Jenga, anyone? This crazy kaleidoscope of architectural wonder is architect John Beckmann and his firm, Axis Mundi‘s alternative (and we mean alternative) vision of the much-discussed 53 W. 53rd site, where New York City’s Museum of Modern Art is planning its expansion. Absolutely unforgettable with its trippy design, the stacked building is an obvious homage to the technicolor treasures that would be housed within its walls. To make things even more interesting, Axis Mundi explains that its concept is a revolutionary way to express and organize tall buildings as Vertical Neighborhoods (imagine taking a row of several city blocks, ripping it out of the ground, and turning it on its side). Does this kooky new design blow famed architect Jean Nouvel‘s vision of the MoMA out of the water? You tell us.
Structurally, Beckmann envisions the tower would start with a double-ring, multi-level floor-plan unit, anchored by two cores containing elevators, stairs and other vertical services. Called “SmartBlocks” the jenga-like units allow for a variety of configurations. Single-unit layouts can mix with duplex, or triplex layouts. The units can shift in and out, adding rich texture to the surface, creating vertical garden space, and linking the units in unique ways.
The staggered layers of the Axis Mundi design leave space for vertical fissures that move irregularly up the tower. These bring natural light and breezes into the open areas of the double-ring units and frame theatrical vistas of the city through the building’s own structure. Neighbors can pass and greet each other along airy bridges and balconies rather than scurry by each other in long, dark hallways.
Which do YOU prefer?