Edgar Street Towers by IwamotoScott


San Francisco architects IwamotoScott have completed a design study for a tower (above, right) straddling a street in Lower Manhattan, New York City.

The proposal was commissioned by New York's Downtown Alliance as part of the Greenwich South project, a study into how to transform a 41 acre-site south of the World Trade Center site.

"The Downtown Alliance commissioned the larger project that this tower is part of, Greenwich South, as a design study for the present, as well as the near and distant future, for that part of Lower Manhattan, to drum up interest in the private and public sectors," says IwamotoScott's Craig Scott. "The particular brief of our site/project was that it was part of the longer term vision."

All images are by IwamotoScott except the one above, which is by Transparent House.

Here's some text from IwamotoScott:

Edgar Street Towers, Greenwich South, Lower Manhattan

IwamotoScott Architecture

Edgar Street Towers was produced by IwamotoScott for the Greenwich South design study led by Architecture Research Office, Beyer Blinder Belle and Architects & Planners and OPEN. Contributing architects, artists and designers included Coen + Partners, DeWitt Godfrey, IwamotoScott Architecture, Jorge Colmbo, Lewis.Tsuramaki.Lewis Architects, Morphosis, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Transolar Climate Engineering and WORKac.

Edgar Street Towers responds to its immediate site context while establishing a strong relationship to the larger urban form of Manhattan. The design is inspired by earlier visionary projects for Manhattan that proposed new hybrids of architecture, infrastructure and public space.

The towers’ design seeks to reinstate Edgar Street as an east-west public way, reconnecting Greenwich and Washington streets. The space of this passageway through the building twists upwards, rising through the body of the towers, pinching at the mid level to allow for larger floorplates, and culminating at a rooftop sky lobby and civic space. This space at the towers’ crown is aligned with the primary Manhattan street grid to the north, directly on axis with 5th Avenue.

Edgar Street Towers’ programmatic mixture serves the local neighborhood while enhancing the public realm of lower Manhattan. The scale and mix of uses aims to reflect the grandness of vision and diversity of architectural experiences found for example in the premier civic, cultural and commercial landmarks organized along 5th Avenue to the north. This programmatic mixture is envisioned to include spaces for living, working, art, performance, retail and a branch public library.

The program is organized by the towers’ central branching atrium, enhanced by daylight channeled from above via an integrated light-transmitting fiber-optic array.

In addition, the atrium deploys bio-filtration terrariums occupying hollow spaces within the floors, thus acting as the building’s lungs to provide clean air to its occupants. By night, the light-flow is reversed, whereby the fiber-optic array is lit from integrated solar-charged battery packs.

On a macro scale, Edgar Street Towers takes advantage of the visibility and prominence offered by its site, where its dynamic form acts as a civic landmark and beacon for those coming to and leaving the city.

Project Credits:

IwamotoScott principals: Lisa Iwamoto & Craig Scott

IwamotoScott project team: Ryan Golenberg, Stephanie Lin, John Kim, Blake Altshuler

Images: IwamotoScott all except NightAerial is by Transparent House

Posted on Sunday May 9th 2010 at 11:03 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • alex

    Plans would be great to see how the core works. Twisted forms seem ‘sexy’ but I wonder how the building will perform…

  • js

    Well they say comedy is all about timing, but I don’t think this was meant as a joke.

  • AJ

    This looks a lot like Fisher’s dynamic “architecture”… but frozen.

  • one of the great organic structure!!!!!

  • rdeamer

    who needs gardens and parks when you can have ‘bio-filtration terrariums ‘ in fact my house one day will be a ‘bio-filtration terrarium’ where me and my alien friends can play poker..

  • Martin

    The question has to be asked.. why? This kind of architecture belongs in wipeout hd and irobot, not Manhattan.

  • mp

    Hum, dunno looks like they superimposed the structure into the shape somehow. For me it would have been interesting to utilize the torsion as a structural argument

  • m

    it seems we really are in the rococo of modern architecture

  • willem

    leave the second groundpiece unbuild and make a much more effective tower on the mainpiece.
    you architects: please respect manhattan and think about all survivors of 9.11, don’t hurt them over with collapsed structures …

  • jac_oli

    “Daddyyyy ! I cannot sleep !
    I had a bad dream… and … and … Some people were messing with my cityscape… and… and … adding monstruous towers one after another. Non stop. Endlessly. Like it was a game of Donkey Tail. I mean, DAD ! They still thought they could make something out of these white fishnet structures !”

  • Clotaire Rapaille

    And then … Thanks god … They tried the one last shot to make evryone forget that the Freedom Tower even existed….

  • Gunnar Á.

    Well it’s a twist in the wind for sure

  • unknown observer

    It’s like two buildings fucking… cool!

  • Bobby D

    Where are they finding people who like things like this!!

  • felix

    “Edgar Street Towers’ programmatic mixture serves the local neighborhood while enhancing the public realm of lower Manhattan.”

    Hahaha, what bs.

    The second image shows what they really think of the local neighbourhood and public realm. Nothing. It’s just a place for the structure to bed into.

    Which is a shame. A building that spans over circulation must have many opportunities to enhance the public realm.

    The ‘arch’ formed at the bottom of the two buildings will be the most important part for most NYC citizens. yet they’ve ignored it. the shape is just the result of their dumb structure.

  • Todd

    If we simply must have more skyscrapers and increasingly dense cityscapes, at least make the new buildings joyful, sexy and interesting to look at for those of us who can’t afford to use them!

    I’d say this fits the bill.

