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A Rough Beauty
Zoning required a setback roughly in line with the building's third box. A tight budget prevented a full build out to that line, creating the opportunity for SANAA's playful composition.
Dean Kaufman

S

ome renderings, like some photographs, become fixed in the brain. Architects equipped with ever more sophisticated techniques for producing ever more seductive—and seemingly real—images must contend with the expectations their renderings produce. Some visitors may grouse that the built reality of SANAA’s New Museum of Contemporary Art does not correspond exactly with the shimmering rendering that the late Times critic Herbert Muschamp breathlessly called “little SoHo lofts that died and went to heaven,” but so much the better. The building’s unexpected toughness is appropriate for its location on the Bowery, where a still-active flophouse sits next door and restaurant supply wholesalers line the block across the street, and for its client, known for showing experimental work and for eschewing the preciousness of more established institutions.

Which is not to say that the building doesn’t shimmer, sometimes. When sunlight or nighttime illumination strike the aluminum mesh cladding just right, it glints and sparkles. More often, however, the building appears somewhat muted except at the transparent street level, which, with its delicate electronic signage, visible rear gallery, retail space, café, and exposed loading area, promises to be full of activity. This tension between stillness and animation—emphasized so much further by the arrangement of the building’s offset box-like floor-plates, perfectly balanced between the deliberate and the haphazard—creates a fascinating, somewhat off-axis terminus to Prince Street.

Initially the architects had planned to clad the building in galvanized or stainless steel panels, but testing found that New York’s lead-filled air would have quickly left the surface pitted and dirty, exposing its seams. Eventually, they settled on the mesh, an industrial material manufactured in England that was originally used to stabilize roadbeds. The sheets of mesh overlap, creating an almost seamless look from the street. Suspended by simple aluminum clips, the mesh covers a system of extruded aluminum panels. “We wanted it to read as a single surface,” said Florian Idenburg, one of the two people from SANAA’s office who relocated to New York to run the project. Gensler is the executive architect on the job, acting, said Idenburg, “like the big brother firm, showing us how things work,” he said.

The rugged materials are carried inside: poured concrete floors with circular scuffs from the finishing, plain white plaster and sheetrock walls, grids of fluorescent lighting, and polycarbonate panels over the skylights. Aluminum mesh is used on counters and shelving in the bookstore as a subtle marker of identity for the institution. “Initially the concept for the building looked luminescent, like a giant Noguchi lamp, but what they delivered is industrial strength,” said Richard Flood, the New Museum’s chief curator. “Since Dia in Chelsea closed, the city has lacked a museum with industrial strength galleries. These spaces are very virile with a real sense of purpose.”

Using ordinary materials, albeit carefully detailed, is something of a departure for SANAA, whose aesthetic identity has been defined by ultra-refined surfaces: nearly invisible glass walls, such as in the Tokyo Dior headquarters or the Glass Pavilion in Toledo, Ohio, or razor-thin steel partitions, as in the House in a Plum Grove, also in Tokyo. Idenburg admits that the firm’s comfort with commonplace materials called for a learning curve, but thinks it is better suited to their client. “They asked us to design a black box theater and we asked if we could make it white instead, and they said sure, we’ll just paint it black if we don’t like it,” he said with a laugh. The architects may be prominent, but at the New Museum there are few sacred cows. “Sejima calls it beautiful rough,” said Toshihiro Oki, the other member of SANAA’s office in New York, of principal architect Kazuyo Sejima.

If the materials are simple, the sequence of spaces is rich. “When you are designing galleries for contemporary art, you are basically designing spaces for art that doesn’t exist yet,” said Idenburg. SANAA responded by creating three distinctly different galleries with varying levels of natural light. All three are restrained white boxes lit by grids of fluorescent tubes: unpretentious, blank canvases for artists and curators. The fourth floor gallery feels vast with 24-foot ceiling heights. An unadorned staircase edges outside the elevator core, offering a glimpse outside through a side window. This outside stair is also the only point of access for a small art alcove, carved out of the building core, which also serves as an air return. The third floor is more moderately scaled at 21 feet high, while the second, accessed by elevator or through an internal stair in the core, is the lowest, at 18 feet, but has the largest floor-plate. Above the galleries, an event space offers sweeping views of downtown, including from a somewhat vertiginous glass railed terrace. Educational spaces and offices are located on the fifth and sixth foors. The top box holds mechanicals and is open to the sky.

Flood praises the galleries, which at press time where just beginning to be filled with art. “Some people were concerned about the fluorescents, but they’re proving to be wonderful for hanging art,” he said. “There’s something that’s very honest about the lighting. It creates a very direct experience.” This idea of honesty seems well suited for much of the work the museum shows, which, according to Flood, “often isn’t interested in seamlessness. It shows the process of its making.”

SANAA’s work has often been referred to as evanescent, and their early conception of the building may have fit that description, but they have delivered a much firmer and well-defined work of architecture. By initially offering an image that could bewitch the imagination of the public—and perhaps more importantly, the imagination of the press—and then moving away from it to serve the needs of their client, SANAA has satisfied the contemporary lust for spectacle while creating a museum building that is all about the art.

Alan G. Brake is an Associate Editor at AN.

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Spaceport Blasts Off
Foster's hangar evokes the shape of a nearby rock formation
Courtesy Foster + Partners

In early September, a competition-winning plan by UK-based Foster + Partners and design and engineering company URS was cleared for lift-off, as details were finalized on the hangar and terminal facilities for Spaceport America, the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world. The 100,000-square-foot complex located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is expected to be fully operational by 2010, with two or three suborbital flights daily, five days a week.

The $31 million hangar by Foster is a small portion of the $200 million spaceport complex, funded by New Mexico and a 0.25 cent gross receipt tax adopted by local counties. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic will serve as the spaceport’s anchor tenant, occupying training facilities, pre- and post-flight lounges and two maintenance hangars.

The competition included two other finalists: Dallas-based HKS working with Antoine Predock of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a San Francisco-based Gensler team in association with Rohde May Keller McNamara Architecture, also of Albuquerque.

