P O S T - M O D E R N I S M
P A R T   I I


World Financial Center
60 Wall Street
1 Worldwide Plaza
750 Seventh Avenue
1585 Broadway
Carnegie Hall Tower
Bertelsmann Building
Doubletree Guest Suites
Millennium Broadway Hotel
712 Fifth Avenue
Americas Tower
Millenium Hilton Hotel
Four Seasons Hotel
Condé Nast Building
LVMH Tower
101 West End Avenue
Reuters Building
Trump World Tower
W New York - Times Square Hotel
Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences,
   Battery Park
Lehman Brothers Building
Bear Stearns World Headquarters
Westin New York at Times Square
5 Times Square
Random House Tower and Park
425 Fifth Avenue
Time Warner Center
Bloomberg Tower and 1 Beacon
Times Square Tower

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[Cesar Pelli & Assocs.]
is a group of four towers, ranging from 33 to 54 storeys, completed in 1988 as a centerpiece for the new 112-acre Battery Park City (1979, Cooper Eckstut Assoc.), built on the Hudson River landfill next to the World Trade Center.

The first project for Battery Park City from 1966, by Wallace K. Harrison and his collaborators, included two sets of twin towers, similar in general appearance to today's World Trade Center towers. In the plan, one pair of towers was located to the waterfront in the southern edge of the landfill for the Battery Park City, and the other one to the northern edge, defining the extension of that residential enclave.

The actual Financial Center was developed for $1,200 million by the Canadian firm Olympia & York as a 650,000 m² design by Cesar Pelli's firm, comprising offices, restaurants and retail spaces.

The Financial Center's towers border the North Cove Marina, a bay harbour for pleasure boats, surrounded by patios and trees. The guardrail along the esplanade is engraved with quotations from Walt Whitman and Thomas O'Hara.

The towers have steplike Art Deco style set-backs reminiscent of the GE Building, the heights of these set-backs being determined by the Urban Development Council to fit the heights of the existing neighbourhood architecture. The facades are of granite and glass, the size of individual windows increasing with each set-back, changing the facades gradually from predominantly stone-clad to a curtain wall.

The towers are distinguishable by their differently shaped copper roofs:
- 1 WFC (1986) Cesar Pelli and Adamson & Assocs. - a cut pyramid (tower occupant: Dow Jones and Oppenheimer, 40 storeys)
- 2 WFC (1987) Cesar Pelli and Haines Lundberg Waehler - a dome (Merrill Lynch, height: 196.5 m, 51 storeys)
- 3 WFC (1985) Cesar Pelli and Adamson & Assocs. - a solid pyramid (200 Vesey St., American Express, height: 225.5 m, 54 storeys)
- 4 WFC (1986) Cesar Pelli and Haines Lundberg Waehler - a stepped pyramid (250 Vesey St., Merrill Lynch)

The architect also designed the top of the 1 WFC to follow the example of the neighbouring 90 West Street and the rotated positioning of the 3 WFC over its base that of the Barclay-Vesey Building.

Because much of the building space in these towers is occupied by computers which can be put into windowless rooms deep inside the building, each of the largest buildings in WFC (perhaps all buildings) in fact has more utility space than the 102-storey Empire State Building, where offices are located along the outer wall of the building.

The towers are all connected to each other either through their bases or by walkways. Two covered bridges cross West Street, connecting the Center to the World Trade Center (the North Bridge with 60 meters of clear span) and the block south of the WTC compound (the South Bridge, 67 meters).

The lobbies of the towers are lavishly decorated with marble and shiny black columns, and there is also the large glass-house-like Winter Garden (Cesar Pelli and Adamson & Assocs., landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg & Assocs., opened in October 1988) between the 2 and 3 WFC, with alabaster marble and coral Roho Alicante marble, 16 12-meter Washingtonia robusta palm trees from the Mojave Desert, as well as cafeterias and shops (image). The arch-roofed space is 38 m high and 60 m long. The Winter Garden also hosts concerts and various performances and exhibitions.

The complex was heavily damaged (especially in the interiors) in the September 11, 2001 attacks, but was returned to its normal usage after an extensive renovation. The repair of the destroyed Winter Garden took $50 million and featured, along with the skeleton and 2,000 new glass panels for the skylight, the replacement of all the marble paving inside, 5,500 m² for $5.8 million. The Winter Garden was completed for a September 17, 2002 re-opening.

The Brookfield Financial Properties -- already owning two of the WFC buildings and a 51 percent stake of a third -- obtained relocated Lehman Brothers' 51 percent ownership of the 3 WFC in September 2002 for $158 million, in effect co-owning the building with the American Express.

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[Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Assoc.]

was built in 1988-1989 as the new headquarters building for the J. P. Morgan Bank.

The massive facade of this 227 m tall, 50-storey neo-Classical building is horizontally striped in alternating bands of dark glass and white stone. The roof, in the shape of a cut pyramid, is "supported" by faceted corner pilasters topped with twin columns just underneath the roof corners.

The building's large size and bulk of 158,000 m² was enabled by a transfer of air-rights across the street, from the Citibank at 55 Wall Street.

There is a colonnade at the street level and the vast public arcade where columns support a gold-toned mosaic ceiling with recessed lattices, the column capital fans illuminated by hidden lights.

The building was obtained by Deutsche Bank in 2001 for $600 million, but relocated 4,500 more of its personnel there only after being unable to find buyers in the post-9/11 downturn.

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THE 1 WORLDWIDE PLAZA (935 Eighth Ave.)
[Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, David Childs as chief designer]

was completed in 1989 as the 47-storey office portion of the Worldwide Plaza multi-use complex on the site of the previous (third) Madison Square Garden (1925-1966).

The Worldwide Plaza complex extended the influence of Midtown commercial enclave towards the residential West Side. The residential portion of the development (arch. Frank Williams of SOM) comprises of a 38-storey tower and six-storey low-rises bordering a multilevel, landscaped plaza that separates them from the office tower. There are 455 apartments in the residential buildings.

The 2,490 m² public plaza yielded 14,940 m² of additional space within the office tower, but in 2000 the city sued the developers as part of "correctional" activity to improve public spaces of commercial buildings. In 2002, the city agreed to allow the developers to use 250 m² of the space for café seating, a ruling that didn't please the local residents who saw it as a misuse of public plaza space that had allowed more bulk for the office tower in the first place.

The tower rises to the height of 237.5 m, topped by a large pyramidal copper roof with an illuminated top, reminiscent of the N.Y. Life Insurance Co. Building, the original inspiration for the design.

The base of the tower comprises an east-west-orientated vaulted ellipse pedestrian arcade -- the plan of the tower itself differs notably from that with its Empire State-like wings covering the long ends of the ellipse next to the sheer square tower. The lone set-back of the tower occurs on the chamfered corners of the top. The facade is clad in brown-toned and white brick.

The building has become a landmark on the West Side skyline, albeit still a lone example deep within the neighbourhood of Hell's Kitchen/Clinton.

The 140,000 m² building was successful in getting tenants early on due to the relatively low office rents and the proximity to the Rockefeller Center. The success of the complex has, in fact, encouraged the ongoing redevelopment of the Times Square area in the 1990s.

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[Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates]

was completed in 1989 for Solomon Equities as an office tower at Times Square.

