What Could Have Been: Calatrava’s 80 South Street

One of the most notable proposals to bite the dust this past decade was Santiago Calatrava’s 80 South Street, just off the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan.

The soaring residential tower would’ve been just over 1,000 feet in height, but the size wasn’t the most notable aspect of the project. The skyscraper would’ve featured stacked residential cubes and a design like nothing else in New York, or the world–truly groundbreaking.

80 South Street Calatrava NYC
80 South Street, from Triton

Each cube would have contained a four-story private residence, with twelve cubes in total. The bottom two were supposed to be for office space. The penthouse unit was rumored to be on sale for almost $60 million, which actually isn’t that expensive compared to New York’s ultra high-end real estate in 2012.

Part of the project’s innovation was the aspect of stacking, which gave each residence a garden/terrace on the roof of the unit below. Every unit had ample outdoors space in addition to over 10,000 square feet of interior space.

The project was ultimately cancelled in 2008 due to the financial crisis, leaving the designs on the drawing board.

80 South Street’s design was as controversial as it was groundbreaking, although it did receive approval from City Planning for construction. Fortunately for Calatrava, he is still making a mark on Lower Manhattan with his design for the future World Trade Center Transit Hub. Perhaps it’s better that his train station saw the light of day rather than 80 South Street, as the latter is just a little too conceptual for most tastes.

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1 Comment on "What Could Have Been: Calatrava’s 80 South Street"

  1. In my opinion, it’s a shame this won’t be built. It’s not my favorite Calatrava design, but it’s still SO much more interesting than most of what we get. NYC badly needs more daring architecture. Just compare 1 WTC to supertalls recently completed or now under construction elsewhere in the world. About all you can say in its favor is that it’s less boringly monolithic than the original WTC towers, which were always more fun to look OUT of than to look at.

    That part of lower Manhattan seems to have bad luck when it comes to exciting new architecture, aside from the Gehry apartment tower (about which I have mixed feelings). Remember that floating-cloud Gehry design for a Guggenheim branch on the waterfront down there? Now THAT would have been true 21st century landmark architecture!

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