New York, 2106


The History Channel held a contest recently entitled Designing the City of the Future. Three finalists were chosen, one each from Los Angeles, Chicago and of course New York, by a panel that included notables such as Paul Goldberger, architecture critic for the New Yorker. But the final winner will be decided by a public online vote, so listen up.

ARO, one of my favorite architecture firms, won the New York entry, beating out ten entrants including big names such as Rogers Marvel (among others). In a previous Polis post, I dubbed ARO (Architecture Research Office) “smarchitects” as opposed to “starchitects,” a moniker they manage to exceed with a vision of New York in 2106.

Contestants had only seven days to come up with a model of the future, and what Adam Yarinsky and his team developed is a vision of New York recovering from massive flooding in low lying areas of New York as a result of global warming. In order to co-exist with fluctuating sea levels, ARO proposed a new building type called a “vane.” Part skyscraper, part viaduct, “vanes” are built in, on, and over flooded streets, reconnecting to the classic street grid and making up for lost square footage. The concept is mixed-use in a physical as well as philosophical sense, as both a throwback and a look forward, somehow imagining both a dystopian and utopian city of tomorrow, and reconnecting New York with its history as an archipelago.

The winning entry from Chicago also has a water theme; “eco-boulevards” will treat the city’s waste-water naturally via microorganisms. Interestingly, the city that arguably has the biggest water problem, i.e. lack thereof, is Los Angeles, yet that entry mostly avoided the water issue, focusing on massive public works projects.

To see a flickr page with tons of images of the ARO entry, click here, and then cast your vote on the History Channel’s website here.

16 Responses to New York, 2106

  1. […] (NYT) Sen. Bernie Sanders Will Push "Gold Standard" Global Warming Bill (Vermont Guardian)New York 2106: A Watery Vision (Polis) Crackdown? What Crackdown? Diplomats’ NYC Parking Fines Near $18 million (AMNY) Nassau […]

  2. Maldoror says:

    This is interesting but at the same time very saddening: now it’s not only imbecile human beings (republicans) who have decided that global warming is inevitable and that we have to adapt instead of fixing the problems. Architects have also joined in on that philosophy.

    I would have given the first prize to a project that would have created completely emission-free skyscrapers, buildings that use solar and other renewable energies. I would have done that in order to show that there’s still hope that humanity evolves and fixes its problems. Instead, giving the 1st prize to this project is a very pragmatic way of saying : we’re all doomed. But if we’re all doomed…what’s the use of even thinking about the future?

  3. Ben Yates says:

    Some global warming is inevitable, even if we cut pollution by 9/10ths right now. Saying we have to adapt does not equal saying we can’t do anything to prevent the warming from being even worse.

  4. Maldoror says:

    No Ben, what’s definitely wrong here is that I see no effort in this project to create zero-emission buildings. Don’t you find that pathetic? They simply adapt to a situation without any contribution to fixing the root of the problem. HORRIBLE. And very very very republican.

  5. Ben says:

    Are you joking?

    1. Neither of us has seen their entire presentation, only a summary of it; there’s no way to say for sure what’s included in it. (And remember that they had six days to come up with all this.)

    2. Most greenhouse gas comes from cars and factories, not from skyscrapers — skyscraper energy use is a vanishingly small fraction of total energy use.

    3. The very act of imagining a city and not a sprawl shows an effective line of offense against pollution.

    4. Most republicans would consider this type of project scaremongering: they don’t think global warming’s going to happen.

  6. […] I don’t want to know how many people are actually reading Polis, but holy cow, it seems that New York, 2106 has gotten some major play due to links from Curbed, UnBeige and another well-read blog that I was […]

  7. City of the Future Contest

    The History Channel recently ran a contest entitled The City of the Future: A Design and Engineering Challenge, where architecture firms were challenged to present their views of what New York, Chicago and Los Angeles should look like in 2106. Polis ha…

  8. jayarofarafixoxecn

    nice post

  9. global warming is becoming such a obvious problem that someone somewhere other than Al Gore needs to step up to help drive the bus!

  10. […] capitalist” mentality may actually foster preparedness, planning and all sorts of “cool” if fantastical rubericks for a neo-New York, as a city still wrapped with self love and reverence […]

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