Title: Air Futures looks at the trade of Air Rights - Code: D7J4G7
Contest: NY / 2012
By: T. Games Petrohilos

Views: 2230 Likes: 2




Air Futures looks at the trade of Air Rights

Air Futures looks at the trade of Air Rights (TDR’s) in and the current development of an Air Bank in New York City which sees the proliferation of a commodity with essentially no intrinsic value. The Air Futures system – the system that trades in this developing commodity, air – embraces both the legality and physicality of the air above New York. Air is manipulated, bought and sold within the Air Futures Building to the ends of the traders, and the financial system as a whole. They are set at the end of Wall Street at the end of an axis that runs from Trinity Church to the west. The instatement, and sustaining of authenticity of the value of air is key to the success of this maniacal trade in the substance breathed in New York. The architecture – based on research within my thesis; “The Architecture of Mania” – takes the genesis for its forms and themes from explorations of how thresholds, ritual-paths and hierarchies can create authenticity of value in a traded commodity.


New York, the city of speculation has been using ‘air rights’ since the PAN AM building in the 1962. ‘Air’ as a legal entity – set by defined zoning limits in the city – is bought and sold in the city. ‘Air’ – the right to build to that set zoning limit is bought so as to allow one to build in that space. ‘Air’ can be transferred to another plot in the city to extend ones allowance for development, and can perform a valuable tool for development, where city datums can be changed and manipulated. They are also used for excess, where whole skyscrapers are constructed of amalgamated air rights. There are strict rules for their selling and employment – mostly restricted to city blocks, or tight movements within the grid, yet the system is to go public. The system where ‘air’ changes ownership or TDR’s (Transferable development Rights) is to be turned into a system where anyone can buy into the system of air. The value of air depends on speculative ideas of future development opportunities, and the money that can be made out them. Basing ideas of value on speculative ideas of future or immaterial opportunities can achieve great rewards, but as we now know – after 2008, and all the other crashes before it – can be potentially dangerous. The TDR system is to be developed into a TDR banking system or AIR BANK, where communities, investors and developers alike can buy and sell these air rights to there own ends. Air (or the legal/physical volumes above the city) becomes a commodity, and detached from any semblance of intrinsic value it had, replaced with inflation.


This TDR trading and banking system – a trade in air – will have traders, brokers, and whole systems of commerce embedded within it. The trading of air, these legal volumes and spaces above the city, and the physicality of them are immaterial. As explored in my thesis ‘The Architecture of Mania’, when people base their own and others’ lives, livelihoods, and dreams on immaterial values, the architecture of these maniacal speculations creates that value. With AIR AS A COMMODITY, it is creating presence, showing ownership, and displaying the maniacal trading of it. The architecture of air, must separate the system from the everyday air – set it apart and frame it. This is where the physicality of air meets the immaterial volumes of it.


The Air Futures Building raises itself above the street on a new city datum, which serves to separate the traded and valued air, from the everyday air of the city. The concrete ritual paths into the building, serve to create a feeling of entering another realm, where this valued air resides, and is controlled by the commercial system.


The physicality of the building embraces the commodity, where air is seemingly trapped within it. The architectural devices used see bulbous concrete columns supporting the building, and the framing of air through red boxes atop the structure – these are matched with the flows of air manipulated throughout the building.


The experience of each of the users of the Air Futures Building and system have been considered, and how their emotions can be manipulated through architecture. The possible investors are taken on a journey which seduces with opulence and confronts with thresholds to be passed through – for example, the ventilation fans in the Trading Room. Environments, like that of the Trading Room are carefully managed by the system’s air technicians to produce optimum performance. Fluctuations in the market are controlled through changes in oxygen levels to manipulate excitement and euphoric feelings that are essential to the frenzy of trading.


The system has embedded within it, the symbols it needs for authenticity of value. Embedded within the structures of the system are the regulators that monitor the claimed air above the city – its legality, and its purity – for with the private ownership of the air above the megalopolis comes new responsibilities.


The Air Futures Building provides a speculative future for how the alchemic mania of commerce in the present day can become manifest in an architecture that is completely embedded within the system it contains.



Title: Air Futures looks at the trade of Air Rights

Time: 13 giugno 2012
Category: NY
Views: 2230 Likes: 2

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