Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Recycled Design or Artistic Inspiration?

When Cesar Pelli's Cira Centre first graced the University City skyline six years ago, it prompted many Amtrak passengers to question, "What on earth is that?" A friend from New York once asked me "What is that Buck Rogers building?" It's not just the building's odd, crystalline shape that draws attention, but also it's relative isolation and juxtaposition against the Art Deco 30th Street Station.

Philadelphia's Cira Centre

Since then, a surprising number of similar buildings have sprouted or been proposed around the world, many designed by Cesar Pelli as an evolution of Cira Centre itself. Madrid's Torre de Cristal, standing at 819 feet, is the results of Pelli's further experimentation with Philadelphia's Cira Centre which stands about 400 feet shorter.

Madrid's Torre de Cristal

Proposed at 30th between Chestnut and Walnut is Cira Centre South, in which Pelli expands his geode across Market, lining the west bank of the Schuylkill River.

Cira Centre South

Wilmington even got in on the action, proposing Two Christina Centre.

Two Christina Centre

As Cesar Pelli expanded upon his concept, firms worldwide began implementing this asymmetrical design in denser downtown areas. Cook + Fox Architects' Bank of America Tower in New York (which has topped our Comcast Center as the nation's tallest green building only because of its erection) was completed in 2009.

Bank of America Tower

Downtown Los Angeles' renaissance has drawn proposals from two firms. A. C. Martin's Wilshire Grand Hotel looks like an elongated Bank of America Tower, while Richard Keating's Maguire Office Tower looks suspiciously identical to Cesar Pelli's Cira Centre South.

Maguire Office Tower in Downtown Los Angeles

No comments:

Post a Comment