Occupying the plot lines, the building's design maximizes the tower bulk through the form of a set-back obelisk, topped by a more traditional presentation of that ancient Egyptian form on the west corner at 187.5 m. Above the base floors, practically every floor plan is different due to the unique triple set-backs, with the setbacks rising three floors on every facade, then continuing around the corner. The continuous, helix-like spire of setbacks rises all the way to the top for 34 floors, topped by two mechanical floors under the sloping roof.

The curtain wall facade consists of a grid of two-tone tinted glass, whereas the base is clad in polished gray granite. Above the Seventh Avenue entrance, a large gold-coloured address sign signifies the address number "750". As per the Times Square regulations, the building features advertisement signs on the base floors as well as in a separate entity atop old buildings at 50th Street. The 49th Street corner has an entrance to the Seventh Avenue subway.

Morgan Stanley bought the 53,900 m² building for $90 million during the recession in 1994, after having acquired also the 1585 Broadway from Solomon. Six years later they, in turn, sold it to Hines Interests and General Motors Asset Management for $150 million, although retaining 33,500 m² of offices in the building.

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[Gwathmey Siegel & Assocs. and Emery Roth & Sons]

was built in 1989-1990 as the headquarters for Solomon Equities.

The building replaced the Warner Twin Cinema (orig. Strand Theater, Thomas W. Lamb, 1914) which was demolished in 1987.

In 1993, two years after Solomon had filed for bankruptcy and a bank consortium had taken over the property, Morgan Stanley obtained the 120,800 m² building and set it as their new world headquarters. Another two years later, an interior redesign was made by Gwathmey Siegel & Assocs.

The 42-storey building occupies a trapezoidal plot with the base aligned with Broadway and pedestrian arcades flanking the first three bays along side street facades. The second and third floor corners of the base have drums featuring a world map with time zones, while the set-back three upper storeys incorporate a three-storey, 5-tiered electronic ticker board for such everyday consumer information as stock market prices. At the base of the tower are two floors of mechanical floors with a slightly arcing front wall (image).

Set-back from the base, the tower rises with a horizontally-striped facade of blue-green glass and aluminium plating. The mid-portions of facades are of sheer curtain wall. After a series of corner set-backs of reflective glass, the building ends at the height of 209 m to a glass roof in the shape of a four-sided cut pyramid.

The lobby follows the facade design with its three-tone, graphical look of dark marble crosshairs and strips on white marble. The round columns are clad in polished gray granite and green marble, granite and warm-toned wood line the walls and the coffered ceilings have lights recessed into a grid of deep boxes of natural-coloured wood. A two-floor space connects the lobby to a lower-level cafeteria/diner for 500 employees.

The upper-floor executive lobby for the 40th and 41st floor executive boardrooms has a decor of mahogany and cherry wood as well as granite-covered stairs.

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THE CARNEGIE HALL TOWER (152 W 57th St. or 899 Seventh Ave.)
[Cesar Pelli & Assocs.]

was built in 1987-1990 for Rockrose Development Corp. as an office tower to the east of the Carnegie Hall concert building.

Similarly to Pelli's MoMA Museum Tower, the building was conceived to finance a building restoration, in this case the 1986 renovation of Carnegie Hall (William B. Tuthill with Richard Morris Hunt and Dankmar Adler, 1891). After a plan to combine this site with that of the Metropolitan Tower fell through and a renewed effort by Rockrose to obtain the next-door Russian Tea Room site alone failed, both towers got built separately, with a 6-meter gap between.

The 60-storey tower rises as a rectangular sliver, 15 m wide, and only expanded on the south side by a wing extension about 2/3 of the way. It follows the overall style of the concert hall, its brickwork of two-toned brown and dark green rising slightly higher than Metropolitan Tower's triangular glass walls. The concrete accents, like the window lintels, are precast in coloured mass. The top at 230.5 m features a series of spikelike protrusions that echo the cornices of the neo-Renaissance hall below.

With main entrance from 57th Street underneath a gold-tinted canopy, the through-block lobby has extensive marble decor: green-coloured floors and reddish-brown walls with white horizontal striping. The ceilings have illuminating skylight-type vaulting. The ground floor incorporates retail space.

There are 12 elevators, four of which terminate at the lower level of the wing extension. Offices have 2,8-meter ceilings. The building provided the music hall with new backstage spaces for the last phase of renovation, 2,300 m² in all.

The concrete frame consists of tightly spaced columns, the building being one of the tallest concrete-framed towers in NYC. As a precaution, the top floor of the building has a space reservation for a tuned mass damper.

Building official site
The Cityreview entry | image

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[Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, David Childs as chief designer]
was built in 1990 to Times Square and bought two years later by the Bertelsmann media company as their US headquarters.

The blue-tinted glass facades on the 45-storey building form a pattern of rectangular "openings" of lighter-toned glass wall against the dominating dark blue gridwork. On the north side, these neo-Modernist formations are broken with a cubic mass of a plain light blue curtain wall.

The most prominent feature of the facade is the triangular "beak" tower on the Seventh Avenue side, an extension of the protruding wedge wall, reaching the height of 206 meters.

The seven-meter-high entrance lobby has a decor of black and grey granite, rose and white marble, green glass and steel.

While the office tower has its entrance from 45th Street, the ground-floor and underground retail spaces are entered from Times Square through a massive semicircular open lobby with escalators connecting the three retail levels. The 13,000 m² of retail space was soon prominently occupied by such tenants as the Virgin Megastore (world's largest record store) and Planet Hollywood's Official All-Star Cafe -- a few years earlier anyone suggesting these as tenants in Times Square would have been strait-jacketed... The complex houses also a four-screen movie theater and its own parking garage.

In 1998, Bertelsmann planned a second office tower, for the publishing branch Random House, in Times Square, to be linked with a walkbridge to the company's headquarters; after the deal fell through, a site farther north was chosen for the Random House headquarters.

With Bertelsmann vacating most of the building (but keeping a portion of the space for its own use), it was sold in June 2004 to Paramount Group, a German invenstment fund, and Principal Real Estate Investors for $426 million, 2.5 times the sum Bertelsmann paid for the building in 1991.

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[Fox & Fowle Architects]

was built in 1990 for the Doubletree hotel chain to Times Square.

The 43-storey hotel rises set-back from a base that incorporates curving billboards and the entrance canopy. The curving theme also extends to the horizontally-striped corner of the tower -- the southern portion of the facade follows the fenestration pattern of the neighbouring remnant of older Times Square occupants.

The hotel has 460 guest suites and 8 meeting rooms (560 m²). The building also incorporates the Palace Theater of 1,683 seats. Originally built in 1913 as a Broadway theater, it became a film house in the 1930s, now re-instated for Broadway productions.

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was built in 1990 for the Millennium hotel chain to Times Square.

Rising from a Post-modern, stone-clad entrance base with a glass-roofed canopy, the 52-storey tower itself is of black glass, with a semi-transparent mural advertising the hotel's excellence. Something that would be possible only in Times Square -- or Vegas.

There are 751 guest rooms and 10 suites, as well as 33 rooms of meeting space (9,290 m²). The guest rooms have marble decor and mahogany furniture.

A through-block pedestrian corridor connects 44th and 45th Streets.

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[Kohn Pedersen Fox Assocs. and Schuman, Lichtenstein, Claman & Efron Architects]

was built in 1990-1991 next to Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, over which this 53-storey tower looms.

