Tom Kovac

Ikon Tower, 1998

The Ikon Tower is one of the research projects in which Tom Kovac utilized his research on very large-scale vertical structures. Standing on a narrow lot measuring 7 meters by 18 meters in a highly urbanized area of San Francisco, it houses galleries, studios, cafés and apartments distributed throughout a series of disparate pods, which are however all related, whether it be the public zones on the ground floor or private apartments above. Taking maximum advantage of urban factors (density and narrowness of the site) as well as the program, the building’s fluid and undulating form, which breaks with the neighboring rationalist buildings, results from successive modulations of the surface of an elongated parallelepiped: not strictly vertical, the tower is equipped with a complex double-curved skin. The interior is divided into a multitude of alveoli, irregular modules of varying depth and width (cafés and galleries at the lower level of the building occupy the largest spaces). Experimenting with the capabilities of digital technologies to design new spatial arrangements, here, Tom Kovac developed a new dynamic of surfaces. Thus an undulating façade, whose two concrete sides contrast with the lateral opening made from glass, giving an effect of cinematic distortion, looks like a fluid wave, where the interface between the interior and the exterior is treated as an environmentally permeable skin.

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