Architecture is a fascinating subject, and for architectural nerds, NYC is a fabulous place to live. The brightest minds of our generation decided to liven up our concrete jungle by designing and building everlasting monoliths to human creativity and accomplishment – and even though we’re still advocating for caution in these pandemic times, we though we’d put together our favorite lists of buildings that just architecturally and aesthetically soothe our souls. We invite you to take in some remarkable NYC architecture.
We’ll start off with the Oculus. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, a Spanish architect, another name for it is the World Trade Center Transportation Center. Looking like something out of a Jetsons episode, its stark white and futuristic appearance hosts a 12-line subway station as well as a Path station, both underground. It also has a shopping mall, with everything from Cole Haan to Pret a Manger. The cost of erecting such a structure? An eye-watering $4 billion dollars.
If you not only like your building artistic but also to hold actual American art, we suggest the Whitney Museum of American Art. Etching the Manhattan skyline with an Escheresque jagged design, this creation of steel, glass and mirrors can be a disconcerting sight for those used to homogenously constructed buildings. However, inside, it is sleek, inviting, and scintillating – an ode to great American art and the evolution of our sensibilities as a society.
If you’ve ever wandered over to Thomas Street, you might have seen a windowless gray skyscraper known as the AT&T Long Lines Building. Designed by John Carl Warnecke in 1974 as a mysterious “skyscraper to be inhabited by machines,” it’s a data complex with many servers and large cooling systems for those servers. However, the original plans for this building were known as Project X, and it was meant to survive a nuclear blast. The basement has a shelter to support hundreds of people during a nuclear situation.
Another unique quirk about the AT&T Long Lines Building is that when it’s night, the building disappears into the dark, leaving passersby to marvel and wonder what truly goes on in here. In recent years however, it was discovered that the building was under NSA use to conduct call surveillance between the United States and other countries.
We also love the remarkable NYC architecture of VIA57 – a building you will recognize if you’ve lived on the Jersey side of the Hudson River and looked over at Manhattan. This slightly twisted pyramid was dreamt up by Bjarke Ingels and is a residential complex with 709 apartments (some currently available to rent!). This pyramid has won awards such as the International Highrise Award, so it’s pretty neat and we encourage you masking up and checking it out.
Speaking of the International Highrise Award, we wanted to include another recipient, the Hearst Tower on this list. Envisioned and brought to life by Norman Foster, this creation is an ode to “muscular corporate confidence” and the first skyscraper built post 9/11. The Hearst Tower is forty-six stories, and to us, resembles a pixelated watermelon piece – but what do we know?
Keeping on the theme of “less somber” architecture – we have the building at 56 Leonard Street known as the Jenga building. It looks exactly like a structure in the middle of a game of Jenga, made of steel and concrete. And there’s a sculpture seamlessly integrated at its base with a specially commissioned work by Anish Kapoor. Interestingly, the building only contains about 145 apartments, now all sold, which range from a paltry $3.5 million for a studio, all the way to a cool $50 million for the penthouse. We love to see capitalism made fun (sarcasm).
Are there other unique landmarks you love and want to see showcased on a Remarkable NYC Architecture list? Let us know!