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A Modern Twist on New York City’s Historic Buildings in ‘New(er) York’ Experiment by HWKN

“Designing a landmark means designing for longevity,” says the architects who devised the unusual architectural experiment ‘New(er) York”. Hollwich Kushner (HWKN) started a design research project that transforms the architectural style of historic New York buildings from Gothic Revival and Art Deco to contemporary architecture. “Our goal was to maintain the personality and longevity of these buildings without copying their ornamentation,” says the architects.

214 West 29th Street, before and after. Image Courtesy of Hollwich Kushner

HWKN selected 12 of New York’s historic landmarks and created 3D models for their existing forms. Then, they started eliminating the complex details and ornamentations from these models, leaving out only forms and proportions. The massing of these forms was modified in a way that contemporizes them while maintaining their original character, and the façades were restyled with modern construction techniques in mind. The buildings which were chosen for the experiment include the Empire State, One Wall Street, 214 West 29th Street, and The Eldorado.

One Wall Street, before and after. Images: left, Via Wikimedia in public domain; right, Courtesy of Hollwich Kushner

“This design research is a first step, showcasing one example of how we can use the history of a place to inform new construction for the future,” says HWKN about their experiment. “There is an endless amount of inspiration we can take from different cities and different eras, and this is what we love about architecture.”

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