URS Spaceport
The hangar is bermed into the earth.
COURTESY FOSTER + PARTNERS

A major requirement of the design was that it could not disturb the uses or views of nearby El Camino Real, a historic trade route that traverses the valley. Completely concealed from the west, the spaceport will be bermed in earth materials sculpted into low-rising berms. An undulating roof will mimic the rise of a formation called Point of Rocks located in the valley.

The shape of the structure is meant to evoke the dimensions of a spacecraft, with the double-height hangar rising along the linear axis, administration offices to the west, and areas for preparation and viewing in the larger eastern flank. Passengers will enter the building through a deep channel cut into the ground, walking along retaining walls housing exhibitions by the region’s residents and about the history of space travel. Views of the main “superhangar” will also be revealed before passengers reach the terminal, building drama with glimpses of the spacecraft and simulation area. A similar technique will be used for the terminal, where the control room will be visible but not open to the public. 

The facility hopes for a LEED Platinum certification, with passive energy solutions, consolidating glazing to the eastern elevation to minimize heat gain, and using the building’s massive size to draw ventilation into cooling subterranean chambers. Photovoltaic panels will supplement power production.

Acknowledging the element of spectacle certain to be associated with the structure’s novel use, while playing upon New Mexico’s rich space travel history, resulted in “flowing, dramatic spaces, and a form using natural materials that are essential, and awe-inspiring,” says Antoinette Nassopoulos, a partner at Foster + Partners. Viewing platforms are incorporated as large windows into the concrete shell, designed to best deliver the experience to both space-bound astronauts and the general public. “Visibility of mission control and take-off and landings from the spaceport add to the drama,” Nassopoulos added. Groundbreaking is set for next year. 

Banking On Leed

At last year’s Green Build Conference in Denver, the USGBC announced the Portfolio Program, a one-year pilot that commits large-scale corporations to adopting LEED building practices by bulk certifying comparable buildings. Participants commit 25 buildings, or two million square feet, for LEED certification; both new construction and retrofit projects are eligible. The corporations develop green prototypes for standardized use with USGBC incentives such as discounts on the LEED certifications, customized training, and educational resources. The program launched with commitments from the University of Florida, Starbucks, Toyota, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and HSBC.

While the number of participants is limited in the first year of this program, which runs until the end of 2007, new LEED certified buildings are already debuting. The London-based international banking giant HSBC has opened its first LEED Gold certified branch in Greece, New York. The building is carbon neutral thanks to geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels, and energy purchased from a wind farm. Rainwater captured from the roof is used for restroom operations and watering the landscape. Indoor lights dim in response to sunshine and the glowing sign uses LEDs. Rapidly renewable materials used on the interior include bamboo flooring and wheat and corn-based products.

John Beckinghausen, VP and Director of Environmental Sustainability for HSBC North America, explains that with this prototype in place, the company will open 24 new LEED certified branches over the next four years. While some projects may take over existing buildings, all will be new branches as part of an expansion project. While green features of the Greece prototype will be repeated, the company is not establishing a standardized aesthetic for the designs, which will appear all around the country. A new 460,000-square-foot HSBC headquarters building in Chicago will also seek LEED certification; the five-story office tower is being designed by Wright Architects in Chicago.

Previously, the time and expense of applying for LEED certification has prevented corporations from green “volume building,” but for now volume certification seems to have captured the banking world’s attention. PNC Bank opened its first LEED facility in Pittsburgh in 2000, and now boasts a Gensler- designed prototype. The company already has 45 LEED certified buildings and 18 more waiting for certification. Citi has plans to retrofit a bulk of projects for LEED certification and will soon complete a 15-story building in Queens featuring a stormwater recycling system, energy-efficient fixtures, and day-lit work

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LMDC's Legacy
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Courtesy WEISS / MANFREDI
Weiss/Manfrediis concept design for Park Row introduces a landscaped, terraced pedestrain connection to the elevated Police Plaza.

The mandate of the LMDC, formed by Governor George Pataki and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the aftermath of 9/11, was not only to oversee the rebuilding of the WTC site but to spearhead the comprehensive, integrated urban renewal of all of Lower Manhattan. To that end, it commissioned several major urban studies in areas below Canal Street by top-tier design firms, and encouraged them to truly think big-picture about rebuilding downtown. Weiss/ Manfredi, H3 Hardy Collaborative Architects, Robert A. M. Stern, and Smith-Miller + Hawkinson were all awarded contracts, amounting to over $2 million in fees, according to research compiled by AN at the time of these particular planss completion in 2004 (see World Trade Windfall,, AN 19_11.16.2004). When the LMDC announced last July that it would dissolve in the months to come, it maintained that its primary responsibilitiess selecting a masterplan and memorial design for the WTC site and allocating more than $2.78 billion in federal grants toward fostering business, residential, and cultural growth downtownnhad been fulfilled. Construction of the memorial and development of urban design guidelines for the site has been since delegated to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, but the fate of the urban studies the LMDC initiated has been more difficult to assess.

The LMDC was never intended to be the agency that implemented such plans. Moreover, there is never a guarantee that any commission will translate into a realized work. But the fact that so little has been publicly discussed with respect to urban design at the WTC site or its surrounding neighborhoods since 9/11 merits a closer look at these plans, and at how or whether the ideas they propose might be expressed in built form.

According to LMDC spokesperson John DeLibero, all of the above-mentioned plans have been transferred to the Department of City Planning (DCP). Rachaele Raynoff, DCP press secretary, confirmed that the DCP is in possession of them but could not specify how the plans are being prioritized. At present, the DCPPs biggest initiative in Lower Manhattan is the East River Waterfront Study by SHoP Architects and the Richard Rogers Partnership.

One piece of news that gives reason to be optimistic that the plans wonnt end up in a drawer is Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Patakiis announcement in May 2005 of a comprehensive allocation plann for the LMDCCs unspent $800 million. The plan earmarked $110 million to implement certain elements of the LMDCCs urban plans, including the studies conducted by Weiss/ Manfredi, H3, and Stern. For some of the designers, the announcement was the last concrete news they received regarding their projects.

