Competition Entry, Taking Buildings Down
Call for Ideas, Organized by Storefront for Art and Architecture, 2016
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What does it mean to build? This competition of ideas is simultaneously a political act, a means of criticism, and a method of speculation. Taking Buildings Down asks proposals for the production of voids; the demolition of buildings, structures, and infrastructures; or the subtraction of objects and/or matter as a creative act. Removal is all that is allowed.
The project is targeting the removal of the Curb’s main entry façade on Trinity Place. A Landmarked Building, it dates to 1920-21; the Trinity place limestone façade is a later addition from 1930 and was twice the height of the original building. On December 1st, 2008, the Curb Exchange building at 86 Trinity Place was closed, and the Amex Equities trading floor was moved to the NYSE Trading floor at 11 Wall Street; since then the Curb has remained vacant. Over 6 stories high the facade will have to be eventually inspected and repaired. Instead a complete removal is proposed.
Although may downtown buildings are associated with the financial collapse of 2008 and its rippled repercussions into the housing market, the Curb Exchange is the city’s ancestor of all corrupt trading. The proposal aims in removing its façade and opening it up into the street.
The proposed method for removing the Curb’s walls inverses the regular restoration process, by applying sulfur acid onto the limestone surface, and in this way accelerating rather than sealing from the effects of pollution.
The wall surface will gradually swell as salts starts building up. After a period of a few months, the façade will start cracking and will eventually disintegrate.
Once the limestone has all fallen into a ruble its residues will be used as fertilizer. In agriculture, lime (which may occur naturally is some soils) is often enhanced with sulfuric acid to release its fertilizing benefits. The resulting gypsym, which is also the removal debris, is used to supply calcium for plant nutrition. This rich in minerals construction debris will be used for a new landscape in the empty shell as well as fertilizer for the neighboring Zuccotti Park.