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Green Dreams on Madison Square

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Six years after Daniel Libeskind alighted in the middle of the World Trade Center circus, bearing images of glass towers dripping with sky gardens, the architect has unveiled a proposal for his first New York building: a glass tower dripping with sky gardens. Libeskind’s One Madison Avenue would swoop up next to, and past, the 700-foot Met Life tower. One diagram in Libeskind’s new book, Counterpoint, suggests that the 54-story condo, hovering on columns over an existing building, could top out just shy of 937 feet (Rem Koolhaas’s proposed 23 East 22nd Street is a block away.) Initial designs show a glass-curtained tube with cutaways spiraling up and around the façade to reveal segments of terraced verdure, like cultivated patches on the side of a steep alpine slope. We didn’t just fill up the tower, the architect says. We’ve taken space away [from the apartments] to create the gardens, which are actually balconies tucked within the envelope. It’s as if nature has come back into the city, he says. The whole project has an air of fantasy about it, but the developer is betting that the current fiscal misery will end before the approvals process does. The assumption is that by the time construction starts, we’re going to be looking at a different economy, Lloyd Kaplan, an Elad spokesman, says.

See Also: The Liberation of Daniel Libeskind

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