Raynoff confirmed that the DCP, together with the Department of Transportation (DOT), is currently studying one aspect of Weiss/ Manfrediis larger plan, which looked at the area surrounding the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage (see A View from the Bridge,, AN 10_6.08.2005). The plan envisions connecting Chinatown to the seaport through streetscaping, and makes specific recommendations for reinvigorating the closed-off area under the Brooklyn Bridge and replacing the concrete retaining wall behind Police Plaza on Park Row with a grassy, stepped pedestrian path to connect the elevated plaza with the street.

After the architects presented the plan to the LMDC in 2005, the LMDC and other consulting city agencies focused on their recommendations for Park Row as a feasible project. Shortly after, as part of Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Patakiis allocation plan, $32 million was granted to fund components of their study and a related Chinatown study, including Park Row. As of yet, however, the DCP and DOT have not announced any concrete plans or schedule for the project.


Courtesy H3 HARDY COLLABORATION ARCHITECTURE
H33s design for Greenwich Street South proposed roofing over the entrance to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to create a park along with new residential and commerical space.

Aspects of the Greenwich Street South Study, developed by a team of seven design and consulting firms headed by H3 Hardy Collaborative Architects, also appear to have a promising future. This study proposes decking over the existing entry to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (owned by the MTA), which currently separates Battery Park City South from the financial district south of the WTC site. The plan suggests that the new surface area of the deck would create valuable buildable space in an area where opportunities for largescale development no longer exist. In that new space, it recommends the creation of a 2-acre park surrounded by residential and commercial developments, as well as a bus garage south of Morris Street that would decrease current street-level congestion and house buses that might be displaced by potential developments on the East River Waterfront and Pier 40.

At H33s last meeting with the LMDC in September, attending city officials agreed that if the engineering required to build the deck could be coordinated, the MTA would revisit the proposals. The DCP anticipates working with the Governor Eliot Spitzerrs administration to realize this plan. Though the prospects for the plan seem positive, principal designer Hugh Hardy still worried, With the fading of the LMDC, [the plan] doesnnt have a champion.. Senior associate John Fontillas added, The unfortunate thing is that [the LMDCCs former vice president of planning and development] Alex Garvin intended for all of these parts to knit together. With personnel changing, therees little institutional memory.. Though the designers have not received any updates on the status of the plan, it has been allotted $40 million under the 2005 Bloomberg-Pataki initiative.

By comparison, aspects of Sternns Fulton Street Revitalization seem to be moving forward. With $38 million (again, part of Bloomberg and Patakiis 2005 initiative) approved by the LMDC board of directors in February 2006, the parts of the plan that have been retained for implementation, according to the DCP, include: enhancing the 35,000-square-foot Titanic Memorial Park and Pearl Street Playground, both set for completion in 2008; improving retail, facades, and streetscape elements along Fulton toward the East River; and creating a new open space at corner of Fulton and Gold streets. It is difficult to know, however, how close these elements are to the original design recommendations of Stern and partner on the study, Gensler. A public presentation of the study in 2005 was cancelled at the last minute, and even then, the plan was reportedly only in draft form (see Fulton Street Plan Chugs Along,, AN 12_7.13.05). Moreover, both then and now, the designers have declined to comment, barred by the LMDC from speaking about the plan.


COURTESY SMITH-MILLER+HAWKINSON ARCHITECTS
Louise Nevelson Plaza is the result of a larger study by Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects to identify open-space possibilities in the blocks east of the WTC site. View west toward William Street.

The most tangible results from any of the studies are from Smith-Miller + Hawkinsonns comprehensive urban study Strategic Open Space: Public Realm Improvement Strategy for Lower Manhattan. The study, which won a P/A Award in 2003, canvassed 500 acres of Lower Manhattan in the area roughly bound by Fulton, Church, and Water streets to identify possibilities for creating new public spaces and bolstering existing ones. One site, Louise Nevelson Plaza, a run-down traffic island at the corner of William and Liberty, stood out as a feasible location to move forward on right away. The architects worked with the LMDC and other consulting city agencies to draft construction documents, and had successfully gone through the majority of the approval process well before the LMDC began to phase out. Since the LMDCCs dissolution, the Department of Design and Construction has taken over execution of the project, and has folded it in among its general infrastructure improvements on Liberty Street.

The design for the plaza involves a series of changes meant to create, in principal Laurie Hawkinsonns words, a 24/7 open spacee in an emerging mixed-use neighborhood. The park will feature benches of cast glass, new lighting and planting, and seven restored Nevelson sculptures that the artist herself donated to the park in the 1970s. The project will break ground this summer, and is expected to be completed in 2009.

The LMDC has never been forthcoming about its undertakings, despite the fact that these compelling urban design studies are nothing to hide. Even now, no one from the LMDCC including Kevin Rampe, chair of the LMDC boarddwill comment on the planss respective fates. The arrival of Governor Spitzer, who has been critical of the way the LMDC has been operating, may bring a change in direction. A. J. Carter, spokesperson for Empire State Development Corporation, the LMDCCs parent body, offered, We are taking a fresh look at everything and re-evaluating whatts been done and what needs to be done as we get started with the [Spitzer] Administration..

SAMANTHA TOPOL IS AN EDITOR AT AN.

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The Crystal Method




At the Hearst building on 57th Street, the trip up from street level on a side-skewed escalator embedded in a stepped glass waterfall feels a bit like scaling the sides of a pyramid. Reaching the mezzanine lobby of this old-new corporate headquarters is to experience a true sense of arrival, just as its architect Norman Foster surely intended.

The Hearst building is the most significant of the new crop of Manhattan icon buildings because it changes the terms of engagement. Instead of making itself known by powerhousing its way into the skyline like the Time Warner Center, Foster's first skyscraper in the United States enlists restraint and sophisticated technologies—qualities so much harder to grasp than a snappy image—to endorse a corporate brand. But whether all the advanced environmental, structural, or social engineering is for real or for show remains unclear.



