Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

"Let's stop acting like the wedge is not architecture"

What is the wedge? In Washington DC it is a way to enter a pair of underground museums, without adding to the Smithsonian’s existing potpourri of architectural styles. At Lincoln Center it is a way to camouflage a new restaurant on a famously flat plaza. In Baltimore it replaces a Brutalist multi-level fountain with a smooth singular surface for sitting. At Brooklyn Bridge Park it rears up to provide a selfie taking-point and amphitheater seating facing the borough. At the 11th Street Bridge Park, a set of wedges add topography to what could be a simple span across the Anacostia River. At Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn it’s the subway stop, looking like a fragment of the Barclays Center that broke off.

Whether the wedge is designed by BIG or Diller Scofidio + Renfro or Ayers Saint Gross with Mahan Rykiel and Ziger/Snead, or OMA/OLIN, or SHoP, or (in the 1990s, in the Netherlands) by Mecanoo or Sven-Ingvar Andersson, it looks pretty much the same. A rectangle or triangle of lawn stretched out of right angles and pulled gently upward at one corner by an invisible giant’s hand. Into the maw, glass is inserted like giant vitreous teeth, making a pavilion or a skylight or a wall of windows bringing light into the building below.