  • gaque

    without showing the floor plan, this simply is not convincing. today buildings can’t be what they used to be, and this still definitely falls into the category of “used to be.” any new building in manhattan has to be something intelligent and contemporary and look good…this does not look good. it’s menacing and incomprehensible, but not in the good way.

    the two structures that somehow intersect each other is not very clear and the use of the pseudo-reticular, subdiv structure is just too standard.

    why does such an acrobatic building form end in a rectangular flat top?

  • Paul

    Y’all are crazy– this is absolutely beautiful. Yeah there’s some high tech baloney and some greenwash in the narrative, but the form is stunning. It makes the contortions of Lower Manhattan visible on the skyline and uses a building to give formal clarity to a confused bit of urban planning. It’s a simple and powerful concept, elegantly realized.

  • Riding on those escalators is gonna be a scary experience.

  • Ali

    I am surprised about how conservative all the commentators are here. If everyone thought of architecture like you guys there would not be any tall buildings, no Chrysler building, no empire state building, not to mention no Manhattan. If you guys think that this building is too weird and not contextual, I recommend that you do a little bit of reading, particularly Koolhaas’ “Delirious New York.”

  • you architects: please respect manhattan and think about all survivors of 9.11, don’t hurt them over with collapsed structures …

    New York is a living city, not a dead one dedicated to the memory of bygone eras and tragedies. I would like to see how the people of New York think about the structure in relation to 9/11, not people who are divorced from both the city and the event.



    ps: IWAMOTO is my instructor at uc berkeley!!

  • christian

    Lots of Parametric modelling going on there and I see a distinct security issue with a road under this building. I agree too, why do we always have to have a flat top to modern skyscrapers?

  • joaquindcn

    loved rdeamer’s comment!

  • mcmlxix

    I’ll echo Willem…they’re going to let people drive through this…it already looks like it’s collapsing.

    And Felix… hahaha, what bs…yes, it’s typical architect speak.

    But not Ali…don’t assume that people necessarily have a reactionary aversion to super-talls because they don’t like this or think it is a net positive to downtown.

  • Clotaire Rapaille

    @Ali : I think the reason why I don’t like this thing is because I read Delirious New York like 4 times.
    But then, I made no point for it in my comments, just wrote silly stuff to make people laugh. But that’s what it’s all about, right? Sorry.
    But who here said there should be no skyscrapers in Manhattan ? I ♥ NYC !

  • guillermo

    check this….looks the same

  • inventa

    don’t like it at all!!!
    beside my taste for architecture, it really looks like something is missing on its proportions…

  • Nicholas

    I sure hope this one gets built!!!

  • jolly roger

    I’m so tired of all the haters on this site. No project is perfect. i would like to see their work… it must be f*#king amazing.

  • MG

    I, literally, live 50 feet away from the proposed building and would love to see it built. As a resident of the area I hope amenities are included like a supermarket (mixed use lower level). Greenwich St will be reconnected with the WT redevelopment, thus this little shunt of a street will become a very important conduit for Lower Manhattan. Keep it in mind.

  • 3D

    just doesn’t look good at all.

  • aveclaudenum

    interesting project. i like the use of green space throughout, rather than just in one or two large patches. the weaved structural area seems really busy in the interior renderings – almost oppressive within the escalator shots, like those within the space must succumb to its complicated geometry. however, i don’t know how much of this was avoidable. i think the nature of weaving inherently assumes a certain density of overlapping complexity for stability, but how this is exaggerated/revealed in the project seems like a design choice that maybe could have underplayed more for the experience of simplicity.

    that said, i’m no expert.

  • ninila

    If you present this as a student design, I will let it pass. But, to actually have it built?! Well, the problem is it’s just another Chrylser-que tower. It may look well-thought of on paper, but lacks elegance and novel design.

  • Tah

    It is easy to design funky shapes , but real work starts when arcitects are rationalising their fantacies during design development and construction document phase.Often these projects fail their budget.Spacially I am worried about the atrium area.I wish it will be build.

  • Jetwax

    The Big Apple deserves this building. It has many interesting features and is visually exciting d;-)

  • heightwise

    People, read the brief before posting ignorant comments: This is part of “Grenwich South”, a design study for this cut-off, under-considered area of Lower Manhattan – by all the artists, designers and architects who where invited – of what visionary possibilities COULD happen.

    Do you think WORKac’s project for this is gonna be built either, or Lozano-Hemmer’s? Please grow up, and appreciate the efforts here for what they are – design speculations, about possible futures…provocative one’s at that – which in this case would be amazing if it built, though that was not even the Downtown Alliance’s aim for the larger project project.

  • jack

    I empathise with jolly roger’s views in its entirety… In all honesty most of the readers here seem to be irrationally conservative… I’d be interested to witness all your groundbreaking works of architecture in spite of this ‘mess’… I surmise that most probably the conservative architects are the ones who are incapable of imagination and creative thought and should not work as architects in the first place so that they won’t end up withering day-to-day in their jealousy of others…

  • saif

    A twist of the grid, NY definetly needs this, but it will also take the attention from WTC site.

  • Hugo

    very brave design- but i'm afraid the building does not blend with the Manhattan skyline at all.

  • G.Franqui

    To All who care, go for it…wil will enchance the city skies with grace and hope for all to see in the future…good luck.

  • DockScience

    Very pretty, but I would hate to have to pay for it.

  • Ang

    I would have to believe that someone realizes that this makes the whole rental van full of fertilizer bomb tactic much easier for anyone number of lunatics.

  • steve Sheppard

    Lovely building…but will be a Mecca for those wanting to commit suicide off the escalators!

  • Jordi Camp

    A mí sí que me gusta. Es novedoso, para lo que hay en Nueva York