A futuristic, thousand-foot, 70-story tower is being proposed for the 80 South Street site that was once slated for Santiago Calatrava’s equally fantastic “Sky Cube” tower that was a 2008 credit crisis casualty. Recently, Queens-based developer Cord Meyer selected a concept from Morali Architects which would include a series of 3000-square-foot gardens – each with its own urban farm – located within “cut-out” spaces every ten stories. The cutouts are a deliberate reference to spaces between each cube (individual condos that would have sold for $10 million each) in the original Calatrava design.
But although there are some design similarities, according to Mr. Morali, who spoke recently with the Observer, the goal of the project is to “integrate sustainability and gardens.” So, in addition to providing food for local eateries (Jean Georges is noted in the Observer piece as being interested) the gardens are designed to give residents a sense of both community and place, transporting them both physically and visually away from the bustle of the city below into an oasis with flowers, trees, and crops. The architecture of the tower itself aims to imitate the angles and waves of water’s surface, referencing the East River just to the south.
Mr. Morali’s design remains in its early stages – still without any input from the Department of Buildings, which will certainly take a close look at the concept given the damage that remains throughout the neighborhood from Hurricane Sandy. If completed, the tower would encompass 300,000 square feet with a hotel occupying its lower floors and residential space above.