The main lobby is a showstopper. Elevated three levels above the street, it is every bit as operatic—albeit with a sci-fi air—as the Aida-esque cast concrete original built by set-designer Joseph Urban and George P. Post in 1928, which has been preserved as a kind of orchestra pit from which the new skyscraper rises. Occupied by pharaonic phalanxes of 30-ton box columns and various mega-diagonals with artist Robert Long's six-story banner of mud art running up the core, this 35,000-square-foot space—which Foster calls the piazza—is rendered even more like a real town square since Urban's concrete walls have been stripped clean and furred out to look like the exteriors of, say, the walls of a Milanese bank building circa 1930. But instead of opening to the sky, the piazza is covered by a vast skylight. Tilting back in a cafe chair at Cafe 57 (aka the company canteen and the main occupant of the space), one stares right up at 36 stories of glass and steel muscle flexing its way to the skyline. Suddenly, the to-ing-and-fro-ing of people is reduced to an inconsequential shuffle, as soothing as the sound of the Jamie Carpenter–designed waterfall that has been computer programmed to mimic a babbling brook. Corporate confidence this suave is intimidating.

That makes it all the more significant that most of the building's rave reviews have dwelled not on Foster's magnificently controlled stagecraft but on its environmental and structural features. It's especially unusual given the business of its client: Hearst is a media giant, the third largest magazine company in the country, with a stable of titles including Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, Seventeen, and Esquire. For an empire fixated on image to put good works before good looks is a watershed moment in corporate branding strategy. In fact, Hearst is so proud of all the green stuff going on in the building that it has emblazoned its LEED Gold medallion right between the revolving doors leading into the building. And kudos to them for the 75 percent of the year that air-conditioners will be using outside air; the reduction in electrical energy use that can be estimated to be the equivalent of 1,074 tons of CO2; and the 14,000-gallon reclamation tank in the basement that is at the ready to supply some 50 percent of the water needed for all the building's plantings. And so on.



Not to diminish the building's very real accomplishments, but the United States is so far behind most European and Asian efforts when it comes to enacting sustainability measures that it's hard to get too excited about reducing electricity and water consumption. The building doesn't have nearly as many of the energy-saving strategies as Foster's Free University in Berlin and Swiss Re in London boast. In fact, its accomplishments as a green building are modest when compared to almost any other building by its own architect. It might rate well by local standards, but the truth is, every new skyscraper in New York should be LEED Gold–certified by now.

As for the diagrid structure, which has been described variously as a jack-in-the-box, a French-market net bag, and a hydraulic scissor-lift, it is derring-do of a higher order. The diagrid started out as a device to stiffen the east facade, which was necessary because the architects pushed the service core off-center, toward the western edge of the site, up against a neighboring 50-story apartment building. (They placed the core on that edge, reasoning that westward views would be blocked anyway by the apartment building.) But the diagrid looked so good, Foster went for the full wrap even though it creates floor plates that vary considerably in size, from 17,000 to 21,000 square feet. This is just another of the idiosyncrasies that a single corporate client can afford. At another point, the architects thought a cable rod running vertically through the building's corners might be necessary to steady any sway resulting from the 20-foot difference in floor-plate size at the extreme corners, but that became redundant once the longest beams were suspended from above rather than secured by a cantilever.



In a similarly productive collaboration between determined aesthetics and innovative engineering, the design team managed to come up with a way to make the lobby even more grandiose, in spite of structural necessities. (The space is already an impressive structural feat in that its skylight is the primary support for the old concrete shell of the Urban structure.) Foster was not going to let the opening between the modest ground-floor entrance and the spectacular mezzanine lobby look like some trap door from below. Instead, there is a gaping 80-foot-by-30-foot space through which the elevators rise, thanks to a specially devised ring beam that disperses the force thrust of all those mega-columns supporting the tower.



Traditionally, the job of corporate icons has been two-fold: to show off institutional might and to instill employees with slavish devotion. The Hearst building accomplishes the first of these tasks with impressive pizzazz. The office floors should please employees, too, even if views from some senior editorial offices are slashed right through with big fat braces. The plan is conspicuously open with cubicle walls that are lower than American Dilbert cells and higher than their Euro-equivalents. And all perimeter offices have glass walls allowing sunlight to flow in unimpeded.

Still, there's an overall sameness, even with the glorious conference corners where unimpeded glass meets vertiginous views. They made me think of the good-old bad days when hierarchies were more visible, even aspirational. Here, there's no art department ghetto where the music blasts and the walls are tacked-up with messy collages. There's no editor-in-chief lair with furnishings better than the rest, inspiring ambitious underlings to plot their climb up the masthead. All that sunlight is well worth the loss of outdated modes of status reinforcement, right?

But then deep in the heart of the building is the Good Housekeeping Institute. It is a strange and vital place where stacks of new products are piled around and row upon row of lab equipment sits at the ready to test everything from the latest washing machine from Miele to the next generation of Fruit Loops, all hoping for the coveted Seal of Approval. The Institute, with its messes and lab-coated technicians huddled at a counter sharing lunch, underscored the complete aesthetic control and good taste that practically smothers the rest of the building.

Since the 1920s, the Institute has held luncheons in a special dining room that has received numerous U.S. presidents, including Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, as well as Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton. Hearst executives decided to replicate the original dining room in the new 29th floor Institute—a Mount Vernon set piece, complete with black marble fireplace, sconces, rugs, and furnishings re-installed intact. Apparently, they think that our presidents are more comfortable in a colonial-style setting rather than in a space like the 46th-floor boardroom where two diagonal columns intersecting the northward view of Central Park etch a mighty V for victory.

The new Hearst building is a welcome addition to the Manhattan horizon. It may not dominate the skyline but it certainly raises the bar for the next corporate brand with ambitions.

