Architectural Design Archive
On Our third course of Architectural Projects at the School of Architecture of Madrid we´ve trained on extreme events: a skyscraper growing up from mainland and a horizontal building floating over the water.

The first exercise was a multifunctional stilt house in Hudson River´s Pier 54, Manhattan. I was interested on making a lightweight, transparent and low impact building, despite its large size. So, I projected a glass frontage for a slender structure arranged over an orthogonal grid.

A building with two different areas. The first one, near the entrance, contains restaurants and shops; the second one, at the end of the building, comprises a gym, sports fields and swimming pools. In this second area, where the deck span must be larger to accommodate these sporting uses, a row of columns has been omitted and the horizontal structure has been strengthened.

The entire program of the building gets solved in a single-store at street level. Service rooms, such as restrooms or kitchens, are located like containers aside from the structural grid of the building. Only a few mezzanine floors are placed along the building. The pool at the end of this stilt house over the Hudson River produces an image of union between land and water.

In contrast with this first flat and long project over the river, the second one was a high-rise building in the only free corner of Central Park, in central New York, a skyscraper containing three very different areas: cultural center, offices and dwellings. Each one has its own entrance, group of elevators and garage.

A bidirectional grid with spans of 8.1m is used to organize the plan of the building, while the flights of stairs modulate its section: 2 flights for dwelling, 3 for office and 4 for the cultural center. This last area includes a library, sports center and multiple cinemas, each one with its three-storey lobby looking at the front square. The area of offices is also arranged by groups of stories, each one with its own lobby to get a more flexible and friendly use.

Finally, dwellings occupy the upper part of the skyscraper, with a common garden situated 230m above the street and looking at Central Park. In general, every flat takes up a module of the grid with the day zone on the facade and bedroom, bathroom and kitchen at its inner part. The image of the skyscraper from the outside reports on its cultural, residential and tertiary threefold, the first looking at the square, the second at the Park and the third at the city.

This course I’ve dealt for the first time with large size and multifunctional buildings, a 200m long flat one and a 400m high skyscraper. I’ve learnt about the way to approach these big programs with general criteria before getting distracted with details.