The iconic walkability of an iconic building

In the grand history of builds that became urban works of art, nothing compares to “walking” a building. To the experts, this is the latest expression of a brilliant design notion that was reached at the turn of the 20th century when artists began to congregate in cities as new concerns and as architects began to architect their craft. Here we cite the amazingly hyperbolic description of The Summit Tower by Stefan Harrell (AIA) and Jacques Lecomb (AIA), both of whom work as architects in Beijing. “Those who walk around the building at foot upon entering find that the suspended brick sections of the suspended tower acquire a vague resemblance to vegetation but retain a surface hardness, as though they have been carved from a thick granite cliff. As one walks on to the roof one finds that tree-like colors in the roof beams play with the natural shapes of the sky and create the illusion of viewing the eyes of the tree upon which the tower is constructed. The artistry of this building is underscored by its very form. The tower is sheathed by special street furniture which adds to the remarkable sculptural character of the tower, the whole presentation presented in the open courtyard.”

We invite you to share your thoughts about this piece, which we’ve included to give you a sense of the curious problem of making something so smooth walkable. At issue here is some very old stuff, like old buildings and traditional urban forms. And also, we suspect, some very young stuff: I’m old enough to have lived in those old buildings and old enough to have really questioned the designs of a lot of modernist designs.

Here’s the video:

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