Credits

Gross square footage: 856,000 sq feet
Total construction cost: $400 million (estimated)
Architect: Foster and Partners: Norman Foster, Brandon Haw, Mike Jelliffe, Michael Wurzel, Peter Han, David Nelson, Gerard Evenden, Bob Atwal, John Ball, Nick Baker, Una Barac, Morgan Flemming, Michaela Koster, Chris Lepine, Martina Meluzzi, Julius Streifeneder, Gonzalo Surroca.
Fit-out: Norman Foster, Brandon Haw, Mike Jelliffe, Chris West, John Small, Ingrid Solken, Michael Wurzel, Peter Han
Associate architect: Adamson Associates; Tishman Speyer Properties, development manager.
Engineers: Cantor Seinuk Group, structure; Flack & Kurtz, mechanical; VDA, vertical transportation.
Consultants: George Sexton, lighting; Ira Beer, food service; Gensler, interiors.
General contractor: Turner Construction
All Images: Chuck Choi / Courtesy Foster and Partners

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The Gray Lady's Digs, Drab No More
Jean Vong

It's noteworthy that the New York Times Company is building a gleaming new headquarters, finally abandoning its nondescript rabbit warren on 43rd Street. But even more important is what the paper is putting into its portion of the building. After rigorous planning and testinggincluding the famed 4,500 square-foot full-scale mock-up built in a parking lot at the Times' Queens printing facilityythe architecture and construction teams have devised a range of cutting-edge design elements that make the building one of the most technologically progressive in the country. Because the headquarters includes almost no back-office operations and is thus for editorial and higher-level business staff, a premium was placed on innovation. What's more, much of the original impetus for the innovations came from the newspaper itself, which pushed the architects and engineers to develop new solutions. It's the most unusual project in New York, or even the U.S., in that that the client is the one dictating the innovation in the building, not just the architect,, said Paul Muldoon, senior vice president of AMEC, the lead construction firm on the project. Here are some of the building's most notable design elements:

The facade is lit by Erco lighting system, with lights installed at various floor levels, giving the building the appearance of being lit from the ground up. This gradation system means that the 250- watt lights consume only 25 percent of the energy normally required for a building this size.

 

NATURAL LIGHT
Renzo Piano's design makes transparency a signature theme of the building, and he decided on low-iron, floor-to-ceiling Star Fire glass windows as part of it. But that meant heavy glare and high heat transference. The problem was partially solved by running 170,000 aluminum silica rods (Piano calls them baguettess) 1.5 feet outside the windows, which reduces the amount of light entering the building and directs light deeper into the interior.

The Times took things one step further by entering a partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, a leader in lighting studies, to evaluate and select a dynamic lighting and daylight harvesting system. Having already decided to build the Queens mock-up to study interior architecture possibilities, the project was easily expanded to include a lighting element. Over a 12-month period, the mock-up, which received grant money from both the states of California and New York as well as the Department of Energy, found that automated shadessthe bid for which was won by MechoShade and its AAC SolarTrac systemmcould significantly reduce glare and heat, and thus energy consumption. The philosophy is to maximize natural light coming in, maximize the connection to the outdoors, maximize the view, but not cross over into glare,, said Glenn Hughes, director of construction and real estate for the Times. The shades are programmed to know the position of the sun at any time on any day, as well as the shadow footprints of surrounding buildings. Cloud cover is measured by radiometers on the building's mast. The system can run automatically but the Times insisted that employees be able to override the shade settings easily. If someone wants to bring in more light, they may bring the shades up or down,, said Jan Berman, president of MechoShade. There are color touch screens, with a little footprint map that shows where the motors are.. Based on data culled from the mockup, the Times expects a 35-percent energy savings from the shading system alone.

 

INTERIOR LIGHTING
The Times realized early on that a dimmable interior lighting system could also significantly reduce energy consumption. Through extensive testing at the building's mock-up, the company developed a set of specs and decided on Lutron to supply the lighting. Only 2 percent of all office space in the United States is dimmable but the Times wanted to take things a step further, to have a system that would respond to incoming daylight and adjust itself automatically. Daylighting as a control strategy is a big part of the system,, said Pekka Hakkarainen, vice president of technology and research at Lutron. As sunlight enters the space, we had a requirement to dim the electric lighting so that the desk illumination is within the target settings in any given department on any given floor.. Like the shades, the lights can also be controlled locally. (The image at right shows that zones are dimmed as the level of natural light changes.)

A stumbling block for the newspaper was the high cost of the dimmable ballasts, the devices that control the flow of electricity into the fluorescent lights. Because so few were in use at the time, the initial price per ballast was between $75 and $120. But by ordering a very large amount and arguing that the building would help revolutionize the market for such ballasts, the newspaper managed to bring the price down to between $30 and $755an achievement that may enable dimmable lighting to become a standard part of the American office environment.



 

PLENUM CIRCULATION
Virtually every office building in the United States is equipped with ceiling HVAC systems. But once again, the Times decided to be different and placed the air conditioning in the floorran idea borrowed from European office buildings, where natural ventilation is more commonly accepted. Having already gone with a plenum floor plan in order to better run computer cables, the project designers realized that they could achieve remarkable energy efficiencies by piping cold air through the floor (a system by Tate Access) as well. Hughes explained, The supply air is coming through diffusers in floor, and it picks up heat as it rises.. This is more efficient than dropping it from overhead ducts, which require lower temperatures in order to fully circulate the air. We're going to use 63 degrees Fahrenheit supply air; with an overhead duct, we would need 55 degrees. That means we're not using the chiller as much,, Hughes added.

Moreover, because the system does not require ducts, it means that diffusers can be placed wherever needed, not just where there is a duct. The diffusers are then covered with a specially designed carpet piece which has miniscule holes in it for the air. When you look at the floor the [carpet pieces] look identical, but if you held one to a light source, you would see pinholes,, said Rocco Giannetti, senior associate for Gensler, the project's interior architect.

 

OPEN-FLOOR PLAN
Given the nature of a newsroom, the ability for the staff to circulate easily through the workspace is vital. The designers didn't have to go far for their inspiration: the New York loft. The idea was to create a modern loft of the 21st century, with big open plates and flexible space,, said Serge Drouin, an architect with Renzo Piano Building Workshop. It's a very New York fixture.. Thus in designing the building's interior spaces, 90 percent of the area was kept to an open plan, with the few permanently enclosed offices located toward the center of the building. The rest of the space can either be filled with cubicles or floor-to-ceiling partitions. The building is on a 5-foot planning module grid, and we used that in developing an entirely flexible planning system,, said Giannetti. Light fixtures and other ceiling elements are organized in a system that allows partition placement at 30 inches..

