PRINT March 2006

UN Studio

The building is primarily envisaged as an urban icon, a reference point for the reconstruction of a new identity for the city.

UN STUDIO PURPOSES a twenty-first-century library for a Newer Orleans. “Our vision is to understand the building as a tool for reestablishing a balanced ecology between culture and commerce, neighborhoods and larger units,” the designers say, putting forward a complex structure that attempts to reconcile the many dichotomies of the pre-Katrina city.

For inspiration they look to the archetypal ziggurat, a stepped pyramid form that recurs in cultures across the globe (thus belonging to none exclusively)—transforming it into an irregular zigzag of linear volumes wrapped in a crystalline glass skin. As the form twists upward, it creates both interior spaces and exterior greenswards, alternately becoming of, in, and outside the natural landscape in a way that rebuts any contention that the rebuilders of a city must choose sides in a struggle between humans and their environment.


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