New York City's DFA Studio recently unveiled a blue sky proposal for an observation tower in Central Park. If built, it would be the world's tallest timber structure and offer excellent views of NYC. Interestingly, it would also filter the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir and turn it into a freshwater pond for everyone's use.
Looking a little like a throwing dart with its slender form and long lightning rod spire, the Central Park Tower would rise to a total height of 712 ft (217 m). Inside, it would include some retail and restaurant kiosks, as well as a viewing platform offering 360-degree views of the area.
The tower would be made primarily from Glulam (glue-laminated timber), as was used extensively in the Oslo Airport extension. However, the design is actually quite complex structurally and would include a steel core, intricate wooden helix, and transparent PVC skin, and be anchored with a concrete base and stabilizing cables.
The integrated filtration system would be used to filter the currently fenced-off Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir (aka Central Park Reservoir), which non-locals may recognize as the big body of water featured in movies like Breakfast at Tiffany's, turning it into a pond that could be used for all. One example shown is the water being used for sailboats.
"Located in the heart of Central Park, near some of New York's most important cultural institutions, the underutilized 106-acre [42.9 hectare] body of water occupies one-eighth of the park's total area and is 40-feet [12 m] deep, with approximately 1 billion gallons of contaminated water," says the firm. "Aside from supplying water to the pool and Harlem Meer, the reservoir sits stagnant and fenced off due to its current state as a health threat to millions of New Yorkers, tourists and animals."
The filtration system would be located in the tower's lower section, within its steel core. The firm says that the considerable power necessary for running it would be met with a vertical axis wind turbine, which, though we've no figures to look at, seems a stretch.
DFA Studio also reports that thanks to prefabricated construction methods, the tower could be built as quickly as six months, though describes it as a "temporary" structure, so presumably its lifespan would be quite limited. Either way, we'll stick our necks out and say this ambitious idea is unlikely to be built.
Source: DFA Studio