Second prize – large-scale interventions



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.

The Designers: ​Giuseppe De Marinis Gallo​ & ​​Gianluca Gnisci

Giuseppe De Marinis Gallo​ & ​​Gianluca GnisciGiuseppe De Marinis Gallo (1989), Italian architect, author of an award-winning degree thesis on architectural reconstruction. Work experiences in both Italy and Spain.

Gianluca Gnisci (1987), Italian architect and PhD. Trained in Italy and Germany. He combines the research activity with architectural design at different scales.

They established as a team in summer 2016, participating in several design contests. Their future goal is a lasting professional collaboration.


Stefan Winter:

A challenging proposal! It is well designed and takes into acoount the constructive context of the existing building. With respect to the incidental fire sprinklers in this building, also fire safety is solvable, taking into account new solutions to create self-extinguishing wooden structures.

Mike Kane:

A thorough and comprehensive entry. Convincing in its real potential to be actually built. A deceptively simple approach to building on a well known landmark.


City Above the City architecture competition

Plan B : City Above the City architecture competition 

Metsä Wood challenged architects and students around the world to push the boundaries of modern wood building design in the urban environment. Entrants from 40 countries created their Plan B to urbanisation using wood (Kerto® LVL – laminated veneer lumber) as the main material. The task was to design a wooden extension to an existing urban building. The entries were designed to 69 cities worldwide.

The winners


Tammelan Kruunu by Lisa Voigtländer (Germany) and SungBok Song (Korea)



Lightweight Living by Joshua Duncan & Chaz Flint​


Plug-In by Jari Lonka, Francesco Allaix & Lilja Mustila


Aboveall by Giuseppe De Marinis Gallo​ & ​​Gianluca Gnisci​​​


The Green Intervention by Minjae Kim &​​ Kwang Ja Oh​


Dear Landlord by Nile Greenberg​


Vertical Lilong by Luis Fco. Romero Martinez & Sandra Gomez Alba​


Colliding Lines and Lives by Sinan Gunay & Nurhayat Oz​​


Dachkiez,Village On The Roof​ by Sigurd Larsen, Simon Jendreizig, Vanessa Panagiotopoulou, Marlene Kjeldsen, Guillermo Fernandez Villar & Pedro Campos Altozano​

Explore the designs