Xiaodong Luo

Complex Projects

Earth-scraper - beyond delirious density

The “air rights” mechanism in Midtown New York gives full freedom for “needle” towers to appear by allowing investors to buy undeveloped height from neighbouring plots. However, those buildings that have sold their “air rights” become caged. This project tests this scenario, in which the plot that sold its “air rights” can only go deeper down into the earth to gain more space. The site is located in the Broadway theatre district, where many of the performance space need to be updated and expanded. The main challenge is how to make the journey downwards into the earth as inviting as going up to the sky for New Yorkers. On a larger scale, this project is a critique of New York’s verticality: a city where delirious density is appreciated, but where the other dimension of the territory, underground space, is forgotten.

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