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Multifunctional Building “Solar Carve”

The Black Diamond

Studio Gang

Can bioclimatic research become a major aesthetic feature of architecture? This was the question we asked Jeanne Gang, founder of the architecture practice of the same name, during an online interview last October on the presentation of the “Solar Carve” building (40 Tenth Avenue), Manhattan’s newest iconic high-rise in the vibrant Meatpacking District directly abutting the famous High Line. Founder of Studio Gang - headquartered in Chicago but with three offices in the USA and one in Paris - Gang is also a Professor in Practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her buildings have always been at the cutting edge of technology. This, she explained, was only possible by combining compositional know-how with a sound grasp of technology, allowing the architect to step outside the banal and use artistic imagination as a way of providing real answers to real problems.

Studio Gang’s first - and highly acclaimed - building in New York, Solar Carve came about thanks to a series of unique circumstances that allowed the architect to develop a building whose spatial articulation is driven by the light. The first element in this fortuitous conjunction of the stars was a client who gave Gang full freedom, confident she would come up with an exclusively original building in terms of both design and energy efficiency, even accepting to reduce the maximum permitted surface area if it meant the new building would be a true dialogue partner in its urban context. Then there was Gang’s intuitive design savvy honed by past experience folding the façades of buildings to make them respond dynamically to the incident angles of the sun’s rays, carving into volumes to intercept or eliminate exposure and at the same time creating highly aesthetic harmonious forms. Studio Gang has called the strategic approach adopted for this project “solar carving”.

The north and south corners are carved and this compact...

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