Vertical Desire | Íñigo García Odiaga

Often we observe buildings that show a great desire for conquering the uprightness. It is immediate to think about the idea proportion, a concept that unties the royal height of an object or of a building of his desires of uprightness. A limited plant, opposite to one strong component in the axis Z guarantees the formalization of a tower though his height is not very high.

Landscape of setbacks in Manhattan |

But also it might be thought about another mechanism to conquer the vertical one, of accumulating or if it is preferred of piling up. To place an object on other one and other one more above, in a constant exercise of growing up. It is a law that does not have relation with the horizontal thing, to grow in height is his only aim. It is a simple but powerful law, governed secretly by the need to obtain the balance. On having mounted a piece on the previous one it is necessary to balance the set, and for it it is necessary to support the gravit axis of the set inside the low base, not to finish with all the pieces in the soil.

To support this premise is the guarantee to conquer the sky, and the architectures that from her arise, they accumulate pieces that rest some on others to achieve the vertical one.

Architectures of the antiquity like the pyramids staggered of Zoser or the Mayan zigurats, they are radical examples of this one formal structure. Structure that also Brueghel used to give form to his representation of the tower of Babel that was reaching the clouds, since since it demonstrates Brancusi in his infinite column to reach the sky only it is necessary to go piling up another piece on the previous one.

Equally the skyscrapers of the thirties that were aspiring to conquer the heights in New York or Chicago used this one simple formal norm to generate hundreds of buildings as the constructed ones for Raymond Hood, Ralph Thomas Walker or Ely Jacques Kahn. The building of 120 of Wall Street or that of 1400 of Broadway, you work both of Kahn, they are a good reflection of this managing of the height that as good explains Rem Koolhaas in Delirious New York, it obeys in addition an urban problem.

The 1400 of Broadway |

When in 1915 the construction of the Equitable Building concluded in Manhattan, there was stated that his shade was obtaining from natural light to four apples of the squared pattern of the island, and the city answered to this problem with the approval of the ordinance 1916 Zoning Resolution. Na regulation that was regulating the height forcing to constants setbacks, that originate this language of accumulated or piled up plants and that many have qualified as Wedding Cake Style, (style of wedding tart); and it is that in the end the logic of the formal mechanism of piling up dictates similar procedure for a tart or for a skyscraper. The application of a regulation that does not force to a few dimensions, but it implies formal laws, together with the obligatiry nature imposed by the promoters to exhaust the utilization of the lots, they generated a wide range of solutions, which construct the urban landscape of Manhattan. A landscape of diverse buildings, of changeable heights and profiles aterrazados that in spite of the diversity, they present a formal similar genetics due to the municipal ordinance, which grants to the set a certain unit.

It turns out to be showy to verify as contemporary architects as SANAA they have assumed this creative law to develop buildings in Manhattan. The volumetry of the New Museum of Contemporary Art, inaugurated in 2007, obeys the formal structure of an apilamiento. The building is alike a battery of boxes, of containers of art, which unlike the classic centered skyscrapers, investigate the limits of the balance, being overflown and misaligned some with regard to others, breaking this way the continuity of the backbone, tensing the set. It might be interpreted that in spite of 1916 Zoning Resolution does not have to fulfill the ordinance, SANAA was trying to reinterpret the formal key that characterizes the big buildings of the city of the skyscrapers. It is not an excessively high building, and it it is less still in a city as New York, but for against the laws that define his form they turn it into a tower. In a tower of piled up boxes that vibrate for his desire to conquer the vertical one.

Íñigo García Odiaga . architect

San Sebastián. march 2013

Íñigo García Odiaga

Doctor Arquitecto y profesor asociado de Proyectos Arquitectónicos, ETSASS. Editor de NOMU. 1/5 del estudio de arquitectura VAUMM. Vivo en Donosti.

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