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New York, New York | As the city takes stock in a post-boom era, Axis Mundi sees this as the time to rethink the tall buildings that have become synonymous with New York City’s identity, proposing a conceptual alternative to 53W53rd, among the city’s largest skyscraper projects in one of the most overbuilt parts of Midtown.


The Vertical Neighborhood
Instead of disguising the tower’s mix of uses by containing them within a unitary, homogeneous form, the Axis Mundi design expresses that diversity in a re-organized way, reflecting an emerging reality for tall buildings as collections of domestic elements: dwellings, neighborhoods, streets.


This architectural diversity starts with a double-ring, multi-level floor-plan unit, anchored by two cores that run the full height of the building, containing elevators, stairs and other vertical services. The ring units, called “SmartBlocks” make possible a wide variety of floor plans. By varying the mix of units, the design leaves space for vertical fissures that move irregularly up the tower. These bring light and breezes into the open centers and frame spectacular, theatrical vistas to the city through the building’s own structure.


This proposal suggests new expressive possibilities in an urbanism of difference rather than of homogeneity. In a city where more than 300 languages are spoken, architecture can celebrate that diversity rather than see it as a problem that must be solved.


Height: approx. 600 ft.
Floors: 50 above, 2 below
Building Footprint: 17,000 sq. ft.
MoMA Expansion Galleries: 32,500 sq. ft.
Design Team: John Beckmann, CarloMaria Ciampoli, James Coleman (LAN), Nick Messerlian,
Pauline Marie d’Avigneau, and Taina Pichon
Parametric Modeling: CarloMaria Ciampoli, James Coleman (LAN)
Renderings: Orchid 3D
Illustration: Michael Wartella
© Axis Mundi Design LLC