The Innovative, Integrated Urbanism of Studio Gang's Architecture and Design

Last week, new building applications were submitted for Solar Carve, the glassy, futuristic commercial project from Chicago-based architecture firm Studio Gang. The 190-ft, 12-story  ultra-modern structure at 40–56 Tenth Avenue will have 116,205 sqft of commercial space and two floors designated to retail.

Solar Carve is a conceptual commercial space that explores molding a building for optimum solar access, as well as incorporating views of The High Line’s integrated green space in order to maximize the functionality of its form.

This sort of seamless integration of intuitive urban development with ecological sustainability  is the hallmark of Studio Gang’s mission and philosophy. Their architecture combines the needs of a community by designing structures that reflect the culture of their location. Their interior design develops spaces that echo and enhance the concept of the architecture that houses them. Both their architecture and design practices are implemented with urbanism as the springboard. Their focus on the lifestyle of urban dwellers means using geo-spatial services to create modern spaces that reflect the ethos of a community while fostering positive civic and cultural impact.

One such grand scale project is the behemoth, geologically-inspired extension to the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side. The plans for the Gilder Center Central Exhibition Hall, revealed this week by Studio Gang principal architect Jeanne Gang, will be composed of curving forms of structural concrete that create a flowing, stalactite-reminiscent structure with open spaces to let in the light from the vast, windowed facade. The design was inspired by ecological processes found in the natural world, with birds in flight and oceanic species suspended from the ceiling. Recessed niches will provide a diorama for exhibition elements while visualization theaters, gene mapping laboratories, and 3D imaging devices will bring accessibility to the museum’s scientific collections. The integrated design of the hall's space will allow for public assimilation with the museum on a tactile and visually impactful level, allowing the public to understand the complexity of science and nature through engagement.

Integrated urbanism in architectural design is a concept Jeanne Gang is eager to bring to the high-rise residential tower. Last month, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) held their 2015 CTBUH International Conference in New York at the Grand Hyatt in Midtown. Representing Studio Gang, she presented her new piece, entitled “Three Point of the Residential High-Rise: Designing for Social Connectivity”. In her presentation, she explains the challenges high-rise residential buildings face from an urbanism standpoint: it is difficult, for them to be socially integrated and connected to their surroundings. Their structures are, by design, insular and non-engaging. Gang explored a variety of design options that will improve the social connectivity of the high-rise residential tower in order to fully engage and integrate it with its urban landscape.

Studio Gang’s focus on architecture and design that not only reflect their surroundings but embrace and accommodate urbanism, is a vision that will ensure a cohesive fluidity between a community and the buildings that inhabit it.