Another innovative aspect of the open-plan scheme are two sets of stairs running on opposite sides of the building, just behind the curtain wall. That way employees can move between floors without having to use the elevator, enjoying stunning views of Midtown. Painted red, they are also highly visible from the outside, again highlighting the building's transparency theme. One obvious constraint, of course, was safety: Stairways running directly through the open floors could allow smoke to move easily from floor to floor in the event of a fire. We had to make sure that smoke would not spread,, said Drouin. In response, every other floor has fire shutters that close and contain smoke. If a fire breaks out, the shutters roll across the top of the stairs, closing them off.

 

INTERIOR LIGHTING
Because a national newspaper can't stop for things like power failures, the Times required that its new building come with a backup power system capable of running its vital newsroom functions. We need to have a certain amount of emergency generation to run the paper regardless of the electricity situation,, said Hussain Ali Khan, vice president for real estate development at the Times. That's about 15 percent of the total building load,, said Hughes. But the costs involved in maintaining such a system just for emergencies was beyond even the Newspaper of Record's budget. The solution? A co-generation plant, running continuously on natural gas and completely isolated from the city power grid. The plant's two engines generate 1.4 megawatts continually. We can provide enough power for data center operations: We can cool the data center and can run all of the newsroom, so people can continue to work regardless of ConEd's status or the New England grid,, Hughes said.
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A Sign Of the Times

The New York Times Company's headquarters fills the block between 40th and 41st streets, along 8th Avenue.

In October 1999, the New York Times Company announced that it had entered negotiations with city and state officials to relocate its headquarters from West 43rd Street to a plot between 40th and 41st Street along 8th Avenue, across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Almost six years later, that building is well under way, with steel up to the tenth floor of what will eventually be a 52-story, 1.67-million-square-foot tower.

Along the way, the buildinggwhich is being developed in partnership with Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) and was designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop with Fox & Fowleehas faced more than its fair share of bad press. A high-profile lawsuit challenging the city's eminent domain powers to shutter the existing properties on the lot, followed by a poorly received application for Liberty Bonds by FCRC, have left the impression among many New Yorkers that the company was using its position as the city's newspaper of recordd to get sweetheart treatmenttan impression facilitated by the paper's many competitors, most notably the New York Post.

But as real estate and city planning expertssas well as courtssattest, the history of the Times project is one of neither corruption nor favoritism. Rather, it is one of the more high-profile examples of powerful companies making use of the government's immense power to shape the urban landscape, a power often forgotten at a time when a developer seems to be running the show at Ground Zero and the mayor can't rally enough support to build a football stadium. But the story also shows how in New York, even the best-laid urban development plans can turn into a PR nightmare.

In 1980, the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), a state-level public entity, created the 42nd Street Development Project, a 13-acre urban renewal zone along 42nd Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue. The parcel on which the Times building is now rising, though not on 42nd Street, was included in the zone because the ESDC initially saw it as a space for a massive merchandise mart, a plan that was never realized.

There was a sense that the area was blighted in every way and was an underachieving aspect of the city,, said Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association (RPA). The Times parcel was one of last to come together..

The 42nd Street Development Project offered tax breaks to development within the zone and allowed the city to use eminent domain to facilitate new construction. In 1999, these breaks helped convince the Times to select the site for its new headquarters, having outgrown its current location on nearby West 43rd Street.

In February 2000, the Times selected FCRC as its partner in developing the parcel. The building will be split as a condominium between the paper, which will own and operate floors 2 through 28 as well as an adjoining auditorium, with FCRC taking the top 24 floors, which it will lease as office space. The company has yet to find its first tenant.

At the time, the partners said they planned to begin building by late 2000 and that Times staff would move in by 2004. That timeline was perhaps unrealistic; major negotiations did not end until early 2001. The same year, the company announced that Renzo Piano Building Workshop with Fox & Fowle had won an international competition to design the building. By then, the 42nd Street Development Project had proved a remarkable success, having turned a blighted district into a major entertainment zone, adding some 6.4 million square feet of theaters, shopping, restaurants, and hotels.

But the district's transformation was a road paved with legal misfortunes; pre-project Times Square businesses held up the area's sanitizing developments in courts until 1990. The same fate befell the Times project soon after it was announced. The Times, FCRC, and the ESDC were sued by a developer, Gary Barnett, who owned a parking lot to be condemned on the site, accusing the trio of fraud, bad faith and collusion against the taxpayers of New York.. He argued that ESDC had low-balled the property's value and, thanks to the various benefits in the deallincluding an 85 percent rebate if acquisition costs rose above $85 millionnwas playing favorites.

Other New York newspapers jumped on the news and the Times soon found itself in the middle of a PR crisis. But such criticism, experts say, was wildly misplaced.

That's not a fair attack,, said Lynn Sagalyn, a real estate professor at the University of Pennsylvania who has written a history of Times Square's redevelopment. [The site] is and has been from day one a part of the larger 42 Street Development Project, which always intended and did use condemnatory powers. Eminent domain is a historical part of that project and everything was done through the correct legislative procedures..

Working against the Times was the fact that it had come late to the 42nd Street game. By 2000, the district was no longer a street of peep shows and drug dealers but a vibrant, family-friendly district of theaters and chain restaurants. This led many observers to question why the city was giving away such lucrative benefits in an area that was, in their eyes, no longer blighted.

But according to Sagalyn, the area's relative health was irrelevant to ESDC's obligation to redevelop every plot within it. One could say, Let the market do it,' but that's not logical within the context of [the city's] public policy. Getting that site developed was the last piece of [the city's] larger public policy development,, she said.

A series of court rulings concurred, finding that the agency's charge was to do what it thought was best in the long run for the zoneewhich meant, in this case, signing a generous deal to land a high-profile development. About the case, which was dismissed, Justice Martin Schoenfeld of the New York County Supreme Court wrote in April 2002, The urban renewal law authorizes the sale of property to an applicant which does not necessarily offer the highest price but proposes to develop the property in accordance with the purposes of the site's urban renewal program..

