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The ten craziest-looking buildings in New York

Written by
Howard Halle

Lately, it seems that there’s a new super tall tower springing up every week in New York City—even in Brooklyn. While impressive, most of them don’t really push the envelope design-wise, at least not in comparison to a group of buildings—some of them not that tall—which are pretty weird. A few are already built, while others are still being built, and they’re pretty much scattered all over town, from Uptown and Midtown to Chelsea and the Lower East Side. We run down ten of the craziest in our gallery below.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center
Located on the Columbia University Medical Center campus in Washington Heights, this zig-zagging building is the work of the same team behind Lincoln Center’s renovation and the new wing for MoMA.

Thom Mayne, 41 Cooper Square
Formerly called the Cooper Union New Academic Building, this nine-story building is notable for its bulging mesh facade transversed by a series of cuts allowing views into and from a central atrium. Scattered areas in the mesh were also left unperforated to create a shimmering syncopated design of rectangular patches.

Bjarke Ingels, 625 West 57th Street
Officially dubbed Via, this twisting tetrahedron by starchitect-of-the-moment Bjarke Ingels anchors the western end of 57th Street near the Hudson River.

Frank Gehry, IAC Building
Opened in 2007 as headquarters for the Barry Diller–owned media and internet company IAC/InterActiveCorp, Gehry’s first-ever building in New York sits on West 18th Street in the heart of High Line country. It’s billowing shape is meant to evoke sails in honor of its proximity to the Hudson.

Frank Gehry, 8 Spruce Street
Also know as New York by Frank Gehry, this 76-story skyscraper is the starchitect’s only other building in the city. When it opened in 2011, it was the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere, but has since been dethroned. Its rippling facade won critical raves when it was completed, though some people think that in addition to being one of the weirdest buildings in New York, it’s also one of the ugliest.

Zaha Hadid, 520 West 28th St
This luxe Chelsea condominium was still nearing completion when news broke this year that its designer, Zaha Hadid died of a heart attack in Miami. The building features her signature swooping, futuristic curves, as will as a triplex penthouse with an asking price of $50 million.

Studio/Gang, Solar Carve
This prismatic mid-rise on the High Line marks the New York debut of Chicago starchitect Jeanne Gang. Its dramatically faceted southeastern corner is designed that way to minimize the disruption of light, air and views from the High Line.

Christian de Portzamparc, 400 Park Avenue South
This jagged, shardlike edifice by the renowned French designer juts into the sky a few blocks north of Madison Park like a broken bottle at a bar fight.

Herzog and de Meuron, 56 Leonard St
Nicknamed the Jenga building by architectural wags, this 57-story residential tower in Tribeca is designed the way it is to maximize floor plans and private outdoor spaces for its priciest apartments.

Norman Foster, Hearst Tower
Designed by the same mind behind London’s famed Gherkin tower, this 46-story structure serving as headquarters for Hearst opened in 2006 and is actually shacked atop the publishing empire’s original home completed in 1928. The escalators in its atrium run through a 3-story sculpture titled Icefall, which feature water cascading down a bank made up of thousands of rounded glass elements stepped like stadium seating.

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