Kohn Pedersen Fox plays Jenga with this Madison Avenue building, pulling mass away and stacking it on top

Architecture East News Skyscrapers
390 Madison Avenue. (Courtesy Neoscape)

390 Madison Avenue. (Courtesy Neoscape)

It’s addition by subtraction on Madison Avenue, where Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) is playing real-life Jenga with a 24-story office building between East 46th and 47th streets in Midtown Manhattan.

An ominous promotional video for 390 Madison is not clear on what permits are required for spontaneously exploding plate-glass facades. (Sara Fay / Vimeo)

An ominous promotional video for 390 Madison is not clear on what permits are required for spontaneously exploding plate-glass facades. (Sara Fay / Vimeo)

The resulting tower is a result of a collaborative, iterative design process that balances the needs of diverse stakeholders all intent on goading one of their own to accidentally topple their shared vision. (Derek Mawhinney / Wikimedia Commons)

The Jenga tower is a result of a collaborative, iterative design process that balances the needs of diverse stakeholders all intent on goading one of their own to accidentally topple their shared vision. (Derek Mawhinney / Wikimedia Commons)

The architects are removing select floors of 380 Madison Avenue, and stacking them on top of each other to make a taller building. In all, 18 percent of the building will be removed and re-stacked, nudging the building up to 32 stories from its original 24. Amazingly, the rearranged tower, to be renamed 390 Madison Avenue, will have the same amount of square footage as its squatter self, YIMBY reports.

Construction is expected to be complete by early 2017.

There will be 663,419 square feet of commercial space (mostly for offices), and the first two floors will be double-height, for retailers looking for a swanky address on one of the city’s most prestigious shopping streets. The current facade, 1980s dark glass, will be replaced by floor-to-ceiling clear glass panels. The video below, fashioned after an action movie trailer, shows exactly how the building gets taller and leaner.

390 Madison Avenue is not the only recent tower to get Jenga’d. Last June, Büro Ole Scheeren released plans for a residential tower in Vancouver with boxy massing. Two months later, Pritzker Prize–winning architect Eduardo Souto de Moura unveiled plans for a mixed-use tower in Washington, D.C. with a similar profile, while NBBJ‘s tower, announced last September, promises to topple expectations for Cleveland’s skyline. Though AN did not make the comparison initially, BIG‘s new police station in the Bronx could fall under this emerging typology.

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