Ah, New York: So many renderings, so little time. It often feels that way, since practically every time you turn around, there’s seems to be another rendering out there for a cool new tower that will alter the city’s skyline. Of course, you can file most of those proposals under “buildings that will never be built,” but we can look at the drawings and imagine a better, future New York, can’t we?
The latest such impossible dream is called the Orbit Tower and comes courtesy of Metals in Construction magazine and its annual 2017 Design Challenge, which invites “architects, engineers, students, designers and others from around the world to submit their vision for combatting global warming by reducing the embodied energy in their design for a high-rise building.” The winner of this year’s $15,000 prize, the Orbit Tower is the brainchild of architectural firm ODA and structural engineers Werner Sobek New York.
The 44-story, 711-foot-high building nips in at the waist to create an hourglass silhouette, while its circular floor plan features 10-foot high ceilings and unimpeded views in all directions. The tower is topped by something called a Piezo Power Crown, a thicket of flexible fiberglass rods that can generate power by swaying in the wind; picture a giant, brush-style haircut sloping from front to back.
If it ever gets built, the Orbit Tower will take up a site on the north side of 42nd Street, across from Bryant Park. The spot is currently occupied by the Grace Building, which is familiar for its midcentury ski–jump facade. Fans of its design shouldn’t worry too much about it, however: Considering that the Orbit Tower is so much in pie-in-the-sky, the Grace Building isn’t going anywhere.