When it comes to skyscrapers, we put a lot of trust in architects. We have to trust that they know what they’re doing, and these seemingly impossible buildings are safe to be in and around. It’s even harder to trust what used to be known as the Citicorp or Citigroup Center, now 601 Lexington Avenue, whose bottom floors are like four stilts, holding 50 stories of building above them. It looks like a strong wind would blow the whole structure over. And when the building was constructed in 1977, before some emergency repairs, that was true.
Have you ever seen an interesting building and wondered if it was old, new, or somewhere in between? If so, there’s a good chance you were looking at one of Morris Adjmi‘s creations. This is the brilliance of the architect–his buildings focus on the fundamentals of design, blending in with their historic surroundings, but still showcasing subtle, modern touches that make them unique.
While Adjmi’s contemporaries seem to be in a race to build the tallest, glassiest building in town, he has become the go-to architect for downtown developers thanks to his utilitarian- and industrial-influenced designs. After opening his own firm MA in 1997, Adjmi gained permanent notoriety with the Scholastic Building in SoHo, a 2001 project he collaborated on with Pritzker Prize winner Aldo Rossi. It was the first example of new construction in the SoHo Cast-Iron Historic District, and architecture Paul Goldberger said it was “a building that will teach generations of architects the proper way to respond to historic contexts.”
Just moments ago, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban was announced at the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. The 56-year old architect, who has offices in Tokyo, Paris, and NYC, is known for his elegant and innovative applications of unconventional materials such as paper and corrugated plastic in his structures, for both private international clients and in disaster relief efforts. Jump ahead to see some of his best works, including the Metal Shutter Houses, located right here in NYC.