New details have emerged on New Yorkâ€™s latest, tallest, super-tall skyscraperâ€”the Adrian Smith + Gordon Gillâ€“designed tower rising on, where else,Â 57thÂ Street. Real estate blogÂ NY YIMBY has uncovered new drawings for 225 West 57thÂ Street, which will rise to a height within one foot of One World Trade Center.
At first glance, the glass-observation boxes that jut out of the Willis Towerâ€™s 103rdÂ floor donâ€™t look all that safeâ€”and that is exactly the point. The SOM-designed attraction, known as the Ledge, opened in 2009 and offers â€œthrill seekers,â€ â€œdeath defiers,â€ and â€œpeople who can wait inÂ a really long lineâ€ the chance to step outside of the iconic skyscraper and look straight down at the streets of Chicago,Â 1,353-feet below. The floor of the suspended structure isÂ comprised of 1.5-inch laminated glass panels, which can hold 10,000 pounds and withstand four tons of pressure. So,Â the danger is all imagined, right?Â Well, it certainly didn’t feel that way for a California family who visited last night.
High up. The New York Times‘ Edward Rothstein went out on a ledge for the paper today. The critic took on the glass boxes that protrude from the Willis Tower in Chicago known appropriately as the Ledge. The critic waxes poetic about the vulnerability of the city and the fully human sensations that occur when floating some 1,353 feet above the street. He also takes the opportunity to point out the redundancy of the Ledge’s cousin, the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
Tear Down. Christopher Hawthorne balked at SFMOMA‘s public relations campaign to portray the museum’s new SnÃ¸hetta-designed wing as a wallflower respecting its Mario Botta-designed neighbor. But as Hawthorne points out in the LA Times, the new building is anything but quiet. Rather it’s more a “chiseled behemoth.” Â Hawthorne finds the museum’s affront to its Botta as part of a larger trend in the American museum world where the tendency is to drop good, but alas, old architecture in lieu of ever newer names and trends. Read: Whitney, MoMA, Barnes, to name but a few.
Put a Lid on It. In a totally biased and unabashedly opinionated piece for City Watch, Jack Humphreville writes that a back room deal may have LA ratepayers of the Department of Water and Power footing the bill for a new twelve-acre park designed to cap the underground reservoir replacing the Elysian Reservoir. Humprhies argues that the $85 million park should fall under the auspices of the City and the Department of Recreation and Parks.
Manhattanhenge. Gothamist reminds us that tonight at 8:17PM the full sun will set in perfect alignment with east west axis of Manhattan’s street grid. Remember not to stare, mesmerized, for too long.
In our pilot Midwest issue, I wrote about The Ledge, a new viewing platform at the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) in Chicago. At the time, only renderings were available of the SOM-designed all-glass cubes that protrude off of the tower’s west face, and the project was expected to open in mid June. Well, it appears that the dizzying new viewing experience is now accepting visitors, as a whole rash of pictures have popped up on flickr. Among them isÂ the aboveÂ image, which reminds us that sometimes the highest achievement that architecture can aspire to is to fuel the dreams of a child.