Skygrove: NYC Architects Reimagine Office Building for World of Water

Described by the designers as part environmental infrastructure and part vertical office park, Skygrove was conceived for a future where the natural environment is “predictably unpredictable” and the line between land and sea becomes increasingly blurred, particularly in coastal urban areas like New York City.

From New York City-based architects HWKN’s Matthias Hollwich and Marc Kushner comes Skygrove: a one million-square-foot design concept for a commercial office building that operates in a wetter world.

Described by the designers as part environmental infrastructure and part vertical office park, Skygrove was conceived for a future where the natural environment is “predictably unpredictable” and the line between land and sea becomes increasingly blurred, particularly in coastal urban areas like New York City. Indeed, the architects note that “today’s binary coastal relationship of dry land opposing the sea will become blurred by rising sea levels, persistent coastal flooding, storm surges and tsunamis.”

The Skygrove concept was created to visualize what architecture might look like in an era of rising seas, not only to protect tenants from their implications but to “capitalize on their potential.” Skygrove’s architecture is, of course, biophilic: its lower floors mimic the roots of a tree growing in a tidal location. Each floor in Skygrove is self-sufficient and “designed for independent survival in a maximum disaster,” connected by a compartmentalized facade with the tower’s necessary infrastructure: vertical circulation, water, energy, and air supply.

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