Photo: oiio Architectural Studio

New York City’s skyline is instantly recognizable around the world, in part thanks to the acrophobia-inducing height of its skyscrapers. That could all change if the eye-popping designs of the U-shaped Big Bend become a reality — Big Bend would not be the world’s tallest building, but rather its longest.

New York City is already home to both the tallest commercial and residential buildings in the country — One World Trade Center and 432 Park Avenue respectively.

Built on Ground Zero in Downtown Manhattan, One World Trade Center stands at 1,776 feet — an intentionally patriotic number. 432 Park Avenue towers 1,396 feet over 57th Street’s famed “Billionaire’s Row,” a stretch of 57th Street known for its super-expensive luxury residences. It is currently also the tallest purely residential building in the world.

But the new Big Bend, designed by oiio Architectural Studio, won’t just rise on Billionaire’s Row, but curve over it. Bookended by One57 and 111 West 57th, the Big Bend would try to get “around” New York City’s building height restrictions by literally bending them.


Photo: oiio Architectural Studio

Curving in a U-shape, the Big Bend would stretch a total of 4,000 feet from end to end, according to graphics on the firm’s website. “New York city’s zoning laws have created a peculiar set of tricks through which developers try to maximize their property’s height in order to infuse it with the prestige of a high rise structure,” the design firm said on its website. So oiio’s next logical leap was to design for length, not height.

big bend central park

Photo: oiio Architectural Studio

One of the obvious questions is how exactly the Big Bend’s elevator will traverse its curved — and inverted — section. The design team, of course, has that figured out — although for a time it was “once considered to be the greatest challenge in elevator history.”

Big Bend’s elevator has the ability to travel in curves, horizontally, and in continuous loops, the design team revealed. “The innovative track changing system allows for the horizontal connection of two shafts on the top and bottom to create a continuous loop.”

Ioannis Oikonomou, oiio’s founder, says architects are famous for their adaptability. “There is a new frontier. We can now provide our structures with the measurements that will make them stand out without worrying about the limits of the sky,” he went on to say on the company’s website.

Oiio hopes the Big Bend will become a “modest architectural solution” to Manhattan’s rigorous building height limitations.

Guggenheim oiio

Photo: oiio Architectural Studio

This isn’t the first “architectural solution” presented by the firm. Back in 2013, oiio proposed an expansive addition to the famous Frank Lloyd Wright designed Guggenheim Museum. “What if we decided we needed a little more Guggenheim,” the firm pondered publicly. Their solution was to continue the famous spiral upwards for an additional thirteen floors.

As of this writing, the Guggenheim thankfully remains untouched and as originally designed by Wright in 1943. There is also no word on when, or if, New Yorkers might see the Big Bend on their horizon.

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