City of Nothing // Island of Everything
A modern Agora that combines the dichotomy of Nothing and Everything in an in Economic Hub, hybridised with flexible public space, proposing three towers of Nothing within a system of Everything.
Manhattan can be seen as a City of Nothing- it is dominant on the world stage yet yields little in the way of physical substance. Its products are invisible but operate with extreme force in modern culture and finance. This thesis seeks to engage with the unique way in which the city simultaneously promotes fantastical visions through the reasoning of pragmatism. It imagines an urban landscape that cuts the ground with the same intensity that its towers scrape the sky - an equal wit of earth and air rights. This cutting, splicing, pressing, lifting multiplies Manhattan’s configuration as an island and exposes the infrastructural bowels of the city. A new urban morphology is created; an upper-world of islands and towers that extend from ravine to sky, and a lower-world that offers horizontal expanse in the form of a public topography. The duality of conditions is informed and calibrated by the vertical hinge of Grand Central Terminus: referential scales derived from this iconic structure inform fields of influence throughout the proposals. The resultant landscape presents an exaggerated Manhattan that draws from the topographic ambition of its founding and the fabulous reality of its modes of operation.
Collaborators: Declan Wagstaff & Christopher McCallum