clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2015's Most Outrageous Designs: From a Floating Forest to Times Square in the Sky

New, 3 comments

It's time to make up a bunch of awards and hand them out to the most deserving people, places and things in the real estate, architecture and neighborhood universes of New York City! Yep, it's time for the 12th Annual Curbed Awards! Up now: the wackiest design proposals we saw this year.

Whether it was imagining Times Square as a mile-high structure stretched into the sky, or small egg-shaped apartments that hang off of buildings, designers pushed the limits of creativity in 2015, teasing our imaginations with projects that could transform the city. Some are concrete proposals that might actually come to fruition sometime in the near future, and others are just for simple wonderment. Here's a look back at some of the most out there design proposals from 2015.


Times Square in 3015
Created for architecture magazine eVolvo's annual competition, three designers imagined Times Square as a soaring, 5,687-foot tall superstructure that would include shopping malls, natural landscapes like beaches and mountains, theaters, and much more—a city within a city, if you will.


Revere Sugar Refinery
The Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg isn't the only former refinery people are looking at for real estate development. Magnusson Architecture and Planning proposed a 1.7 million square foot mixed-use project in Red Hook at the site of Revere Sugar Refinery that would bring 900 apartments, 250,000 square feet of retail and 400,000 square feet of parking to the somewhat isolated Brooklyn neighborhood.


Newtown Creek Towers
Imagine living over one of the filthiest water bodies in the country. That's exactly what a couple of architecture firms actually did, envisioning what a development over the stinky Newtown Creek might look like. Avoid Obvious Architects and Studio C Architects suggested three towers—a residential building, a hotel, and artists' studios—overlooking the creek that would be connected by glassy, plated walkways.


Penn Station Restoration
Richard Cameron at Atelier & Co. suggested restoring McKim, Mead & White's original design for Penn Station, which was torn down half a century ago. The $2.5 billion proposal would restore some of the station's grand architectural elements, but also make it a modern transportation hub.


Micro Unit Egg Nest
"Egg nest" may not be the most appealing name for a project, by architect Michael Perry is banking on peoples' fascination with micro-units to propel interest in these these metallic pods, which would hang off of buildings. The odd mini-apartments would come complete with a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and storage area.


Sixth Borough
Many places have been called the sixth borough—Philadelphia, New Jersey, Beacon, the list goes on—and this pie-in-the-sky idea proposes a new one: Lower Lower Manhattan. Originally proposed in 2011 by Columbia University's Center for Urban Real Estate, this $300 million project would extend the island's southern tip through the process of dredging, connecting Lower Manhattan, Governors Island, and Red Hook through a land bridge. Researchers estimated that the project would cost significantly less than building a tunnel between Brooklyn and Manhattan.


Floating Food Forest
This environmentally-friendly contraption, imagined by artist Mary Mattingly, is essentially a floating ecosystem. Every few months, this floating green space would dock at different piers across the city and allow people to harvest food from the "forest."


Pedestrian Bridge to Jersey City
Even though New Jersey is right across from the Hudson River, it feels like it's a world away—a feeling that's not helped by endless PATH delays or traffic-stymied bus journeys. This proposal from Jersey City-based Jeff Jordan Architects calls for a High Line-style pedestrian bridge, known as the Liberty Bridge, that would connect JC to Lower Manhattan via Battery Park.


Over-the-Top Midtown Tower
This 102-story, eagle-adorned building was a proposal put forth by Mark Foster Gage Architects. The shimmering gold and silver structure would have risen on Billionaire's Row overlooking Central Park, but never came to fruition. Most prominently, the proposed building had a two-story ballroom and a sky lobby on the 64th floor.


The Green Line
Yes, walking down Broadway can seem like a full-contact sport at times, what with the selfie stick-wielding tourists, theatergoers, and office folk all dodging in between traffic. But this proposal could turn that all upside down. Design firm Perkins Eastman proposed a 2.5-mile public park along Broadway, between Union Square and Columbus Circle, that would be open to pedestrians only.


Sidewalk Shed
Those boring sidewalk scaffolding sheds could be a thing of the past if the New York Building Congress has its way. The organization launched a competition over the summer to elicit creative responses on redesigning the existing sheds, with four winners selected. The designs from firms like Gensler could easily make you forget you were walking under a shed at all.

·
Thought Experiments Archive [Curbed]