Robin Venturi once said that “less is a bore.” Well, in New York City less is plainly not as profitable as more. Developers and architects have taken to pushing against space limits placed on projects by landmark or historical status. One way they do this is by crowning existing buildings with penthouse additions—a trend that has exploded as of late, according to a recent article in The New York Times.
Of course, these additions instantly become the most exclusive and expensive part of the development due to the views and sunlight afforded to the top floor. But they also give architects the chance to make a heroic, dramatic statement. Take Shigeru Ban’s recent proposal for a two-story white-metal glass cantilevered addition to the 132-year-old Cast Iron House in downtown Manhattan, which was unanimously approved by theLandmarks Preservation Commission:
A rendering of Shigeru Ban’s penthouse addition to the Cast Iron House. Photo: Hayes Davidson via The New York Times
This practice of placing a building on top of a building takes place all over the world. Sometimes these projects become memes, as was the case for a literal mountain home built on top of an apartment building in China:
Image via The Daily Mail.
The story of how a connected Chinese government official built the home over six years bounced around the Internet for a few weeks. And why not? The images are pretty incredible. In fact, the juxtaposition of new and old in these projects is stunning no matter the level of contrast.