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Two Designs for Housing New York City's Growing Population

Two contrasting visions have won a 'Living Cities' design contest set by Metropolis magazine asking for solutions to New York's looming housing crisis.

By 2050 New York City's population is expected to rise by over one million, and the competition aimed to get people thinking about how to tackle this challenge, with plans for a residential tower which should somehow use an innovative structural steel system. Other criteria included sustainability, multiple uses, lifestyle amenities and multi-generational design.

The two winning teams - selected by an international jury consisting of Kai-Uwe Bergmann of BIG, Eileen Hatfield, principal of Buro Happold, Sylvia Smith Senior Partner of FXFOWLE, and Gary Higbee Director of Industry Development Steel and Ornamental Metals Institutes of New York - have come up with very different solutions, but both acknowledge that a car-free lifestyle is essential.

Chad Kellogg, Matthew Bowles, Nina Mahjoub of AMLGM's Urban Alloy is a massive transportation-entertainment-and-residential hub with outstretched tendrils that are tunnels for subway and railway trains.

Andrew Duffin and NBRS+Partners (together with ARUP Sydney)'s VIVO is a twisting, 40-storey tower bestridea section of the High Line in Manhattan.





VIVO includes a network of city nodes, none of which is further than a 20 minute walk from an apartment, that are safer, cleaner, green and pedestrian and cycle-friendly. It sits aside the High Line on Manhattan's West Side, a train line that was opened in 1934 and passes through city block via an elevated section.

VIVO is conceived as a vertical version of this line. "VIVO creates the spirit of place for a more liveable city; resilient with affordability; flexible and balanced; environmentally responsive," say the team members. "VIVO is a place of layered contextualism, vitality and interaction. It is demographically mixed, attracting individuals, couples and families; permitting invention and reinvention; a place that is inclusive and participatory. The steel design permits flexible apartment designs, responsive to the changing needs of the NYC family."

They envision the steel structure to allow for flexibility in the way the internal space is used. "It's a hybrid structural system where the triangulated diagrid system acts as an exoskeleton providing lateral stability and vertical support. This frees the internal space from needing internal intermediate structure allowing ultimate flexibility for remodeling or use changes over its life span. VIVO is alive and responds to the daily and seasonal energy of NYC," they explain.

Urban Alloy

Urban Alloy

This structure is conceived as being located at the intersection of the Long Island Rail Road and the 7 line train service in Queens borough, NYC. It also won an 'honourable mention' in eVolo's 9th Annual Skyscraper Competition.

The structure rises above the elevated train lines and freeway interchanges, appearing to swallow them up and direct them into the sky. They reason that by locating the housing above this transportation hub it facilitates travel for residents.

Urban Alloy

The design team says that the building makes use of a significant quantity of recycled content for both its steel structure and its skin, and can be automatically manufactured with efficiency. It makes use of solar energy for heating and cooling by deploying the skin on a grid that follows the geometric directionality of the surface.

Urban Alloy 2

At each intersection of the grid the normal of the surface is analyzed against its optimal solar shading and daylight transmitting requirements. An algorithm then generates vertical and horizontal fin profiles that blend with profiles at adjacent intersections.

Urban Alloy 3

"Unlike concrete structures that benefit from a very regular floor to floor height because of the need to reuse formwork, steel structures can efficiently be constructed with each unique member cut by an automated system," the team says.