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Nouvel to In-Spire Manhattan with Midtown Tower

nouvel.jpgThe Museum of Modern Art is getting a new–or should we say Nouvel–neighbor. The architectural firm of Jean Nouvel (who we hope will one day tread the boards in an all-starchitect cast of The King and I) was recently declared the winner of the Tour de Verre competition, sponsored by real estate firm Hines and Goldman Sachs. Nouvel’s preliminary design (see rendering at left) calls for a 75-story tower betwixt 53rd and 54th Streets that will house a 7-star, 100-room hotel, 120 residences, and a 50,000-square-foot expansion of MoMA’s gallery space. Tapering into a spire, the building will have a glass and steel facade with a diagrid structure, making it look like the taller, pointy-hatted, artsy cousin of Norman Foster‘s Hearst Tower a few blocks north.

Nouvel had this to say about the building’s design in a recent interview with Edwin Heathcote of the Financial Times:

We stuck very closely to the abstract forms of the diagrams but that created a very complex and irregular form. Because of that strange shape we had to put all the structure around the perimeter. The result is a kind of net of random shapes and the idea was to live in the structure, to be conscious of it.

Nouvel goes on to compare the building, which “changes shape as it ascends,” to “three fingers pointing into the sky.” And just as Frank Gehry did with his glacier-like headquarters for Barry Diller‘s InterActiveCorp, Nouvel has thought a lot about the building’s night-time lighting, promising that “it will make it look like it has blood running through the veins of the structure.”

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