Art of reflection on 11th Avenue

Last Fall while I was in New York City I took my first stroll on the High Line. While walking along, I saw a building from several blocks away that caught my eye and required closer investigation. It was not the form that drew me to the building so much as its use of light.

100 11th Avenue by Jean Nouvel
100 11th Avenue by Jean Nouvel

The building turned out to be the 100 11th Avenue by Jean Nouvel. The building is in good company, sitting right across the street from Frank Gehry’s IAC building.

Its windows, in a variety of shapes and sizes, are at what appears to be randomly set angles. Light is reflected from many different sources. The effect instantly took me back to my Winding Creek project.

One of the things I came to appreciate during the months I spent lighting dancers in water at night is how waves reflect light. Each part of a wave reflects light coming from a different place. The trough to the crest heading towards you is reflecting light from just above you. The crest has a different source, and the backside of the wave yet another. Due to the curving form of a wave, the transitions between these sources is gradual. And so, when you look at a group of waves, they form complex and interesting patterns.

I took note on how you can evoke a variety of feeling depending upon how you choose to use these reflections. Jean Nouvel’s 100 11th Avenue takes this concept to another realm, where I have only started working—a kind of cubist reflection of the world surrounding the building.

The New York Times declared Jean Nouvel  “…the most original architect of his generation.”

100 11th Avenue Website


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