture, the building would also have potential for more recreational used green sites, such as golf courses, for instance. Also, art in the public realm is included in the proposal: the columns supporting the building (and leaning it to face towards the sun) are commisioned by artists. In the rather cute, Sim City-styled presentation drawing, they used a Brancusi to support the entire building...