With cities growing as fast as lightning in the current climate, it seems we are forever negotiating scaffolding and construction hoardings on every sidewalk. Typically, these utilitarian structures are not pretty: they are designed to function as necessary, formed by tunnels of plywood, canopies of plastic sheets and netting, and a spider’s web of steel tubes. However, Zaha Hadid Architects is out to prove these temporary eye sores need be nothing of the sort, transforming a protective construction shed into an ephemeral sculpture upon one of New York’s most celebrated triumphs of urban design — the High Line.
Left: Allongé temporary installation; Right: Rendering of 520 West 28th Street, New York.
The art installation — entitled Allongé — has been erected to protect those walking along the High Line’s paths from any construction debris that might fall from Hadid’s debut building in New York City, an 11-story condo at 520 West 28th Street. The apartment building will house 39 units with luxury specifications (naturally!) and possesses plenty of ZHA’s signature curves and zigzags, forming a concertina of glossy black steel and glass.
The 112-foot-long canopy is made from a thick, silver-colored fabric stretched taut over a swooping steel frame in a manner reminiscent of the architect’s tensile structure hovering alongside the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London. According to Hadid, Allongé is “inspired by the connectivity and dynamism of movement along the High Line,” flowing along this stretch of the famous linear park like a frozen wave of curling breakwater.
Greg Gushee, Executive Vice President of developer Related Companies (the clients for ZHA’s West 28th Street condo), spoke of his delight at the piece: “Our collaboration with Ms. Hadid has been exceptional, and we are thrilled to unveil this new installation, designed to beautify the necessary overhead protection system. This beautiful installation serves as a civic gesture to the neighborhood, embracing the innovative and artistic spirit of West Chelsea.”
520 West 28th Street is scheduled for completion in 2016.