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October marks New York City’s annual celebration of architecture and design, and Inhabitat is kicking the event off with a virtual tour of six of the city’s most inspiring design destinations. We recently got to experience some of NYC’s most incredible architecture on the curated Driven by Design tour presented by Architectural Digest and Cadillac, and we’re going to share our tour virtually with you! From the powerful September 11 Memorial and Museum to Shigeru Ban’s elegant Cast Iron House to a bird’s eye view of Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transportation Hub, come along with us as we share some of New York City’s most groundbreaking and exciting new architecture.

Cadillac Escalade

We recently participated in this fun tour, which allowed guests to tour some of New York City’s most innovative architecture from behind the wheel of the new 2015 Cadillac Escalade.

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We began the day on the 10th floor of 7 World Trade Center, which offers postcard views of three of New York’s most important destinations: theNational September 11 Memorial, the accompanying September 11 Museum and Santiago Calatrava’s still-in-progress World Trade Center Transportation Hub.

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Santiago Calatrava’s “Oculus” World Trade Center Transportation Hub

Our elevated vantage point enabled us to experienceOculus from above, allowing us to take in its avian crest of “wings” in all of their glory. Though the building is not yet complete, Calatrava’s signature hand is already apparent in its massive, yet somehow light and ethereal, design. The Spanish architect once described the structure as reminiscent of a bird being released from a child’s hand — a comparison that was even more evident from our tenth floor perch. The project has had its share of haters due to its exorbitant budget (increased to $3.74 billion from the originally projected $2 billion) and extended construction time (doubled from four years to ten), but it’s slowly taking shape and is now expected to open in 2015.

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National 9/11 Memorial

In addition to being able to view the breathtaking twin 9/11 Memorial pools, we were honored to hear from Michael Arad, the architect who designed them, about his experience. One can imagine how poignant, painstaking and nerve-wracking the design process must have been for Arad, but listening to just a few of his stories made us realize just how difficult it really was.

For example, even deciding the order of the names of those honored by the memorial — alphabetically? randomly? by age? — seemed like a near impossible task. Arad explained how he and the city struggled with the dilemma of arranging the names in a respectful way that treated each person’s memory equally. The final decision was to split up the victims into nine broad groups based on where each individual was when the attacks occurred, but also to open up the process to family members in order to place those with meaningful relationships close to one another — what Arad called “meaningful adjacency.” Loved ones were contacted and could write in with requests, which were then carefully pieced together to ensure that the names of each of those lost was in as rightful a place as it could be.

For an even more in-depth look at the National 9/11 Memorial design process, stay tuned for our interview with Michael Arad.

PHOTOS: Tour the Beautiful National 9/11 Memorial in NYC

Snohetta 9/11 Museum, World Trade Center Museum, Ground Zero

National September 11 Memorial Museum

Sandwiched between the memorial pools and Calatrava’s transportation hub, the National September 11 Memorial Museum is the only building that sits directly on the memorial site. Visitors to the museum are greeted by Snohetta Architects’ glittering pavilion, which acts as an entrance to the Davis Brody Bond-designed subterranean museum. DBB organized the underground space around a central “ribbon” that functions as a guiding path to help visitors navigate downwards from the above-ground pavilion.

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After departing from the World Trade Center Site, we began the journey to our next design destination. As you know, the streets of New York City can be difficult to navigate, but the Escalade’s 3D GPS system made figuring out the route a breeze.

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Shigeru Ban’s Cast Iron House

It’s no secret that Shigeru Ban is one of our favorite architects here at Inhabitat, so we were delighted to be able to preview one of his latest projects, theCast Iron House in Tribeca. The Pritzker Prize-winning starchitect was selected by Knightsbridge Properties Corp. to spearhead the redesign of the landmarked 19th century building originally built by James White. Ban’s first (and possibly only) historic conversion project, the re-imagined Cast Iron House pays homage to the structure’s exquisite neo-classical façade, which was painstakingly restored as part of the renovation. In contrast to the building’s storied outer walls, the interiors will be decidedly modern, characterized by soaring, double-height ceilings and windows.

In addition to the 13 residences housed in the original building, Ban crowned the Cast Iron House with two new rooftop penthouses. The twin residences, Penthouse East and Penthouse West, will boast a feature that is a first for any New York City residence — telescoping, 80-ft-long walls that open up completely to the adjacent terraces. Ban accomplished this difficult feat by placing a cantilever between the two penthouses, resulting in apartments that appear to float atop the building when the glass walls are opened all the way. The Cast Iron House is expected to be complete by summer 2015.

RELATED: Shigeru Ban’s Twin Rooftop Penthouses Will Perch Atop an Existing Tribeca Building

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Chelsea House

Designed by architect William Suk of Suk Design Group with interior design by Bryan Eure, it’s difficult to believe that this opulent 1880s Chelsea home was once a rundown shell of a house occupied by squatters. The single-family residence recently underwent a full renovation by Stephen Fanuka, the host of HGTV’s Million Dollar Contractor.

The four-story townhouse’s generous amenities include a fully landscaped backyard oasis, multiple decks, an outdoor jacuzzi and shower, a custom kitchen with Miele and Sub-Zero appliances, a walk-through closet, a wine cellar area and a downstairs entertainment area. To expand the house’s square footage even further, a glass enclosure was built atop the existing structure to house a light-filled office flanked by front and back terraces.

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Responding to New York City’s growing need for co-working spaces, NeueHouse is a “private membership work collective intended for both solopreneurs and those leading teams of up to 10 people” in the Flatiron section of the city. The vibrant, eclectic space occupies five floors of a renovated 1913 industrial building and was designed by architect David Rockwell in collaboration with interior designer Christina Azario. Unlike many other co-working offices, which provide little more than a desk and an internet connection, NeueHouse follows a model of hospitality, comfort and community. In addition to a full-service restaurant, screening rooms and studios, NeueHouse offers multiple workspaces in all types of configurations from the “Spanish Steps” that can be seen upon entry to cabanas, banquettes and a multi-use dining room and adjacent living room.

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This article was underwritten by Cadillac and Architectural Digest’s Driven By Design architecture driving tour. Many thanks to Cadillac and Architectural Digest for providing this fascinating glimpse into some of New York City’s most inspiring new designs.

+ Architectural Digest

+ Cadillac

“This post is in partnership with Cadillac”