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Herzog & de Meuron’s Jenga Tower, New york

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The high-rise tower on 56 Leonard Street is not a typical residential tower. Each unit, despite its size, has a character that is individual and personal, perhaps even intimate.

The project is conceived as a stack of individual rooms, where each room is unique and identifiable within the overall stack. A careful investigation of local construction methods revealed the possibility of shifting and varying floor-slabs to create corners, cantilevers and balconies – all welcome strategies for providing individual and different conditions in each apartment. At the base of the tower, the stack reacts to the scale and specific local conditions on the street, while the top staggers and shifts to engage with the sky. In-between, the staggering and variation in the middle-levels is more controlled and subtle, like in a column shaft.

To break-up the tendency towards repetition and anonymity in high-rise buildings, 56 Leonard Street was developed from the inside out. The project began with individual rooms, treating them as “blocks of glass” grouped together on a floor-by-floor basis. These blocks come together to directly inform the volume and to shape the outside of the tower.

Aggregated together, these houses-in-the-sky, form a cohesive stack, a vertical neighbourhood, with its distinctive mix of proximity and privacy in equal measure.

Source: World Architecture News.com

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