Meanwhile, the Times and FCRC found a new enemy in Steve Cuozzo, a real estate reporter for the New York Post who hounded the paper in more than a dozen columns between 2002 and 2004. Cuozzo accused The New York Times of shilling for a partnerr by publishing negative accounts of the downtown real estate market and positive accounts of FCRC's other projects. Catherine Mathis, a spokesperson for the Times, denied any wrongdoings and Cuozzo was never able to move his charges beyond conjecture.

The partners took control of the site in September 2003, but the project was halted again when FCRC found itself unable to secure either a sizable loan or a major tenant. Claiming that the real estate market had deteriorated since the project began, the company had applied for $400 million in Liberty Bonds in July 2003. Congress had set aside $8 billion in Liberty Bonds, of which $2 billion could go outside Lower Manhattan.

The Liberty Bond application once again drew public flak, even though other midtown companies were also applying for Liberty Bond loans and the program in general was undersubscribed. In fact, said Sagalyn, given the relative lack of interest, FCRC's application was actually a good thing. If you're not using the benefits the feds are giving, the feds will be quick to take them back,, she said. (When the authorizing legislation for Liberty Bonds expired in January, only half of the federally approved $8 billion had been allocated.) FCRC's application was nevertheless poorly received downtown, and in May 2004 it dropped the request, announcing a month later that it had secured a $320 million conventional loan from the newly created General Motors Acceptance Corp. (GMAC) Construction.

Though the $800 million project is on track for 2007 completion, yet another wrinkle has arisen, this time involving FCRC's application for $170 million in tax breaks through a state program that encourages brownfield development. But a revision to that program passed earlier this year allows the state to deny funds to projects whose clean-up costs do not represent a significantt portion of the total cost, a change that, according to the Post, some say was designed specifically for the Times building.

We have applied for the program,, said Michelle de Milly, a FCRC spokesperson. No decision has been made..

The building's PR woes seem never-ending. Just two weeks ago, the Village Voice ran the front-page story, Times' to Commoners: Go Elsewhere: Don't soil our publicly subsidized new HQ with your riff-raff,, which took issue with the building's extensive lease restrictions. A Times spokesperson responded by stating that the company and FCRC are seeking tenants that will complement our new building.. When the tower is completed, New York will have seen how to build a first-class building and how hard it is to get it built.
CLAY RISEN IS AN ASSISTANT EDITOR AT THE NEW REPUBLIC AND IS A REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR OF AN.

Credits

 

Project: The New York Times Building

Location: 8th Avenue between 40th and 41st streets

Gross square footage: 1.6 million square feet

Total construction cost: $800 million

Owner: The New York Times Building LLC, a joint venture of the New York Times Company and Forest City Ratner Companies in Partnership with ING Real Estate

Architect: Renzo Piano Building WorkshoppRenzo Piano, principal; Bernard Plattner, principal; Erik Volz, associate; Serge Drouin, designer. Fox & Fowle ArchitectssBruce Fowle, principal; Daniel Kaplan, principal; Gerald Rosenfeld, project manager, Fox & Fowle.

Associate architect: Gensler Architecture, interiors.

Engineer(s): Flack + Kurtz; The Thornton Tomassetti Group

Consultant(s): Landscape:  H.M. White Site Architects, landscape; Office for Visual Interaction, lighting; Susan Brady Lighting, interior Lighting; Cerami & Associates, acoustics; Pentagram, graphics; Jenkins & Huntington, elevator; Heitmann & Associates, exterior wall; Kroll Worldwide, security; Walsh Lowe, tel./data.

Construction Manager: AMEC

Software: Microstation, Prolog Management sSystem

GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS

Structural system: DCM

Exterior cladding: Benson (metal/glass curtainwall); Haywood Berk (wood)

Glazing: Viracon (glass); Supersky (skylights)

Doors: Seele (entrances); McKeon (fire-control doors, security grilles)

Hardware: Corbin/Russwin (locksets)

Interior finishes: Island Diversified (Interior Marmorino Finish)

Lighting: ERCO (exterior and interior lighting); Lutron (controls)

Conveyance: Fujitec (elevators/escalaters)

Plumbing: Stern (faucets); American Standard (toilets)

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Practically Ready

Studying with a developer, Yale architecture students get a workouttand a jump on the job market. Alec Appelbaum sits in on the crits.

Four pin-ups in four days sounds like the architectural-school analogue to a fraternity's hell week. Yet ten Yale School of Architecture graduates who ran that gauntlet in their last semester say they're healthier for it. One became a smoother presenter. Another learned to detail projects more thoroughly.

A third got a job. They carry these trophies from the first-ever Bass Fellowship, in which a client sits alongside an architect to critique student work. Robert A. M. Stern, Yale's dean, expects the two-headed critiques to produce sharper architects. The graduates of the first round feel sharper, if more tired.

The course aimed to show students that architects must master many disciplines to produce real and memorable buildings. In law school you have moot court,, said Stern. Why should architecture schools be insulated?? The first Bass fellow, developer Gerald Hines, has been a patron of Philip Johnson and other audacious designers. He and co-critic Jay Wyper, who heads Hines' European operations, shattered stereotypes of clients as Armani-clad reptiles. Instead, they established the client as a legitimate voice whose concerns about a building's usability overruled students' thoughts about a building's beauty.

Learning to wrap architectural ideas in practical terms, students applied economic measures to steep ambitions. Ben Albertson and Marissa Brown used this aerial view to urge the developers to consider lifting the whole piazza to encourage circulation. Hines and his deputies warned students that inflexible local regulations often force architects to squeeze ingenuity into narrow constraints.

That voice gained urgency because Hines presented a real project for which real contractors await real drawings. Hines needs an iconicc fashion museum and school in Milan's Piazza Garibaldi, for which Cesar Pelli has just finished a master plan. The developers urged students to concoct eye-popping designs that wouldn't stymie engineers or upbraid regulators. Students refined their projects through rapid-response assessment. The weeks when we had four pin-ups were very difficult, but that was when we learned the most,, said Genevieve Fu, who's joining Dublin-based architecture firm Hennigan.Peng after the summer. Her report validates Stern's plan: Students felt like pinballs in a machine,, he said, but that's how buildings get designed and built..

