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A swanky centerpiece is coming soon to Chinatown. Gateways to Chinatown — an initiative seeking to construct a symbolic and functional landmark at the “nexus” of the neighborhood — has selected four finalists after pursuing through proposals from design teams. The final four haven’t officially been announced yet, but we caught sight of one of the submissions, dreamt up by architectural design firm, Clouds AO.

Image via Clouds AO

According to a press release, the design was inspired by the ancient Chinese cosmology based on cycles of time. It interweaves two circles, which create a “softly curving” surface with spiral movement. Thus, light and shadow — Yin and Yang — play off the sculpture.

Image via Clouds AO

Image via Clouds AO

“The design also reimagines the contemporary moon gate typology that marks an entry point to celebrate cohesiveness of community and symbolizes birth and renewal,” Clouds AO writes about the design. So as people circle the sculpture, its silhouette shifts from a crescent to full oval, much like the phases of moon themselves.

Image via Clouds AO

Image via Clouds AO

Ultimately, the winning design, to be located on a triangular traffic island bounded by Canal Street, Baxter Street and Walker Street, will serve as a portal to Chinatown. Project organizers asked prospective design teams to consider how their sculptures could foster connectivity, serve as a meeting place and information center, engender pride of place and stimulate economic development. Read more about Clouds AO design here.

Image via Clouds AO

Image via Clouds AO

Initiated by the New York City Department of Transportation, in collaboration with Chinatown Partnership and Van Alen InstituteThe Gateways to Chinatown project was made possible by a grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The winning team will be announced later this year.

Next, read about the 5 Alleys and Small Streets in Chinatown Tell the Neighborhood’s Vibrant History and the China-Donated Archway Coming to NYC’s Chinatown in Sunset Park

 Chinatown, NYC DOT, Van Alen Institute

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