To preserve the facades of three landmarked early-century low-rises on the building site, these had to be incorporated into the base of the new tower, which was set back 16 meters from Fifth Avenue. Two of these, the Rizzoli (1908) and Coty Buildings (1909) were renovated in 1989 by Beyer Blinder Belle and incorporated into the overall design. The latter, as the new Bendel's store, doubles as a four-storey, balconied entrance to the tower.

The building stands catty-corner to the Trump Tower, being at 198 m of about the same height, but with a form of a more conventional nature, a stone facing of limestone and white marble and a composed rhythm of differing small windows. The marble-clad mid-portion of the tower shaft is slightly recessed, bordered by corners of limestone.

The entry to the building lobby is from 56th Street, the lobby sporting a skylight roof and marble decor overall.

The Cityreview entry
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[Swanke Hayden Connell Architects]

was built in 1988-1992 as an office building on Sixth Avenue at 45th Street.

Developed by Bernstein brothers' New York Land Company and the KG Land New York Corp., a subsidiary of the Japanese construction and development firm Kumagai Gumi, the 89,200 m² building stood in a 3/4 complete state for a year until January 1991 as a legal battle was being fought -- KG Land sought to bankrupt the project due to alleged financing problems caused by the reputation of the NY Land Co., an NYC representative of Philippines' Marcoses' real estate assets.

The building rises to 211 m and incorporates 50 floors in a lavish Post-modern Deco display of pink unpolished granite piers rising through setbacks to the top, trimmed by grey granite in spandrels and the set-back, spired top.

The five-storey Americas Tower Exhibition Lobby is used by the National Sculpture Society for its rotating exhibitions -- there is also the dedicated NSS Gallery on the 15th floor of the building.

Kumagai Gumi sold the building in 2002 to a consortium led by Paramount Group for $500 million.

The Cityreview entry
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[Eli Attia]

rose in 1992 opposite the World Trade Center in Downtown Manhattan.

This 58-storey hotel skyscraper is about as plain as one can get: the 179 m tall, rectangular slab is clad in uniform dark glass -- its designer must have studied closely the monolith in Kubrick's film "2001: A Space Odyssey"...

The hotel incorporates 561 extensively equipped rooms, most of which are located on the side facing the WTC. There is also a rooftop swimming pool.

Damaged during the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, even feared to collapse, the hotel has been returned to hotel use since.

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[I.M. Pei & Partners and Frank Williams]

was built in 1993 as the New York City luxury flagship for the Four Seasons hotel chain.

The project was started by the Regent hotel chain, but after financial problems it was transferred to the Four Seasons which completed the building for its own use for the cost of $360 million.

Above a base that matches in height that of the Fuller Building next door, the 52-storey tower rises to the height of 208 m, as the tallest hotel in NYC. The building has hints of the 1930s Art Deco with its set-backs and window stripes, although the exterior still leans more toward certain modernist simplicity.

In addition to the massive stone sills under each window, the facade is sculptured by wedged corners that are capped by multi-faceted prisms above each setback. The light-toned limestone cladding came from the same source as the facing used in Pei's Louvre Museum extension in Paris.

Entrance to the building is from underneath an oculus opening that dominates the plain limestone wall. The lobby is 10 meters high with an austere decor of limestone (with beechwood), in accordance with the exterior. The floor has spiderweb-like patterns and the ceiling, with its grill pattern of onyx and lamp fixtures above, provides illumination. There are twin balconied lounges on the lobby sides.

The hotel has altogether 367 hotel rooms of lavish space and furniture. In addition to housing the vast, 280 m² Presidential Suite, the hotel's guest rooms are also generally the largest in the city, 55 m² in average.

The Cityreview entry
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[Fox & Fowle Architects]

was built in 1997-1999 for the Condé Nast publishing company.

As a new, prominent gate to the renewed Times Square and 42nd Street received its first tenants in June 1999. It had already gained fame also outside its stylistic importance: In July 1998 a portion of the scaffolding collapsed, forcing the closing and evacuation of all the nearby blocks from Fifth to Eighth Avenue (about 600 residents and workers in all) for several days.

The 47-storey facade of the building consists of typically Deconstructivist varying elements. The lower portions of the south and east facades are clad in granite and form a traditionally-inclined grid of windows, with a "core" of glass curtain-wall exposed from the sides and top. The rectangular plan form of both the base and the set-back tower is broken by a rounded corner at Broadway and 42nd Street. The corner facing Times Square is emphasised by a round turret at the base level, housing the curved, 1,100 m² NASDAQ ticker and video screen. The screen is holed at intervals to let natural light into the interior behind the screen.

The top of the building resembles a powerhouse with its curving, horizontally-banded corners, and has four protruding frameworks, one on every facade, for electric signs of 16 by 16 meters. The Australian-designed LED screens operate 24 hours a day and use 90 percent less energy than conventional signage as a skyline feature. Solar panels incorporated into the facade generate idle-time power for the building. From the middle, a transmission tower rises to the height of 348 meters -- by 2004, Univision and ABC digital as well as nine FM radio stations have signed up to transmit from the building.

For a construction cost of $500 million, the building houses 149,000 m² of rentable space as well as extensive communications cablings. Within the glass-walled base of the round turret video screen, the street-level NASDAQ MarketSite TV studio features a 14 m long and 5 m high curved wall of video screens for stock market data broadcasts.

The building is also notable for its new economical and ecological features. The energy-conscious installations within the building are expected to provide 10-15% savings in operational costs as compared to the conventionally built and equipped high-rises.

The frame incorporates concrete core walls for the first 20 floors, with a steel core extending to the top, where a hat truss connects it with a perimeter column tube. Both the concrete core portion and the hat truss were devised to lessen structural steel usage.

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THE LVMH TOWER (19 E 57th St.)
[Christian de Portzamparc and Hiller/Eggers]

was built in 1996-1999 as the North American headquarters for the Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, a multi-branch luxury product manufacturer.

The controversial, 23-storey building has a glass facade consisting of irregular inward-turned, oblique and angled facets (perhaps inspired by LVMH affiliate perfume bottles). Part of the facade glass is green-tinted, part is sandblasted to a pattern.

The base, the slanted mid-facade and the set-back tower correspond to the flanking buildings' setbacks and facade divisions. The first two floors house the Christian Dior retail store, with LVMH offices up to the 22nd floor. The ledge-corniced top houses a penthouse and a 10 m high, two-level social haunt for LVMH's high-visibility parties.

The building sits on a small, 18 x 30 m plot and incorporates 9,300 m² of space which is, however, far too little for carrying out comfortably all the activities incorporated within.

Work on the building was first started already in 1996, but was stopped soon afterwards and was resumed only after a lengthy interlude.

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[Schuman, Lichtenstein, Claman & Efron Architects]

was built in 1998-2000 as an apartment building at 64th Street, next to the old West Side rail-yards.

Replacing an NY Times printing plant, the building follows the spirit of the 1930s twin-towered apartment buildings along Central Park West with its twin 36-storey towers. The towers and a six-storey connecting portion are set back from a 12-storey base.

Of the total of 507 apartments in this $95 million development, 405 are luxury units and 102 subsidized (an 80/20 per cent arrangement). A great portion of the residents are students or graduates, and a lease contract with Columbia University provides several floors for grad student use.

The building is extensively glazed and the apartments have recessed balconies. In the corners, the base has corner windows, whereas in the towers the corners are recessed to form balconies. The towers are terminated at "cubes of void" on the tops. Due to the changing zoning regulations regarding the facades throughout 1998, there were constant changes and updates while the construction of the building was already under way.

