NEW YORK CITY — If this were the first half of the 20th century, the facade of the building we have to show you today would have been made out of ceramic like the Woolworth building in New York or the Eastern building in L.A. But today digitally assisted fabrication has progressed to the point that we can see stone in a whole new way. Architect Mark Foster Gage is making 41 West 57th Street in Manhattan, a building that hitherto could only exist in the minds of futurists and if it comes out looking anything at all like the renderings we’re in for a treat.
This is a luxury apartment tower with about 90 residences inside. The architects’ description of the work is prone to hyperbole and self-aggrandizement, but maybe we should indulge them for a moment because we’ve truly never seen anything like this before. The studio told ArchDaily:
The 102-story tower, proposed in the heart of Manhattan, New York City, would feature a carved stone facade and eye-catching glimmers of bronze. Residents would also be treated to sweeping views of Central Park and the city skyline, and a number of balconies would frame particular features of the surrounding landscape. Due to its splendor, the mammoth residential tower has been described as what might happen if “Michelangelo was brought back to life and commissioned to design a skyscraper.”
Gage’s team were interested in having high and low resolution areas on the facade, revealing different qualities depending on viewing distance, and each floor in the building would also be unique.
Despite the stark difference between Gage’s designs and those of the Manhattan’s skyline, the tower – which would be built on 41 West 57th Street – could be created today. What would have previously taken stonemasons decades, the intricate stone designs on the luxury building could be created much quicker using computer numerically controlled (CNC) technology.
Mark said: “Our primary interest wasn’t symbolism as might have been the case with such sculptural forms a century ago. It used to be that to have sculptural stone you needed to hire stonemasons for years–so a project like Chartres Cathedral took decades. “People, in particular wealthy people, are beginning again to seek actual uniqueness, even beauty, rather than just allowing their residences to be generic real estate equations in the sky.”
Mark Foster Gage has been practicing architecture professionally since 2001, according to his biography. After practicing as a founding partner of Gage / Clemenceau Architects from 2001-2013, he founded Mark Foster Gage Architects in 2014. His innovative design work has been featured in institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Venice Biennale, the Beijing Biennale, the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum in Berlin, and published in venues such as Vogue, Fast Company, The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, and on PBS, Fox and MTV. Mr. Gage has received recognition in the form of nominations or awards from various institutions including the Architectural League of New York, the American Institute of Architects, The Chernikhov Foundation, The Ordoz Prize Foundation, and the USA Artists Fellows Program, and was named an “Avant Guardian of Architecture” by Surface Magazine. Mr. Gage combines his unique background as a classically trained architect, protégé of Robert A.M. Stern, and studio assistant to Frank Gehry into a practice that combines the best design techniques of the past with the emerging technologies of tomorrow.