More than a century ago, urban reformers warning of the perils of congestion and unregulated development pointed to Lower Manhattan as Exhibit A. That the great monuments of the era—notably, the Woolworth Building—appeared to stand aloof from this cacophony even as they contributed to it only hardened calls for change. Later developments attest to the consequences: Skyscrapers, once defiantly individualistic and preening, subsequently subject to zoning mandates and standardized building componentry, entered a phase of disenchantment.
With 130 William, a 66-story residential tower in the financial district, Ghanaian British architect David Adjaye wants to re-enchant downtown’s skyline. The structure, darkly glamorous, pays homage to a bygone age of vertiginous dreams.
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