The stair-stacked design for 2 World Trade Center. DBOX for Bjarke Ingels Group

A new Bjarke Ingels design for 2 World Trade Center rounds out the complex with hard edges that still blend in.  

Bjarke Ingels, the Danish architect behind the emerging pyramid on W. 57th Street in Manhattan and numerous other sci-fi buildings around the world, released the designs for 2 World Trade Center today. It’s the fourth and final piece of the World Trade Center suite, a swap for the tower originally designed by Foster+Partners.

The new design—which architects at Bjarke Ingels Group labeled “Project Gotham,” Ingels tells Wired—is the latest proof that Manhattan has gone square. Whereas 1 World Trade, as well as the prior design for 2 WTC by Norman Foster, featured sharp angles and sleek surfaces, the BIG tower is a stack of blocky volumes. One that threatens to outshine the Freedom Tower.

A rendering for 2 World Trade Center, the fourth and final World Trade Center tower. (Bjarke Ingels Group)

BIG’s signature stacked-volume design progresses from largest (near the building’s podium) to smallest (at the top). Thanks to the offset stack, the building appears to have a different shape depending on the viewer’s vantage point. From one angle, the building looks like a staircase. From another, the stair-step pattern seems to run in the other direction. The building will be the headquarters for 21st Century Fox and News Corp, and Ingels worked with James Murdoch, son of Rupert, to envision the new project, according to Wired.  

BIG’s new project isn’t the first to adopt block-like units in the pursuit of a great statement. And not the first tower design to surpass 1 World Trade Center, either. The matchstick design of 432 Park Avenue, which appears to be made of hundreds of tiny cubes, is already an architectural icon. Whoever is designing these modular-looking projects at Rafael Viñoly Projects is helping to build a new design vocabulary for early 21st-century Manhattan—crisp yet playful, severe but not serious about it.

Rafael Viñoly designed the tower for 432 Park Avenue. (CIM group/Macklowe Properties)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    Lots of Americans Want to Move. Just Not Very Far.

    An Apartment List report reveals the cities apartment-hunters are targeting for their next move—and shows that tales of a California exodus may be overstated.

  2. photo: San Diego's Trolley
    Transportation

    Out of Darkness, Light Rail!

    In an era of austere federal funding for urban public transportation, light rail seemed to make sense. Did the little trains of the 1980s pull their own weight?

  3. photo: subway in NYC
    Transportation

    Inside Bloomberg's $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

    Drawing on his time as New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg proposes handing power and money to urban leaders as part of his Democratic presidential bid.

  4. Transportation

    In Paris, a Very Progressive Agenda Is Going Mainstream

    Boosted by big sustainability wins, Mayor Anne Hidalgo is pitching bold plans to make the city center “100 percent bicycle” and turn office space into housing.

  5. Environment

    Housing Discrimination Made Summers Even Hotter

    The practice of redlining in the 1930s helps explain why poorer U.S. neighborhoods experience more extreme heat.

×