Enter any skyscraper in New York City, and you’ll likely have to provide personal information and have a mug shot taken to even approach the elevator bay – and that’s only if you have an appointment, or permission to be there. This reality disturbs Brooklyn architect Clara Klein: though a proponent and designer of the skyscraper form herself, Klein feels that its very nature is isolating, exclusive, and detrimental to the urban goal of promoting ample public space within a city center.

So how does she propose mitigating the intrinsic displacement of public space and natural resources that comes with building a new structure? Make sure the skyscraper has ample space open for the public, of course. Within her geometrically-patterned cylindrical tower, Klein designed a building with space for typical residences and offices, but she has also interspersed areas for an ice skating rink, a concert venue, a park, a market, and direct access to the Brooklyn Bridge, a pedestrian icon that links Manhattan and Brooklyn, all within the building. And while the residences and offices are permanent, the public spaces within the building have the ability to evolve and change with the season, or public demand.

The building’s exterior is a patterned spider web of tiles that weave together to build a “structural skin,” as Klein calls it. Its elaborate design has a specific purpose: to create “light shelves” that filter sunlight, distribute it evenly throughout the building, reduce glare, and ultimately lighten the cooling load of the building.

Glowing softly against New York’s skyline at dusk, Klein’s skyscraper warmly welcomes all of the city’s residents, not just those with the keys.

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