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What if a 700-foot timber tower rose on the Central Park reservoir?

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An architecture firm proposed the far-out structure, meant to filter the reservoir

DFA Studio

Architects sure do love to come up with outlandish proposals for New York City buildings—remember the Big Bend? Or the ornate, 102-story Billionaires’ Row tower? Or the skyscraper hanging from an asteroid? The likelihood of any of these projects coming to fruition is slimmer than a Slim Jim, but that doesn’t stop architects from dreaming ‘em up.

Which brings us to the latest far-out thought experiment: DFA Studio has proposed what it’s calling Central Park Tower (no relation to the Extell supertall), a 712-foot structure made from prefabricated timber that would sit—here’s the kicker—in the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park. (h/t Dezeen)

Yep, really: they want to plop what would become the world’s tallest timber tower in the middle of the reservoir. It wouldn’t be a building, per se; DFA envisions it more as a temporary tourist attraction that also serves a practical purpose. The firm’s proposal calls for the structure to have a filtration system at its base, which would then serve to clean the reservoir, making it usable as a source for potable water. Wind turbines would power the structure, including an elevator that would take visitors to viewing platforms at the top.

As for the design of the structure itself … well, we’ll just say it: it looks like a joint. A narrow base leads to a wider top (where the viewing areas would be), and the whole thing would be topped with a 112-foot spire.

Here’s how Dezeen describes it:

The tower would be constructed from a lattice of curved glue-laminated timber beams, which would be manufactured off site and assembled in less than six months. Tensile steel cables would be anchored to the pre-cast concrete base to aid stability. The tower's main body would be formed by a pair of helix structures, with a ramp in between the two layers from the 375- to 500-foot (114- to 152-metre) height marks. Covered with a transparent material, its outer skin is designed to be more porous than the inner core. This would allow visitors to take in the views as they spiral up the ramp, culminating at the 360-degree viewing platform.

“This conceptual project pushes the boundaries of what we perceive is possible in a city as dense, historic and environmentally vulnerable as ours,” DFA head Laith Sayigh told Dezeen. And indeed, it is boundary-pushing; but is it feasible? That’s up for debate.

Here are some more looks at the concept, via Dezeen: