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Building height fallacy

Studio Gang has a project currently under construction in New York City called 40 Tenth Avenue. It is also known as the “solar carve tower.” Here are a couple of progress photos taken by Timothy Schenck. The glass is beautiful. (If you can’t see the embedded tweet below, click here.)

This is one of my favorite buildings by Studio Gang and one that we all studied when we were kicking off One Delisle

The geometry of the building is a result of carve outs that maximize the amount of sunlight that is able to reach the adjacent High Line (public space). It is form driven by functional logic. Here is a diagram from Studio Gang showing the carve outs that result from the sun’s rays.


The other thing I like about this project is that it is a clear proof of something that I’m going to call the “building height fallacy.” There can be a tendency to overfocus on building height, which I have argued against before on this blog. 

In this case, a shorter and squatter building without these solar carve outs, would have actually been worse for the High Line and the surrounding environment in terms of access to light and air.

The building is responding to site-specific criteria – which is what great architecture should do.

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