As well as a central lobby facing 64th Street, the building also incorporates valet parking for 350 cars, as well as a fitness club and a common meeting and library hall.

As a curious feature, the foundations of the old NYT printing plant were not demolished along with the rest of the building, but were used to support the outer support columns of this residential building. The development was also demanding due to the differing layouts in apartments on different floors, requiring transferring of column loads from above by transfer beams to a column in a different location, a process called "walking" the columns. The framework incorporates over 60 such transfers.

As a result of these unusual arrangements, the building has received the Concrete Industry Board award for 2000 for its concrete work and the NY Construction News 2000 Residential Project Award of Merit.

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[Fox & Fowle Architects]

was built in 1999-2001 as an office tower for the Reuters news conglomerate.

Reuters was first to have moved to the neighbouring 4 Times Square, by the same architects, when it was announced, but Condé Nast took up the building first. In 1997 talks were begun about constructing Reuters a US headquarters building of their own at Times Square.

The $360 million new structure replaced the Victoria (later, Rialto) Theater of 1899 that was retrofitted with Deco elements in the 1920s. Groundbreaking for the 77,600 m² building was in January 1999 and the building was opened in June 2001.

Otherwise clad in stone, the base of the building turns into the glass-walled, three-storey lobby on the Seventh Avenue side. Beside the lobby, on the southeast corner, is a protruding seven-storey drum with a colonnaded lower part and large curved LED signage above. The east facade forms a 30-storey curving curtain wall with the wedge-like superstructure of the rooftop communications tower lodged into the top at 169 m.

The stone-clad lower portion of the north facade with its regular pattern of windows continues around the corner as a contextual nod to the neighbouring Paramount Building. The top of the facade has a curtain wall, the west facade over the theater buildings is similarly divided, whereas the south facade consists of only the stone-clad window matrix. The 42nd Street side has a relocated entrance to the Times Square subway station (and with an entrance canopy, mr. Roth). Also the subway entrance across the street at the 7 Times Square with its undulating canopy is a design by Fox & Fowle.

The top has an irregular-shaped setback housing the HVAC machinery, flanking the slanted top of the curved east facade and housing the communications tower. The tower has an opening for the tracked window washing trolley to pass through.

In addition to the 42nd Street corner curved signage, the northeast corner has a set of 11 screens of advanced LED signs that continues inside into the glass-walled lobby.

The internal design of the office floors was done by Swanke Hayden Connell Architects. Reuters occupies most of the office space with its over 2,000 employees. Interior special features include the terraced eighth floor Instinet/NASDAQ Trading Floor and the fourth floor television studio overlooking Times Square. There are four levels of retail space in the lowest floors as well as in the below-grade concourse.

Similarly to its older "brother" at 4 Times Square, the building incorporates "green" thinking in its design. The insulation was improved and air circulation increased by 50 percent over regulations. The rooftop heat exchangers can be powered either conventionally by electricity or by natural gas to best utilize the cost of electricity during the day and night. They are also of variable sizes to be deployed as needed to meet the differing needs. There is a reservation for the installation of both photovoltaic panels and fuel cells as used at the 4 Times Square. For emergency power, there are five diesel-powered generators on the roof, producing 750 kW each. The design features bring energy savings of up to 30 percent.

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[Costas Kondylis & Partners]

was built 1999-2001 to the East River waterfront as the world's tallest residential tower.

The building replaced the Modernist, 22-storey Engineering Societies Center (1961, Shreve, Lamb & Harmon) which had its tower offset from the base, leading to its perimeter wall columns doubling as pilotis on the south side.

The developer Donald Trump made a financing deal in which the South Korean Daewoo corporation provided $58.5 million against Trump's $6.5 million to get a $295 million loan from a German bank. As the earnings come in, Trump can expect to gain 50 percent of all profits above their investment.

The 262.5 m tall building has 72 high-ceilinged floors wrapped within facades of dark, bronze-tinted glass. Facing the river, the longer side of the slab unusually straddles the short front of the street block, at 44 meters making the east-west elevation staggeringly six times taller than its width.

There are a total of 374 luxury apartments featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, marble bathroom decor and maple floors. The top houses a duplex penthouse of 1,860 m² with 6-meter ceilings. The facilities within the 83,400 m² building include a first-class restaurant, health club and a swimming pool.

The immense height of the building was made possible by the acquisition of air rights from the nearby plot owners. The resulting design led to intense campaigning against the tall building, as it was seen to block views from other residential towers in the area, as well as violating the ruling of new high-rises not exceeding the height of the nearby United Nations Secretariat. Despite the opposition, the building was topped out on August 3, 2000 and completed the next year according to the original design. The controversy was, however, a catalyst for the (eventually ill-fated) Unified Bulk Program Zoning Amendment that was aimed at reducing the height of new construction in the city.

The building has a concrete frame that was built exceptionally fast utilizing methods and equipment that allowed the two-day rotation of floor forming. Record-strength (for an NYC building) concrete was used for the core and columns at the lower floor levels. Whereas the residential floor heights vary from 3.3 m to 5.1 m at the penthouses, the 22nd floor with its HVAC equipment has a 5.5-meter ceiling. That floor also doubles as the location for frame structural transfers as well as the lower member of the wind-bracing system, along with the top-floor "hat" and H-shaped shear walls extending through the floors.

Official website
The Cityreview entry |
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[Frank Williams & Associates]

was built in 1999-2001 by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide as a Times Square area hotel.

The building replaced the Central (later, Holiday) Theater (Herbert J. Krapp, 1918), which was later turned into a cinema and a nightclub, before being sold for $31 million.

The developers took over a 1997 development by Intell Times Square Hotel L.L.C. and Planet Hollywood in 2000 -- already under construction and with extensive interior work done -- and the hotel project was turned into the fifth W chain hotel in Manhattan for a payment of $175 million for a 25-year land lease. The irony, or continuity of involvement, was the fact that the original hotel project was also carried out through a deal with a Starwood subsidiary, the Sheraton Hotels. The hotel opened in December 2001, four days before New Year's Eve and it achieved full occupancy in April the next year despite the originally dire state of the industry.

Although facing physically 47th Street, the building extends to Broadway, thus acquiring the more prestigious address of 1567 Broadway and at the same time utilizing the location for an advertisement tower at Times Square: the low-rise wing extending to Broadway has a vast double-sided billboard atop, flanking the tower to half its free height and blocking views north from the east-facing lower floor windows.

The 53-storey tower shaft rises from the main low-rise mass along 47th Street and is clad in gray and brown brick with windows in regular patterns except for the west side that only has corner windows. The tower is topped at 178 m by an array of "W" signs tilted downwards.

The street-level entrance on 47th Street is through a glass-encased waterfall installation that extends to the pavement underneath. The seventh-floor reception space with a 570 m² promenade is then reached by elevators. The hotel by interior design is by the Yabu Pushelberg design firm and the Starwood Design Group and includes 507 guestrooms, including 43 suites and a seafood restaurant.

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[Gary Edward Handel + Associates and Polshek Partnership Architects]

-- or the Millennium Point after the developers, Millennium Partners -- was built in 1999-2001 to the southern reaches of Battery Park City.

Groundbreaking took place in November 1999 and the building was ready for occupation in late 2001 when the September 11th terrorist attacks occurred. The building was finally opened in January 2002.

