Skyscraper structure installed in the park


News Byte: Re-envisioning Gaudí’s New York City Skyscraper

June 4, 2024

In 1908, Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí designed a futuristic skyscraper for lower Manhattan. Dubbed the “Hotel Attraction,” the project was to feature a castle-like structure of cone-shaped towers that would have housed a hotel, restaurants, a theatre, an exhibition hall, galleries, and a top-level space offering panoramic views of the city. Soaring more than 1,100 feet, the Hotel Attraction would have been the tallest building in the country at that time.

However, the skyscraper never came to be—unless you count a recent installation led by Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa, Ph.D., M.Arch II, associate professor of architecture, who also oversees the artificial intelligence lab related to the architectural computational technologies, M.S. program.

On May 18 and 19, as part of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation’s Art in the Parks exhibition program, visitors to Staten Island’s Stapleton Waterfront Park had the opportunity to visit “Gaudí’s NYC Skyscraper.” Leveraging big data, simulation, artificial intelligence, and robotic fabrication, the installation proposed a different structural prototype based on Gaudí’s explorations, including an optimized construction system with a catenary shell structure. Measuring 8 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 12 feet high, the arch-like structure was made of 100 percent recycled aluminum alloy and enabled park visitors to experience views of the Manhattan, Jersey City, and Brooklyn skylines from inside an “empty skyscraper structural envelope.”

Working under Lorenzo-Eiroa’s supervision and mentorship, several students from the architectural computational technologies program assisted in the project, which was sponsored by a New York Tech Institutional Support for Research and Creativity (ISRC) grant. Students included:

  • Mike Saad
  • Yashraj Chauhan
  • Arefin Chisty
  • Selin Dastan
  • Jacob Sam
  • Meraj Nasir
  • Karan Patel
  • Alejandro Romero
  • Amisha Bavadiya
  • Jahan Selim