For their first New York project, Studio Gang Architects have designed a 180,000 square-foot office tower featuring a crystalline glass façade shaped in such a way as not to interfere with the airflow, light direction and views from the adjacent High Line. The Solar Carve Tower is a mid-rise structure is pending city approval and is planned for completion in 2015.
Treating sunlight as a valuable resource, the architects have addressed the matter of wider contextual impact of the future building, especially on the High Line, describing it as “an extraordinary urban green space… endangered rather than protected by the setback zoning regulations.” Designed for a site that borders the High Line on the east with the vast openness of Tenth Avenue, the Lincoln Highway, and the Hudson River to the west, the project proposes inverting the light and air setbacks from the already well-exposed street to the High Line, in order to prioritize the inner-block park. Geometric relationships between the building form and the sun’s path, as well as the viewshed between the park and the Hudson, guide the shave and shape of the tower. The result is a gem-like façade that displays the exciting architectural potential of expanded notions of solar-driven zoning—and a skyscraper that enhances the public life of the city in ways that a stand-alone icon cannot.