The 38-storey, 46,450 m² building consists of a luxury hotel and a 137 m condominium tower.

The hotel Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park occupies the first 12 floors of the tower and the curved wing facing Hudson river and featuring a landscaped deck. There are 298 rooms, including 44 suites, the largest one 200 m² in size. Hotel rooms facing the waterfront feature telescopes.

The residential portion, Residences at Ritz-Carlton, includes 113 luxury condos in the tower.

The building is clad in brown, iron-spot brick on the wing and eastern portion of the tower, the slanted riverside half of the tower with its prism-like top and chamfered corners has a gray-tinted glass and aluminium curtain wall.

The Skyscraper Museum at the base of the building opened in 2004 in a space donated by the developers and designed by Roger Duffy of SOM for free. The museum's unique design features mirrors on both floors and ceilings.

As the building is built on a landfill near Hudson River and the basements are 4 m below water level, the excavation was lined in a bathtub of waterproof membrane throughout. Also, well points were built around the perimeter to collect excess water. The foundations feature a concrete slab and rock anchors atop the 650 piles to resist water's lifting force.

A landscaped granite plaza by Hargreaves Associates features two slanted fountains.

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[Kohn Pedersen Fox Assocs.]

was built in 1999-2002 by the Rockefeller Group and Morgan Stanley financial firm at Times Square.

Originally named Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Plaza after its originally intended occupant, the 95,500 m² building was sold for $750 million to Lehman Brothers in October 2001 as both firms were making relocations from Downtown after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The plot-sized building base rises above first-floor gray granite pillars and features glass-walled recessed entrances on Seventh Avenue as well as the side streets. The 49th Street corner has a subway entrance.

The 38-storey tower consists of vertically-accentuated and horizontally divided parts that form intertwined towers, with the curtain wall frame of the main portion continuing straight up over the top floor level to 175.5 meters, the set-back mechanical floors visible inside this cage at the top.

The structural steel frame was erected in eight months and the construction overall took 25 months. In a truly frantic NYC-style, the start of occupancy was scheduled and determined by the readiness of the four data centers within the building.

A set-back wing of the tower rises atop the base on the Seventh Avenue side, its curtain wall etched with a map of the world, extending to the sides of the wing. The building's base and, partly, the set-back wing sport integrated, computerized advertisement signage; on the Seventh Avenue side, the base has over 600 m² of integral led-signage by Imaginary Forces. The installation consists of a 6 x 12 meter screen above the entrance and three bands of animated banners in the spandrels on both sides, alternating with the window stripes and wrapped around the corners (image). The steel supports of the 2,000 segments are connected to the building's frame.

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[Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Gerner, Kronick + Valcarcel]

was constructed in 1999-2002 at 47th Street as a world headquarters building for the Bear, Stearns & Co., an investment banking, securities and brokerage firm.

It replaced the Webb & Knapp Building (Cross & Cross, 1922-1923, demol. May 1998), a 12 storey building, featuring two facade mosaic murals of Manhattan skyline, one of which is preserved within the new tower, above the escalator leading to the Grand Central Terminal corridor. In 1952 I.M. Pei and William Lescaze, the former acting as the head of Webb & Knapp's architectural division, designed a critically acclaimed duplex penthouse office for the company owner, developer William Zeckendorf and his design team, topped with a cantilevered turret-like private lounge. In 1982 the Manhattan Savings Bank sold the building (although remaining in it for four more years) and subsequently a group led by G. Ware Travelstead were planning a replacement tower, only to fall victim of the lack of necessary development rights.

In 1994 the developer Howard Ronson got a two-year option on the site, requiring him to find tenants for 60% of the projected $80,000 m² building, utilizing only the as-of-rights of the site itself. When he fell 10% short of the occupancy target and failed to renew his option, Bear Stearns stepped in.

Fred Wilpon, the Chairman of the developer firm, Sterling Equities (along with Hines Interests), was also in the board of directors of Bear Stearns, although obtaining the rights for the site from the land-owner, the Saudi al-Babtain family required 18 months of negotiations, during which time the firm almost settled on the west Midtown location now housing the Lehman Brothers' new HQ building. Also Chase Manhattan Bank was interested in the site until Bears Stearns's 99-year lease deal was struck.

The building has a total of 47 floors, rising as a granite-clad octagonal tower from a square 8-storey base to the flat top at 231 m. The top 7 floors of the building are illuminated at night to create a "crown" of light on the night sky.

The octagonal shape of the building was chosen to increase the outer wall space for natural light and views. The $330 million building has 116,100 m² of total space, with 26,500 m² of development rights gained as air rights as enabled by the Grand Central zoning subdistrict.

The building is partly located above rail tracks from the nearby Grand Central Terminal, necessating the location of the basement as well as the core with the elevators to the Madison Avenue side of the full-block building. The lack of basement space also required to locate part of the electrical systems on the 15th and 16th floors, which in fact also lessened the costs of building the wiring to transfer the power to the office floor locations.

Five of the floors on the base are dedicated 3,900 m² trading floors, each able to accommodate up to 420 traders, the open space enabled by the offset core of the building. The trading floors have raised floors for installation of the wiring required by the trading operations. Moreover, the building is equipped with extensive wiring for both conventional and wireless networks.

The lobby has a black and white marble decor, with faceted columns, a checkerboard terrazzo floor and an illuminated "skylight" ceiling. The public passageway, required by the development rights program, is separated by a glass colonnade by the artist James Carpenter.

Bear Stearns moved its first operations into the building in April 2002.

The Cityreview entry
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[Arquitectonica Architects]

was built in 2000-2002 as a hotel in Times Square for the Westin Hotels & Resorts.

Announced in September 1996 as part of the E Walk development, the 45-storey building was the first new major hotel project in NYC since the Four Seasons Hotel nine years earlier. The building's unconventional facade treatment and massing make it definitely a distinct NYC skyline fixture. The multi-coloured tower facade consists of 4,500 glass panels with horizontal and vertical strikes -- over 1,200 different types of panel in terms of form, size and 10 colours. The window panes are installed in an aluminium frame that sandwiches the clear inner glass and the tinted facade glass separated by an insulating air space.

The curved "Beam of Light" in the north and south facades is a 108-meter long recessed white swoosh visually separating the tower's 17,100 m² of glass walls into the vertically and horizontally accentuated parts. On the south side, the feature ends well short of the roof in a series of floodlights that visually "extend" the effect into a night sky. On the north side, however, the "beam" is considerably narrower and extends all the way to the top. On both sides of the separator, a vertically separated set of lean-to roofs terminates at 162 m.

The south side of the building houses the meeting and convention rooms in a wing that expands the tower's floors 8 through 17. Dubbed the "the rock" due to its brown-toned facade and "battered" appearance, the wing extends to 42nd Street over the 18,600 m² E Walk entertainment, restaurant and retail complex by the same developers and D'Agostino Izzo Quirk Architects, which opened in November 1999. The wing is clad in 3,700 m² of rectangular aluminium panels, prefabricated with different coloured panels pre-installed, six colours used in all, and broken by alternating rowns of window openings.

The hotel's entrance corner features a glass atrium that leads to the second-floor lobby via escalators. The lobby has striped granite and marble floor along the building's decorative theme.

At the center of the south wing is the seven-storey New York Atrium, with the north interior wall made of tinted mirror panes. An extension of the "Beam of Light" curves up through that mirror wall. The meeting spaces line the atrium perimeter.

