New York City’s West 57th Street is becoming a booming forest of tall, skinny skyscrapers that soar above Central Park with a nearly indistinguishable blandness.
Mark Foster Gage is having none of it. The New York City–based architect has designed an extravagant skyscraper for a mystery client (whose name the architect is withholding per the client’s request) that borrows from the Gothic flourishes of architectural monuments past.
The 1,492-foot-tall, 102-story concrete-framed skyscraper at 41 West 57th St. would contain 91 residential units, with a sky lobby, retail space, four-star restaurant, and ballroom on the 64th floor. Its façade would be covered with limestone-tinted panels, bronze, and brass, according to a project description, and each unit would have “its own unique figurally carved façade.”
Gage said in a project description that many of the ultra-high-rise buildings going up in New York City are “tall boxes” that are “virtually free of architectural design.” His proposed luxury skyscraper “would aesthetically add to the city,” he said, “rather than merely occupy a place in it.” He added: “People, in particular wealthy people, are beginning again to seek actual uniqueness, even beauty, rather than just allowing their residences to be generic real estate equations in the sky.”
Gage said that his design is a stylistic rebuttal to the “glass or steel modernist box[es]” whose 20th-century aesthetic dominates the New York skyline. But to the naked eye, renderings of the ornamental flourishes on the façade—which seem all the more over the top given the building’s astonishing height—recall a video game designer’s interpretation of the kind of Gothic excess associated with Paris’ Notre Dame or the Chartres Cathedral, not a visionary new silhouette to redefine the future of the world’s most celebrated skyline.
Nevertheless, if the building is constructed, no stonemasons will be harmed in its making. Gage, who is also assistant dean and associate professor at the Yale School of Architecture, has conducted research on robotic stone carving and claims that technology could execute intricate work that might have taken artisans decades in the past.
Check out the video below for a slow scroll from bottom to top of the proposed design: