‘New Welfare Island Project’ by Rem Koolhaas and Zoe Zenghelis

‘New Welfare Island Project’ by Rem Koolhaas and Zoe Zenghelis

Roosevelt Island, New York | 1975-76

Gouache on paper

“Koolhaas, German Martinez, and Richard Perlmutter designed the theoretical New Welfare Island Project for just the southern half of Roosevelt Island (once called Welfare Island). At the top of the aerial view, the Queensboro Bridge passes through a convention center, a monumental gateway to Manhattan. Farther south, a tecton—a Suprematist device from the work of Kasimir Malevich—hovers over a streamlined Art Deco yacht designed in 1932 by Norman Bel Geddes. At the island’s tip the six towers of the New Welfare Hotel rise up opposite a wandering fragment of Manhattan that includes Rockefeller Center and Times Square (including the proposed Sphinx Hotel, designed by Elia and Zoe Zenghelis). The New Welfare Hotel, designed by Koolhaas, Perlmutter, and Derrick Snare, is separately rendered in the third drawing; it is a center for dancing, dining, and general urban pleasure. Overall, Koolhaas writes, the Roosevelt Island project is intended as a visual interpretation and resuscitation of some of the themes that made Manhattan’s architecture unique; its ability to fuse the popular with the metaphysical, the commercial with the sublime, the refined with the primitive.”

— Terence Riley