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This proposal was commissioned by New York's Downtown Alliance to generate ideas for an underused site in Lower Manhattan. WORKac proposed a series of experimental new housing typologies, stacked in a 45-story building. Each housing type is expressed as an independent section, rotated around the building's core to take full advantage of sunlight and views. Each section's rooftop is a different ecosystem.
The concept of the “Plug-Out” is that a single building can provide the necessary ecological infrastructure for a neighborhood, allowing it to “plug out” from the city grid and performing what we call “urban dialysis” filtering and cleaning water and providing energy which is then fed back into the surrounding district. The tower's core, linking the various sections with structure and vertical transportation, provides this infrastructure. The core is divided into waste and water systems moving down one side and heat-producing systems moving up the other, criss-crossing at points to generate public programs.
On the water/waste side, rainwater is harvested for toilets, irrigation, hydroponic farming, laundry, & fish farming. Grey water is cleaned in the Grey Water Wetland and reused in toilets and irrigation. Black water is cleaned and recycled in a treatment facility to be moved back up the tower into the energy systems. Heat and energy are created via composting, a “waste to power incinerator”, geothermal heating, solar powered facades, traffic wind turbines and a co-generation plant to create public baths, a hot yoga center and warmed earth for urban camping. At the top of the building is the Eco-Research school, PS 2030 (in honor of the mayor's PlaNYC 2030).
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Located near Tiananmen Square, the 490,485-square-foot glass-and-titanium National Grand Theater, scheduled to open in 2008, seems to float above a man-made lake. Intended to stand out amid the Chinese capital's bustling streets and ancient buildings, the structure has garnered criticism among Bejing's citizens for clashing with classic landmarks like the Monument to the People's Heroes (dedicated to revolutionary martyrs), the vast home of the National People's Congress, or Tiananmen Gate itself (the Gate of Heavenly Peace).
French architect Paul Andreu is no stranger to controversy -- or to innovative forms. A generation ago, in 1974, his untraditional design for Terminal 1 of Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport was criticized for its unusual curves, yet Andreu's groundbreaking, futuristic building later was seen to distinguish de Gaulle from more generic European and international air hubs. (The same airport's Terminal 2E, also designed by Andreu, gained attention in 2004 when it collapsed, tragically killing four people.)
Beijing's daring National Grand Theater is as much a spectacle as the productions that will be staged inside in the 2,416-seat opera house, the 2,017-seat concert hall, and the 1,040-seat theater. At night, the semi-transparent skin will give passersby a glimpse at the performance inside one of three auditoriums, a feature that highlights the building's public nature.