Of the the hotel's 863 rooms/suites, 126 are in the Westin Executive Club class. The hotel was opened in October 2002.

The building was structurally unorthodox and demanding all the way from the excavation adjacent to the Eighth Avenue subway line. The building has a concrete column frame with the south wing supported on top of the E walk by the retail complex's steel frame 30 meters above the street level. The horizontal stresses between the cantilevered wing and the main tower are taken by a seismic isolator instead of the more common expansion joint, which requires more maintenance.

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[Kohn Pedersen Fox Assocs., Bill Pedersen as chief designer]

was built in 2000-2002 as a Boston Properties-developed office building at Times Square.

For a site cost of $152 million and $420 million loaned for construction, the building incorporates 102,200 m² of rentable space, its non-setback bulk enabled by the special zoning for Times Square. With excavations started in November 1999, the building was ready for occupation by its main tenant, the Ernst & Young accounting firm in May 2002.

The 40-storey building is a study of today's multi-faceted glass curtain building, with seemingly none of the corners at right angles and presenting a mass within a mass. The glass-walled main mass is flanked on the north and east sides by darkened-glass extrusions with slanted sides converging on the 42nd Street corner. These masses are partly striped with metal spandrels as a contrast to the homogenic walls of the tower shaft. The whole is topped by a multi-levelled roof at 175.5 m, formed from a series of sloped decks on three sides of the perimeter.

The 9,300 m² of retail space sports appropriate Times Square glass and advertisement frontage. The main tenant's name is displayed in illuminated lettering running down the Seventh Avenue wing's slanted end in a horizontal frame that juts out from the glass facade. Above the Seventh Avenue entrace, an advertisement billboard slants downwards.

The offices within are served by 18 elevators. The 24th floor features the offices for ex-Mayor Giuliani's consulting firm, developer Boston's Mort Zuckerman being a close acquaintance who obtained the sites for both this as well as the neighbouring 7 Times Square with ample City Hall assistance. (As a sidenote, Ernst & Young profited from the demise of that building's intended tenant, Arthur Andersen, after the Enron scandal when it obtained much of the rival's staff and clients.)

The engineering effort rivalled the political and architectural. With the building extending to the plot lines, the proximity of subway lines on two sides and the renovated New Amsterdam Theatre (which, in a way, started the 42nd Street rebirth and whose matinee shows regularly interrupted excavation work) on third meant that special care had to be taken in excavation and foundation work. The deep level of the subway line along 41st Street meant that the south end had to be founded on minicaissons bored into bedrock only 1.5 meters from the station structures. The rest of the perimeter was founded normally on footings, and on the Seventh Avenue subway side the distance tolerance was even less.

The partial perimeter tube frame, with wider openings on the east and west faces, takes the lateral loads, allowing for a more slender core in order to maximize floor space. The three open sides of the building feature floor-high transfer trusses and the north facade slanted feature, in fact, forms around a diagonal frame member running all the way to the top.

The building's sale to the Dubai investment firm Istithmar in April 2006 as a part of a $2.2 billion deal including the 280 Park Avenue will be dependent on the amount of actual taxes after 2022 development incentives wear off.

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(1745 Broadway/230 West 56th St.)

[Skidmore, Owings & Merrill]

was built in 2000-2003 for Related Companies as an office-residential building housing the Random House publishing company.

After a search for a suitable plot -- one candidate being opposite the Bertelsmann Building at Times Square after Random House got involved in 1998 -- the choice was the Broadway plot between 55th and 56th Streets, assembly of which was begun in 1997. Gathering of air rights from nearby properties resulted in 10 extra apartment floors. Negotiatiations with the city about tax incentives for the development led to clashes, but construction on the $425 million building was nevertheless started in November 2000.

The 52-storey building consists of three masses, in two senses, as well as two uses inside the 79,900 m² of space.

The six-storey base has a trapezoidal plan, with front wall following the diagonal line of Broadway, and extends forward to form an arcade below. The mid-portion consists of three protruding bays with tinted glass walls, whereas the flanking portions are clad in polished gray granite and uniformly gridded with windows. The tower is set-back atop the base, aligned along the Manhattan street grid. The lower shaft is similarly divided into three parts with granite and curtain wall facing, although the mid-portion is off-set into a parallelogram of three masses making the tower also, in effect, follow the diagonal of Broadway, at the same time directing more of window space toward Central Park. The set-back top portion of the tower reaches 208.5 m and consists only of the extension of the curtain-walled mid-part with a single setback notch in every jagged front facing Bradway. The top is also terraced towards north.

From the side, the result somewhat resembles the jagged setbacks of the GE Building at the Rockefeller Center. Considering that the base and the lower tower occupant up to the 25th floor is a book publisher, coincidentally or not, the building resembles a trio of (very tall) overlapping books held by the weighty stone bookends -- although the architects prefer to babble something about "three sliding crystals". For the case of coincidence is the fact that the development was originally also considered for rental apartments or hotel use. The Random House portion consists of 60,500 m² of offices and has an entrance from Broadway. Ground floor features retail spaces and the two basement levels include a carage for 100 cars.

The top of the tower consists of the Park Imperial's 111 luxury apartments on 23 floors. The residential portion, designed by Ismael Leyva Architects and Adam D. Tihany, has a separate entrance from 56th Street. The lobby design features wood wall panelling, inlaid terrazzo floor and a circular lighting fixture above the reception desk. The apartments have three-meter ceilings and there are five penthouses of up to 276 m² in size. In addition to the business center and terraced entertainment space with a catering kitchen, there is a health club; all features of new luxury residential developments, just like the building's jagged-form, modernist design by notable architects both inside and outside as well as the vanity-tickling arithmetics of marketing: the residential floors run officially from 48th to 70th.

The office portion up to the 27th floor has a steel frame, whereas the residential part above was constructed with a concrete frame of in-situ cast slabs and columns. To transfer the loads from the upper frame to the steel structure below, with no direct vertical correlation between frame members (and doubling as stiffening against wind loads), an elaborate system of girders and trusses was constructed through the 26th and 27th floors. These also form the top of the north and south wings, where the mid-rise mechanical floors are also located.

To counter any wind-generated sway without increasing costs by millions of dollars through heavy bracing, the building top floor houses twin Tuned Liquid Column Dampers (TLCD) that act like the mass damper used at the Citicorp/group Center, only here fluid acts as the damper medium instead of a concrete block. In an installation considered smaller, cheaper and less complex than a block damper, here two specially shaped, U-section concrete tanks with capacities of 265,000 and 379,000 liters of water are used to absorb the energy of oscillation. Installed by a Canadian firm, this was the first use of a liquid mass damper in the US.

The foundation work not only required supporting both the neighbouring buildings to the west with piles dug into bedrock from underneath and the Broadway subway with caisson foundations, but at the center of the site, a depression in bedrock required additional excavation of up to 10 m.

Bertelsmann, Random's parent company, sold the Random House space for $297 million to the real-estate fund Jamestown in June 2003, although the 25-floor space was leased back for 15 years for the publishing company's use.

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[Michael Graves and H. Thomas O'Hara]

was completed in 2003 for RFR Davis as a multi-use tower along Fifth Avenue.

Originally designed by Robert AM Stern, the work was turned over to Michael Graves as the building specifications were expanded.

