with Vincent Meyer Madaus
for Urban Omnibus (The Architectural League), topos & MONU
In 2019, after the New York City Council had already passed a series of laws governing future roof uses for more sustainable and economic development, it became apparent that as our cities top out horizontally, it would be imperative to examine its vertical growth, studying the city’s crowns in their role as a barrier, canvas, and outlet to the built fabric.
Laid out as an extensive visual and projective research, the historical and prognosticated narrative of the roofscape combined with the recent paradigm shift has warranted to approach the subject from different angles and resulting in a trilogy of analyses, highlighting the a) ecological value, b) programmatic potential, and c) pandemic repercussions of New York City’s roofs. In the beginning, the city is looked at from the perspective of 2040 with means of both historic and speculative idiosyncrasies, starting from the observation that the roof harbors great potential for everything that would not fit or work downstairs. The roof space is an outlet to the congested city, a backyard above, and privy to a programmatic injection of all sorts: ecological as demanded by recent legislation, extracurricular as seen a lot in down time, or utilitarian as expansions to the living space below.
The results vary in regards to extent and dedication, agencies involved, and goals achieved but effectively foresee growing green tops to a concrete metropolis. Dialing back to 2020, this city is suddenly experiencing an acceleration of developments on all levels, utterly transformed by the mechanics of a rolled out pandemic. The same roofs are tackled by a form of hardware store urbanism and personal refuge in isolation. The distancing below continues above, as singular roofs turn into social islands: waving connections of stranded individuals.
“Upstairs New York: An Infovisual Projection on the City’s Future Roofscape” frames the immediacy of these trends under the hypothesis that NYC has the ability to turn its lead role in environmental sustainability from a local enabler to a global inspirer. T lays out the fundamentals of the roof as a new architectural hotspot beyond technical necessities, in order to then multiply possibilities for everyday reuse on the top of buildings across the city and the world.
New York, USA