Urban Escapism Tower, Wall Street Office Building, New York, US
Concept and Planning stage, 2018
The Financial District in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, is one of the city’s busiest areas, where space to escape is highly valued and sought after. The ‘Urban Escapism Tower’ project proposes creating small, almost secret, pockets of space within a typical working environment usually found in business office blocks. Each pocket is designed to contain a dream-like and relaxing environment which offers a sense of escape away from the more repressive corporate surroundings; the aim is to provide mini-oases of peace that seem detached from the working offices, yet are physically integrated into the private working space. Within these, employees are able to disconnect from the tempo and demands of professional life.
Pockets, though modest in size, are communal to ensure a sense of togetherness and cooperation (though some do contain individual ‘quiet rooms’). Their vertical layout and size help differentiate the ambiance within from the city dynamic of Manhattan; one can feel serene in such a spot without losing sight of the fact that they are still within the city.
The randomised locations of the pockets throughout the tower accentuate a feeling of withdrawal into a different, more tranquil world where one has the ability to lose one’s self in a little piece of nature without the actual need for greenery (and the maintenance thereof) thanks to the interior design; curves and smooth surfaces make up part of the picturesque landscapes depicted within the pockets. This change in environment, from that of the typical refined office space to a more organic setting, can aid in improving productivity when combined with a healthy break from work.
Tower Location & the Need for Detachment:
The tower is located along Wall Street which is connected to Water Street. The Wall Street location and the link with Water Street bring the chaos of constant traffic and high footfall. As such, having a form of escape, whilst still being able to earn a living, is certainly beneficial.
The design plans for the tower went through several iterations, each with its own ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ (see the design iterations in the drawings presented on this page) before a final one was chosen whereby the pockets were located up both sides of the building and offset against the working spaces.
These include ‘hidden parks’, tea-points, meeting spaces, individual ‘quiet rooms’, etc. These various uses mean that a wealth of different activities can be engaged in by any person looking to take their mind off of work. In enabling disengagement from the pressures of professional life, these ‘dream pockets’ embody a variety of urban escape that does not entail physically leaving the building, let alone the city itself!
Construction Process of the 1:100 scale physical model by Ana Sidorova.