New Rendering

Plaza revamp begins at landmarked SOM tower, minus controversial glass pavilions

Architecture East News Preservation
Plaza revamp begins at landmarked SOM tower, minus controversial glass pavilions. (Photo by Audrey Wachs / Image via DOB)
Plaza revamp begins at landmarked SOM tower, minus controversial glass pavilions. (Photo by Audrey Wachs / Image via DOB)

Scaffolding is going up around a landmarked modernist plaza in lower Manhattan, signaling a revamp that’s been a long time in the making.

Previously, SOM took on its own vintage work for plaza modifications at 28 Liberty Street (formerly One Chase Manhattan Plaza), a Financial District building that opened in 1964. Those plans, which were approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in 2015, featured three large glass pavilions to provide additional access to below-grade retail, among other modifications.

But the development did not go according to plan. The Architect’s Newspaper reported in January that the pavilions were abandoned by owner-developer Fosun, in light of new rules that make it harder for owners to change city-imposed deed restrictions. In case readers missed it, a TL;DR version of the plaza saga can be found here (and here).

(Audrey Wachs / AN)

Rendering of 28 Liberty at the corner of Nassau and Liberty streets. (Audrey Wachs / AN)

A recent site visit revealed new plans for the plaza. One posted rendering showed a restored parapet—with not a glass pavilion in sight. Based on the character and style of the rendering, it is almost certain that the rendering was completed by SOM, but at press time, multiple requests for comment on the latest developments were not returned. [Update 2/27/17: AN has learned that the rendering is not by SOM and that there are no additional details on the rendering at this time.]

(Audrey Wachs / AN)

(Audrey Wachs / AN)

Permits on file allow for the construction of scaffolding around the site, as seen at the corner of Nassau and Liberty streets, above, and on the southeast side of the plaza along William Street, below. As of right now, no additional permits for plaza construction have been filed, although the signage states that work is expected to be complete later this year. Images on SOM’s website, however, still show the older version of the design.

(Audrey Wachs / AN)

(Audrey Wachs / AN)

Fosun declined to comment on the ongoing work.

(Courtesy SOM)

The entire plan for below-grade and plaza-level work—including designs for three glass stair pavilions like the one pictured above—was withdrawn last November. (Courtesy SOM)

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