WTF Fun Fact 13356 – The Design of 432 Park Ave

Manhattan’s 432 Park Ave is one of the tallest residential buildings in the world. Interestingly, the inspiration for the facade came from an unexpected source: a trash can.

Designing Manhattan’s 432 Park Ave

Rafael Viñoly was the architect behind 432 Park Avenue’s design. And he found inspiration in the work of Austrian designer Josef Hoffmann. Hoffmann was a prominent figure in the early 20th century, known for his role in founding the Wiener Werkstätte, a community of artists, designers, and craftsmen dedicated to creating high-quality, handcrafted objects. Among Hoffmann’s numerous designs was a 1905 wastepaper basket. It featured a simple, elegant cubic design featuring a square cutout pattern.

Viñoly saw beauty in the minimalism and geometric pattern of Hoffmann’s trash can and decided to incorporate these design elements into the exterior of 432 Park Avenue. The result is a grid of large windows.

From trash to treasure

The building, completed in 2015, is 1,396 feet (425.5 meters) tall. That makes it one of the tallest residential buildings in the world.

432 Park Ave has 96 floors and a total of 104 condominiums. Each floor features just one or two luxury residences.

The building’s slender design is an iconic part of Manhattan’s skyline, but its construction presented unique engineering challenges. To ensure the building’s stability and withstand strong winds, engineers needed unique structural supports to withstand winds.

Furthermore, to counteract the swaying that tall buildings can experience, engineers installed two tuned mass dampers on the 88th floor. These massive steel and concrete structures weigh approximately 1,200 tons and stabilize the building by counteracting movements caused by wind.

For all the luxury inside, you’d never know it all started with a trash can.

The influence of Josef Hoffmann’s wastepaper basket on 432 Park Avenue highlights the beauty of finding inspiration in everyday objects. The ability to transform a humble item into the basis for an architectural marvel speaks volumes about Rafael Viñoly’s ingenuity and creative vision.

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Source: “NYC’s $1.3B Supertall Skyscraper Was Inspired by a Trash Can” — Wired

WTF Fun Fact 12992 – The Burj Khalifa Double Sunset

The Burj Khalifa is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It has a total height of 2,722 feet (or a little over a half mile), excluding the antenna/spire. It serves as the centerpiece of downtown Dubai and is named after the former president of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. While it holds several world records, one of the coolest things about the building is the Burj Khalifa double sunset.

What is the Burj Khalifa Double Sunset?

According to Gizmodo (cited below), the building “is so large that you would be able to watch the sunset from the base of the building, take a lift right to the top and watch the sunset all over again. In fact, if you are a Muslim living on top of the Burj Khalifa, you will have to fast longer during Ramadan because of this time difference: about three minutes between the time of the sunset on the ground and the sunset on the top.”

Technically, you can experience this phenomenon from lots of very tall structures, but you need to be able to reach the top quickly enough to catch the second sunset.

“The taller the structure and the faster you can get to the top, the longer you will be able to enjoy the second sunset. This happens because the Earth is curved, and by sticking out perpendicular to its curvature, you’ll be able to see more of what lies behind the horizon.”

The Burj Khalifa is one of the best places to see a double sunset because it has two observation decks and an ultra-fast elevator designed to get you to the top (while peering out of the building) in order to get optimal viewing time.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Did You Know The Burj Khalifa Is So Tall You Can Watch Two Sunsets On the Same Day?” — Gizmodo

WTF Fun Facts 12588 – The Walkie Talkie Skyscraper

In 2013, a 38-story skyscraper needed a bit of a redesign during construction. Located at 20 Fenchurch Street in London, the building is nicknamed the “Walkie-Talkie” because of its shape. The building has an interesting top-heavy shape.

The building cost around £200 million and was designed by architect Rafael Viñoly. But it wasn’t very popular. In fact, in 2015, the Carbuncle Group named it the worst new building in the UK. But they weren’t the people who were most upset.

It turns out that on those rare sunny London days, the building could become a giant magnifying glass.

For 2 hours a day, the sun shone just right so that the building acted like a concave mirror, beaming that light down onto the streets. (In this magnifying glass metaphor, that makes humans the ants.)

Developers only realized that it was creating temperatures up to 243 degrees F at ground level in the summer of 2013 when a beam six times brighter than direct sunlight started melting a car – a Jaguar XJ, to be exact. The owner, Martin Lindsay, told the BBC that he only realized what happened when he saw a photographer taking photos of the vehicle and asked about it. He recalled the moment:

“The photographer asked me, ‘have you seen that car? The owner won’t be happy.’

“I said: ‘I am the owner. Crikey, that’s awful.'”

The wing mirror, panels, and Jaguar badge all melted.

“It could be dangerous. Imagine if the sun reflected on the wrong part of the body. On the windscreen, there was a note from the construction company saying, ‘your car’s buckled; could you give us a call?'” Lindsay said.

A reporter named Jim Waterson even managed to fry an egg in a pan on the sidewalk.

After that, the building got some new nicknames – “Walkie-Scorchie” and “Fryscraper,” for example.

Of course, an immediate and permanent solution needed to be found, so an awning was installed on the south side of the building to keep it from inadvertently incinerating Londoners and their pricey vehicles.

The same architect, Viñoly, also designed a building in Las Vegas with a similar problem and its windows needed to be coated in non-reflective film.

Viñoly blamed himself, but also the fact that he didn’t realize it was ever that sunny or warm in London. Meanwhile, the Jaguar owner got his repairs paid for by the developers.

– WTF fun facts

Source: “‘Walkie-Talkie’ skyscraper melts Jaguar car parts” — BBC News