TABLE OF CONTENTS

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.

#image

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.