Mark Foster Gage proposes elaborate gargoyle-covered skyscraper for New York

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New York architect Mark Foster Gage has proposed a 102-storey tower covered in Gothic sculptural elements for Manhattan, in response to the city's supertall skyscrapers that are "virtually free of architectural design" (+ movie).

Gage designed the highly decorative residential building for West 57th Street as an alternative to the more conventional skyscrapers currently springing up in Midtown.

41 West 57th Street by Mark Foster Gage Architects

"I think that many of the supertall buildings being built in New York City are virtually free of architectural design – they are just tall boxes covered in selected glass curtain wall products," said Gage, who serves as assistant dean at the Yale School of Architecture.



"That is not design," he added. "Design is thinking of a great many things like how a building appears from different distances, or in this case, how to make each floor unique to the owner."

41 West 57th Street by Mark Foster Gage Architects

"How to make it more than just floor-space in the sky but also something beautiful and hopefully more meaningful to them and the city."

His proposal features four enormous cantilevered balconies, supported by concrete carved wings that extend outwards from the structure's exterior.

41 West 57th Street by Mark Foster Gage Architects

Intricate details cover the tower: limestone-tinted concrete sculptures resemble the fronts of cars and propellers, while others serve as unconventional gargoyles.

The building is also decorated with symmetrical geometric shapes, placed on all four sides. Gage has suggested robotic CNC technology could be used to create the carvings.

41 West 57th Street by Mark Foster Gage Architects

Bronze and brass decorative details extend up the tower, and have been used to create cog-shaped elements at the base and curved sections that echo the forms of the wings further up the building.

At the top of the tower, a viewing platform is framed by sculptural metal details, including what appear to be the faces of pig-like creatures at each corner.

41 West 57th Street by Mark Foster Gage Architects

"Our primary interest wasn't symbolism as might have been the case with such sculptural forms a century ago," said the architect.

"Instead we were interested in having high and low resolution areas on the facade, so the building revealed different qualities from different viewing distances – including from the interior," he added.

102 storey tower by Mark Foster Gage Architects

The 64th floor of the building would include a sky lobby with various retail spaces, as well as a two-storey ballroom. Visitors will also be able to visit a restaurant that would offer "an awe-inspiring event and dining experience unique to the city of New York".

According to the architect, each of the apartments in the building will also have its own unique sculptural exterior, designed to "frame particular features of the surrounding urban and natural landscapes".

102 storey tower by Mark Foster Gage Architects

Other proposed designs for new towers for the city include ODA's residential tower with open-air terraces, and Dror Benshetrit's trio of proposals for residential buildings on different sites of New York.



However some New Yorkers have spoken out against the rise in super-tall skinny skyscrapers, claiming they could overshadow Central Park.

102 storey tower by Mark Foster Gage Architects

The architect was a founding partner at Gage/Clemenceau Architects from 2001 to 2013, and founded Mark Foster Gage Architects in 2014.

Images courtesy of Mark Foster Gage Architects.

  • DWLindeman

    Gage’s proposal here is too schematic. This is a shallow formalism. Does he really want to be the next Michael Graves? Sure, he’s imaginative, but architecture really has to be more than applied ornament that is dissociated from the Modernist culture of architecture (and this is what makes Gage different from a Robert Venturi).