By: Giuseppe De Marinis Gallo & Gianluca Gnisci
Manhattan is the most densely populated borough of New York City. It is also one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with a census-estimated 2015 population of 1,644,518 living in a land area of 22.83 square miles (59.13 km2). For the building site we chose one of the world's most iconic skyscrapers, the Flatiron Building. It is a triangular 22-story steel-framed building located at 175 Fifth Avenue designed in 1902 by Daniel Burnham.
The project of a new wooden building, built on the roof of the Flatiron, redraws the skyline of an important urban area in New York, Madison Square Park. The new building is 4-storey: the first three storeys are for residents, with apartments of different sizes (from 50 to 95 m2), providing accommodation for different social groups; the top floor houses public spaces: a gym, a shared laundry room, a bar/restaurant, a winter garden facing south and a rooftop terrace.
The building system is based on the adoption of a "structural bay": a simple, repeatable and adaptable to any shape element. It derives from the use of Kerto-S LVL 75x600 mm used for both composite pillars and for the main beams. Kerto-Ripa, housing the passage of the systems, completes the design of the floor.
The versatility of the "structural bay" allows it to adapt to the different structural rythm of 3 facades of the Flatiron. Prerogative of the project is to connect the new building to the old one through the continuity of the field lines of the vertical weights. The stylistic image of the building, expression of to a specific historical period, gives way to the image of the constructive act: the tectonics of the facade becomes architecture; the structure has in itself an aesthetic value.
The window closing system allows the building to appear different according to the different use made by its inhabitants. It may look like a wooden block on the roof of the Flatiron, or it may open up the view in order to see and be seen.
In addition, the strategies adopted to reduce the consumption of CO2 led to the choice of a roof with photovoltaic panels for the use of renewable energy, to the almost exclusive use of wood as building material, and to passive bioclimatic solutions as the two shafts for natural ventilation and lighting that pass through the building. These solutions, together with a social and functional mixité to which the project aims, are at the basis of the idea of sustainable city.