World Center for Human Concerns

The goal of this design study commissioned by the Max Protech Gallery New York was to derive a form that is unfamiliar and unintelligible, yet that provokes the perception of a sensuous figure in formation in order to yield a differentiated and dynamic experiential relation between volume and habitants. The 440 meter tall volume of the World Center is draped around the volume of Minoru Yamasaki’s Twin Towers, which are visible as vague figures through the textured and folded skins of the new building. The draping of the World Center’s skin around the volume of the twin towers articulates its volume as a set of interstitial spaces that escape a singular spatial hierarchy and homogenous relation between the built environment and its inhabitants. The scheme’s surface geometry articulates spaces, while its material make-up and striated articulation – similar to the one of to the previous Twin Towers – enables a modulated transparency of both the skin and the spaces within and beyond it. Together, the combined differential formal and material articulation and circulation-space enhance the differential experience. The scheme abandons the common high-rise organisation of central service and circulation-cores and uses instead the building skin as a space for circulation, with 120 vertical circulation channels nested within it – resulting in an infinite number of ways of getting around the building and facilitating social encounters en route.


Project Coordination: Michael Hensel, Achim Menges, Birger Sevaldson
Project Team: Morten Rask Gregersen, Lip Khoon Chiong, Jeff Turko