At 188.5 meters, the 55-storey building commands its immediate surroundings, the sense of height accentuated through the use of vertical striping in white brick and wraparound corner windows. The square plan transforms to octagonal above the last setback.

The limestone-clad base of the 26,900 m² building incorporates a retail portion in the basement and first two floors, as well as an elliptical residential lobby with Italian Cipollino stone decor. The top of the base consists of office space.

Above the first setback, the two-floor The Fifth Avenue Club features a pool and an all-around terrace. An extended-stay apartment hotel of 57 units is operated by Envoy Club, with its own lobby on the 8th floor. The top portion of the tower houses 81 luxury condominiums.

On the east side "pocket" next to the building, an elevated plaza by Thomas Balsley Assocs. features a fountain and honey locust trees.

CityRealty entry
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THE TIME WARNER CENTER (1 Time Warner Center)
[Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, David Childs as chief designer]

was built in 2000-2004 at Columbus Circle for the Time Warner media conglomerate.

Originally developed under the title New Coliseum or Columbus Centre (then briefly as the AOL Time Warner Center before "AOL" was dropped from the company name in 2003), the building replaced the Robert Moses-era monument, the Coliseum (1954-1956, Leon and Lionel Levy with John B. Peterkin, Aymar Embury II and Eggers & Higgins)(image).

In 1985 the Metropolitan Transport Authority was looking for a multi-use replacement on this prominent site. Mortimer Zuckerman's Boston Properties ended up as the high bidder with $455 million and started developing a 250,000 m² office building, the "New Coliseum" for Salomon Brothers. Moshe Safdie designed a 282-meter, twin-towered entity with 68- and 58-storey prismlike towers. After public opposition and a lawsuit, David Childs replaced Safdie and a less imposing design was introduced. After more delays, the real estate market had collapsed and Salomon Brothers abandoned the project. Finally, in 1994, the Zuckerman site deal fell through.

In July 1998, after a competition which pitted architect/developer-teams against each other (link), a mainly similar Columbus Centre scheme by Childs triumphed under the Related Companies-led developer consortium. Millenium Partners had, in fact, almost emerged victorious, but abandoned the project after the intervention by Mayor Giuliani and a demand for a large theater space within the development. Related saved the(ir) day by bringing in Jazz at Lincoln Center and the required 2,000 seats.

The purchase of the building plot from the MTA for a now greatly diminished sum of $357 million was completed in the summer of 2000, with a deposit of $70 million. Like its predecessor, the development was designed from the beginning with 59th Street demapped, facing Columbus Circle in a sweeping 7-storey curve two blockfronts wide.

The twin-towered multi-use design incorporated 259,000 m² of space for $1.75 billion, requiring a $1.3 million loan, the largest-ever for a privately-funded project in the US.

Despite stiff opposition due to the increased volume of the building as compared to the figures used for the 1997 environmental review, steel construction started in February 2001. Even as the construction was marred by a multi-storey fire and various safety violations, leading to two deaths and injuries even to pedestrians, the building was topped out in February 2003 and opened in February 2004.

An extensive six-floor retail and restaurant complex (Howard F. Elkus of Elkus/Manfredi Architects, 50,500 m²), with the four above-ground floors built around a glass-walled atrium space, form The Shops at Columbus Circle and The Restaurant and Bar Collection. These feature six high-end restaurants and 40 retailers, as well as a 3,000 m² fitness club at the lower basement level.

Three performance spaces with a total of 2,000 seats comprise the Jazz at Lincoln Center (Rafael Viñoly Architects, 9,300 m²) on the 5th and 6th floors underneath the north tower. The space was provided for free, but the JaLC had to complete the space at its own expense. The 1,200-seat Frederick P. Rose Hall is separated from the rest of the building by steel and neoprene pads that isolate the hall from outside sounds.

The atrium wall facing Columbus Circle is made of laminated glass panes attached to a non-rigid, 45 m high and 26 m wide cable mesh frame, the largest glass wall of its kind in the world.

Literally topping the whole are the 228.5-meter residential and office towers at 25 and 80 Columbus Circle. The height was dictated by a limit that the city had included into the 1996 development charter in order to address the community worries. The tower shafts rise from 20- and 24-storey setback tower bases, all with parallelogram plans and curtain wall facades of dark glass. The towers, separated by 26 meters and featuring vertical stripes at the top recall the Central Park West apartment towers of the thirties. Although the towers are physically 53 floors tall, the condominium top-floor penthouses are advertised as the 80th floor.

The south tower base incorporates the Time Warner World Headquarters (HLW International, 80,300 m²) with broadcast studios for the CNN. The One Central Park Condominiums (Ismael Leyva Architects and Thad Hayes Inc., 54,500 m²) with 195 luxury apartments occupies the tower proper.

The north tower lower half houses the luxury Mandarin Oriental Hotel (Brennan Beer Gorman Architects, 25,700 m²) with 251 guestrooms and suites and The Residences at the Mandarin Oriental (Ismael Leyva Architects and Thad Hayes Inc., 54,500 m² total residential in both towers) with 65 apartments at the top. The hotel lobby with its glass wall facing Central Park hovers 18 floors above street level and a glass-walled swimming pool is located at the height of 90 meters. Similarly, a 450 m² ballroom faces Central Park. The hotel's Presidential Suite has 207 m² of floor space. The tower base includes six floors of office space (60 Columbus Circle).

All these enclosures have their own separate entrances from the side streets. There are in fact six different addresses for this compact mini-city that is served by no less than 73 elevators, the same number as the Empire State Building. The building is covered in 83,500 m² of windows.

A garage for 548 cars occupies the rear portions of the ground floor and the basement.

The lower portion of the building is built with a steel frame whereas the towers, with their residential and hotel uses, use a concrete frame and 12 x 43 m concrete cores. The differing requirements of the portions of the building have led to a liberal use of special columns and two transfer trusses on the towers to accommodate the 20-, 15- and 7-meter column spans (for the CNN, AOL Time Warner and residential spaces, respectively) as well as the open spaces within the lower floors.

In 2003, the financier David Martinez bought two of the ten penthouses at the top of the towers to create a 780 m² duplex unit, for an NYC record sum (not anymore) of $42.25 million (The earlier, $36 million record was for a Park Ave. triplex in 2000). As the duplex was a tailor-made expansion of the standard penthouse arrangement in the building (approx. 550 m² in each duplex and 460 m² in a simplex) and the duplex's upper portion was gutted and turned into air space to create double-height rooms, the conversion cost in fact 1,060 m² worth of marketable floor space. In addition, the decorating and furnishing of the space cost millions more. Moreover, the one-and-a-half-floor apartment was complemented with a later purchase of another half-floor of space for $12 million, increasing the bought total to 1,580 m².

The Cityreview entry
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(731 Lexington Ave./151 East 58th St.)

[Cesar Pelli & Assocs. and Schuman, Lichtenstein, Claman & Efron Architects]

was built in 2001-2004 by Vornado Realty Trust as an office-residential building housing the Bloomberg financial news organization.

The building replaced the five-storey Alexander's department store (Emery Roth & Sons, 1958), the largest new retail store in Manhattan in forty years at the time of its opening. Originally (in all senses of the word) the block-sized building was to have murals by Salvador Dalí on its blank marble facades, but eventually the artist's work was restricted to the executive offices. The department store was finally demolished in 1998.

