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  • 03.30.16

This Insane Skyscraper Shouldn’t Be Built Around Central Park–But It Should Exist

Digging up all of Manhattan’s crown jewel and surrounding it with a massive glass-covered building might be a step too far. But this building design should be built somewhere.

It’s quite hard to even comprehend the specifics of the “horizontal skyscraper” designed by Yitan Sun and Jianshi Wu. It’s so obviously absurd. What they describe as “New York Horizon” will never, can never, and should never come to pass. But that’s not to say it’s without merit. It’s a conceptual leap that, in other ways, could be groundbreaking.

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“Is there a way to make Central Park available to more people?” ask the designers. “Our proposal is a hybrid multifunctional mega-structure. Not by building up, but by digging down, it reveals the bedrock (mountain) that was hidden under Central Park, and creates space along the new cliff.”

In other words, Sun and Wu’s skyscraper would first involve digging down 100 feet or so into the ground of Central Park, and then surrounding the new lower Central Park with a new massive building along its seven-mile stretch. The building would be lined with a wall of glass, “creating an illusion of infinity” when you viewed it from across the park. Central Park would be reborn as a sort of wilderness at the center of the city—presumably with many favorite areas, such as Belvedere Castle, destroyed by the development. “In the heart of New York City, a New Horizon is born,” say the designers, forgoing to mention how it would tear apart the very center of Manhattan.

“New York Horizon” was given first prize at eVolo’s latest skyscraper competition, and you guess the judges chose it for inventiveness over practicality. You could imagine places other than Central Park where it might be more workable, though–where burying architecture could be fun. Let’s get this built somewhere.

About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.

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