The hanging gardens of… New York

Daniel Libeskind, the New York based architect (who designed the Freedom Tower to replace the World Trade Center), is also working on this ‘New York Tower’ which is a kind of 21st century ‘hanging garden skyscraper’:

It is currently in the design phase. More info on the architect’s website.

Well – hit, miss or maybe? It’s striking and seems innovative and eco-friendly with all that ‘high up’ greenery. It would be amazing to look up and see a mini forest in the sky. Having said all that, I am not a fan of skyscrapers as I mentioned before, when discussing the London Shard which is currently going up. I do appreciate the grandeur and artistic intent, but since 9/11 I have a fear of all buildings over 10 storeys. And having vertigo doesn’t help.

Vertigo

new york construction 1950s

I had a bad dream last night. The dream involved me being stuck at the top of a skyscraper from which I couldn’t get off. This nightmare was feeding off my long held fear of heights.

I’m not sure from where this phobia originates. I don’t mind sitting by the window on an aircraft and looking out as the plane takes off, watching the ground disappear beneath me. But it’s a quite different story when it comes to buildings.

I couldn’t work in a high-rise building. Pre- 9/11 I might have been able to. But not now. There’s something about the helplessness of being stuck at the top of a building, unable to get off, that plays to my worst fears. Being trapped. 9/11 was horrific in a million and one ways, but those forced to jump (estimated at over 200) from 110 storeys up is the thing that left me the most traumatized, especially having seen it played out live on TV.

I remember last year watching (and blogging about) the exceptionally good film documentary Man on Wire. It was really gripping. How that Frenchman could desire so strongly to cross over from one tower to the next, walking on just a tightrope, is beyond me. It made me quite sick to watch but I couldn’t help but remain fascinated.

Don’t look down

I blogged very recently about a fear of heights. The tallest building in the US – the Sears Tower in Chicago – has just installed a Skydeck which consists of solid glass boxes that extend outward from its 103rd floor. You can walk out onto them and look down through solid glass to ground level 1,353 feet below.

One word: terrifying.

And no, I could not step out onto them. The thought of being 103 floors above the ground with nothing more than glass beneath my feet is too much.

The Shard – London

The Shard – London

The London Shard is currently being built here in London. It will be the tallest structure in Western Europe.

Whilst I’m not against tall buildings, I’m not convinced that putting it in the London Bridge area was the best thing to do. Skyscrapers should be contained to Canary Wharf instead of encroaching on the City itself. I know we have the Gherkin and Tower 42, but they are a lot smaller than the Shard.

This is an ancient and incredibly historic city and this building is going to seriously affect the skyline – however pretty the artist impressions, below. Frankly I’m surprised it was granted permission.

Artist impressions © Sellar Property Group whose website is far too CPU and bandwidth intensive for my liking.

This is how the space will be used, as it’s a ‘mix use’ building (click for full-size):

shard-london-layout