In 1995, Vornado had obtained the controlling stake in Alexander's real estate properties -- its retail chain had gone under a few years earlier -- and the company's ex-flagship store location was of specific interest for the developer. As years and "potential" tenants and architects came and went, a 12-storey Ritz-Carlton hotel as well as both the Sotheby's and Christie's auction houses were eliminated from the equation. The hotel plan was scrapped and the number of apartments halved after the prospective main tenant, Bloomberg L.P., doubled its original need to 64,600 m² for its offices and studios. After three years of talks, and shortly after Vornado's World Trade Center lease bid debacle, the deal was signed in April 2001; Bloomberg's founder, Michael Bloomberg, in turn, announced shortly afterwards his candidacy for the Mayor of New York City. Having himself campaigned against corporate tax breaks as a given, the newly-elected Mayor rejected the negotiated and ready-to-take $14.4 million package for his company.

Excavations on the site were begun in 1999, with no announcement about the developer's plans, Vornado style. The move was undoubtedly fuelled by the "threat" of the -- eventually ill-fated -- city's Unified Bulk Zoning amendment that would have restricted the height of the tower to 150 meters. Complete the foundations and file permit before the amendment goes into force, and the planned height could not be limited. It's doubtful whether the summer 2000 deadline could have been met anyway given all the uncertainties.

Originally, the tower was to be located on the eastern end of the block, along Third Avenue, and the foundations were poured accordingly. As the new main tenant's requirements led to a redesign, also some of the already built foundations had to be re-made in late 2001. This unexpected shift and required redesign to accommodate the changes was one of the factors, along with other delays, raising the original estimated price of $225 million to $630 million. Frame construction started finally in April 2002. In May 2004 Bloomberg L.P. moved in and the residential portion was ready for occupancy later that same year.

The use of inclusionary zoning provisions through the construction of 41 apartments for the elderly at 171 Lexington Avenue as well as the transfer of 13,000 m² of air rights from two other locations have allowed the building's notable bulk, increasing the FAR of the building plot from 10 to 12. In all, 55 percent of the residential portion of the tower was gained through inclusionary zoning.

The 128,900 m² building consists of two masses, the 56-storey tower on the Lexington Avenue side and a 11-storey wing along Third Avenue, separated by a horseshoe-shaped courtyard, opening to 58th Street.

The five-storey base extends to the plot lines throughout, with floors above set back. The east wing has a mesh-walled sloped roof housing mechanical equipment within. The courtyard is an inward-sloping, elliptical centerpoint with the surrounding curtain wall covered in a tubular horizontal banding throughout. With the form of the courtyard completely opening to the south, there is an opening also to 59th Street, leaving the east and west wings bridged at the fourth, fifth and sixth floor levels.

The tower rises as a cruciform in plan with setbacks, doubling as terraces, on three sides. The narrow aluminium spandrels form protruding, cornice-like horizontal striping on the curtain walls. The mechanical top floor walls at 245.5 m are illuminated at night (image).

The first two floors include 14,300 m² of retail space. The drive-through courtyard contains the entrances to the apartments as well as the second entrance to the office tower. There is a 650 m² glass-walled restaurant in the east wing, facing the courtyard. Tower floors from third to 28th include the office space; the building houses 82,200 m² of offices in all and is served by 29 elevators. The building incorporates a subway entrance, although also here the proceedings didn't go completely without friction...

The residential portion of the development is called the 1 Beacon Court and incorporates 105 luxury condominiums from 32nd to 55th floors. (These are also uncommonly "honest" floor numbers, as compared to the made-up 80th and 90th floors of the Time Warner Center and Trump World Tower, respectively.) All the apartments have floor-to-ceiling glass walls and the top five floors are for penthouses occupying half a floor, whereas the 50th floor apartment hogs up a full floor. That 807 m² penthouse was sold for $27 million and features 4.3-meter ceilings and full-width north and south terraces (floor plan). The Beacon Club on 29th floor features a fitness center and entertainment facilities. Interior design of the residential portion is by Jacques Grange.

The low-rise portion of the building as well as the office tower are constructed with a steel frame, whereas the residential portion atop is a concrete column structure. All the floors are poured concrete on a metal decking. The 11th and 12th floors of the tower incorporate perimeter trusses. The top houses a Tuned Mass Damper to decrease the wind-induced oscillation within the residential floors. The 7.5-meter height limit for the TMD installation space was overcome by using a dual-mass arragement with a total of 590 metric tons of concrete blocks.

1 Beacon Court official site
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[Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, David Childs as chief designer]

was built in 2002-2004 as a Boston Properties-developed office building at Times Square.

Located on a plot including the glittery 42nd Street entrance to the Times Square subway station on its north-western corner as well as the Times Square Brewery (which relocated to the next-door 5 Times Square), the building was the last of the four 42nd Street redevelopment towers to be completed. At 221.5 m it also ended up as the tallest, incorporating 111,500 m² of rentable space, including 5,500 m² for retail uses. Excavation on the $650 million development was begun in June 2001, with building completion in June 2004.

Rising unsetback from the plot lines as per redevelopment guidelines, the 49-storey tower is clad in 41,000 m² of aluminium and glass curtain wall. Faithful to the no-two-facades-are-similar style, the east and south facades form mostly a uniform glass wall that has a curious, diagonally rising zigzag pattern as an embedded feature (image). The west and north facades form a horizontally striped wall with lighter spandrels. There is also a prominent 15 x 12 m billboard high along the north wall, visible from Times Square over the 1 Times Square.

At the top, above the slanted upper part of the eastern facade curtain wall, meshlike extensions of south and west facades and a diagonal face separating the northwestern corner roof form a triangle that covers the heat exchangers.

The fifth floor office lobby with outside views of Broadway is reached through shuttle elevators from the street level entrance lobby with a tapering, four-storey atrium. The lobby surfaces include stone paving, stainless steel frame member cladding and wood panelling.

Served by 26 elevators, the office floors have outer walls with 2.3 m tall windows throughout and the perimeter frame allows floorplans with, typically, only three columns inside the rentable office space.

Like the neighbouring 5 Times Square, the all-plot building was a tight fit on its site, being surrounded from three sides by subway lines, two of them including station platforms plus an entrance to the system's busiest station (165,000 per day), connecting directly to 10 train lines and through the shuttle to the second busiest (140,000) and a commuter railway station. Needless to say, the station had to remain operational throughout, which complicated the excavation process. It took 10 months from the start of excavation to the completion of foundation work.

The depth of the 41st Street subway line meant that the foundations had to be made with minicaissons into the bedrock, with larger ones underneath the corners to carry the greater loads. At the north end, the century-old foundation footings underneath the subway station and the brewery were incorporated into the new ones where applicable.

For both structural and architectural reasons, the diagonally braced perimeter frame was chosen over tube frame to take the lateral loads, allowing also a wider spacing of the facade columns. In order to get corner offices more light, the brace diagonals meet at the corners at different heights. The bracing is clearly visible on the eastern half of the north facade (image).

The floors between the lobby levels, covered in outside advertisements as they are, house the building's transformers as well as frame transfer trusses. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the ground floor perimeter frame members were further reinforced as a precaution.

The accounting heavyweight Arthur Andersen was to occupy practically all office space within the building in a 15-year lease, but after the Enron scandal led to the firm's demise, the tenantship deal was off too.

Building official site
Structural analysis of the building

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lo-go © e t dankwa 27 June 2014