BIG's latest project, the Cross # Tower, takes four minimalist high-rise blocs and combines them in a jarring gravity-defying tic-tac-toe composition. The 280,000 square foot complex consists of two towers that act as pylons to brace the other two blocs, which have been flipped on their sides and suspended in the air. The resultant "#" form achieves a delicate weaving of solid and void, of private and public space, that connects different sections of the complex mid-air. The tower, which is being planned for Yongsan International Business District of Seoul, envisions a new, close-knit residential unit, whose inhabitants are endeared to one another by the services and community space afforded to them by the structure's form.
The Cross # Tower sees BIG reaching back into the vaults of conceptual '80s architectural projects, particularly the first stage of Steven Holl's career, but also mining more recent territory, taking Peter Eisenman, Richard Meier, Charles Gwathmey, and (naturally) Steven Holl's World Trade Center proposal and MVRDV's controversial "Cloud" towers from last year as notable examples. The "typology", whereby Manhattan 'skybridges' are aggrandized to the scale of monumental infrastructure, large enough to contain a variety of spatial orders, has long existed in the imagination of 20th century architects, but has been manifested in only a handful of built structures.
As with all of these precedents, the Cross # Tower's form actively increases the square footage of community space, or as BIG calls it, "green" space, to foster a social platform for the complex's inhabitants. The top longitudinal sides of the rotated oblongs are treated with vast greenscapes, complete with lolling artificial hills, gardens, exercise tracks, cafes, and playgrounds where residents can flirt, converse, and stroll with their children. The project essentially condenses a neighborhood (or at least, a diagrammatic model of one) into the arms of the three-dimensional "#", creating a seductive if overly simplistic vision that projects a more sober and thoroughly apolitical view of the "city in the sky."