Students also could never predict who'd eyeball their work. Hines and lead architect-critic Stefan Behnisch missed many sessions, and superstars like Pelli and Greg Lynn joined a midterm jury. Smooth-tempered Manhattan architect Markus Dochantschi served as fulltime critic, helping students throughout the course, synthesizing critics' comments. With a draftsman's efficient movements, Dochantschi rooted on students' ambitions while reinforcing critics' priorities. He raved to a reporter about one team's proposal to dig up the piazza for an elevated tower, but didn't interfere when Wyper questioned the ideas' economics. The true education came through trial by fire,, said Ben Albertson, who proposed the idea. It became apparent that the more concrete our ideas were, the easier they were to sell..

Students sometimes described this lesson as a leash. Their designs showed as much theoretical purism as anything Zaha Hadid never built. Albertson and Marissa Brown argued doggedly for moving the building complex onto higher ground, to encourage more pedestrian traffic. Ceren Bingol pressed to rearrange the entire site in order to promote 24-hour street life. Wyper repeatedly reminded students during the midterm review that the master plan lay outside their writ. But students sacrifice mental enrichment when they lock onto uncontroversial plans. So their work stayed more abstract than what competitive firms might submit. Their descriptions of the work, though, gained professional sheen.

Thinking about developers' quantitative rigor led Bass Fellowship students to try mapping how people might use Hines' proposed project for the Piazza Garibaldi in Milan. Albertson and Brown chart how popular the project's componentssmuseum, school, park, and commercial spaceecan be at different times of day. A Hines rep urged teams to design contextually striking buildings rather than reconfiguring the context.

Click on the image to open full size chart (PDF).

Indeed, Fu credits the critics with making her a more comfortable presenterrand a more marketable architect. I learned to really enjoy presentation,, said Fu. When I was interviewing, [a partner at a firm] said, You seem to like to talk.' It was life-changing in that way.. Dochantschi, who ran Hadid's office in London, says the course's gifts will pay off promptly in the job market. What is incredible for students is they got to think, How can I be more secure and educated about having a productive conversation with a developer?? he said. Had they not had this experience, it could have taken them years..

Yet the 13-week sprint's shifting cast of reviewers left students weary. I don't think working with Wyper and Hines added that much to our experience with clients, because we saw them four times,, said Bingol. She said she gained more enrichment in conversation on field trips to Milan and New York than through pedagogy in New Haven. To be sure, students discovered the importance of consulting with clients as often and clearly as a project requires. But they didn't necessarily codify robust principles to make those consultations efficient.

Wyper wished the course had built a straightforward rationale of client-focused building design. There should be more early classes with developers to discuss the balance of design and commerce,, he said. For our semester, this was done more through discussions and critiques, and I think the osmosis was varied and not optimal..

Ceren Bingol saw Gerald Hines' proposed projectta complex housing a fashion museum and a school in a glum MIlan piazzaaas a way to promote 24-hour street life. She also answered Hines' call for an iconic building, but challenged the edict that her icon had to fit a master plan Hines had already commissioned, from Cesar Pelli.

Dochschanti and Stern enthuse about the Bass Fellowship's potential to establish a common language. They hope its graduates will affirm that sound designs lead to logical, efficient buildingssespecially in the highly regulated and ecologically sensitive cities where major projects occur. Working with a developer as client is relatively new,, Stern said. The complexity of urban settings is relatively new. We have to arm our students.. Students seem mainly to have learned how to translate aesthetic choices into practical terms. That's a crucial skill, but it falls shy of the evolutionary leap Stern seemed to seek.

If the course's two lead critics work in tighter sync, Fu suggested, the theoretical discussions Wyper endorses may engage more students. Behnisch and Hines scarcely knew each other when the semester started. Next year's fellows will be Lord Richard Rogers and developer Stuart Lipton, along with engineer Chris Wise. All three have worked together in London. The tighter coordination between architect and client might erode the disciplinary divide.

For now, that divide remains as beholden to financial reality in New Haven as it does elsewhere. Jonah Gamblin and his partner, Forth Bagley, won the school's top honor for ingenuity with their museum proposal. Yet Gamblin said professors rebuked his decision to go work for Hines' finance office. A lot of architects have to do their own development to get work,, Gamblin reasoned. I don't know where they learn those skills.. To supply students with professional acumen, the Bass studio may have to explain why clients' demands can be as rewarding as they are exhausting.
ALEC APPELBAUM writes about the urban environment for time out NEW YORK, METROPOLIS, AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS.

Credits

 

Project: The New York Times Building

Location: 8th Avenue between 40th and 41st streets

Gross square footage: 1.6 million square feet

Total construction cost: $800 million

Owner: The New York Times Building LLC, a joint venture of the New York Times Company and Forest City Ratner Companies in Partnership with ING Real Estate

Architect: Renzo Piano Building WorkshoppRenzo Piano, principal; Bernard Plattner, principal; Erik Volz, associate; Serge Drouin, designer. Fox & Fowle ArchitectssBruce Fowle, principal; Daniel Kaplan, principal; Gerald Rosenfeld, project manager, Fox & Fowle.

Associate architect: Gensler Architecture, interiors.

Engineer(s): Flack + Kurtz; The Thornton Tomassetti Group

Consultant(s): Landscape:  H.M. White Site Architects, landscape; Office for Visual Interaction, lighting; Susan Brady Lighting, interior Lighting; Cerami & Associates, acoustics; Pentagram, graphics; Jenkins & Huntington, elevator; Heitmann & Associates, exterior wall; Kroll Worldwide, security; Walsh Lowe, tel./data.

Construction Manager: AMEC

Software: Microstation, Prolog Management sSystem

GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS

Structural system: DCM

Exterior cladding: Benson (metal/glass curtainwall); Haywood Berk (wood)

Glazing: Viracon (glass); Supersky (skylights)

Doors: Seele (entrances); McKeon (fire-control doors, security grilles)

Hardware: Corbin/Russwin (locksets)

Interior finishes: Island Diversified (Interior Marmorino Finish)

Lighting: ERCO (exterior and interior lighting); Lutron (controls)

Conveyance: Fujitec (elevators/escalaters)

Plumbing: Stern (faucets); American Standard (toilets)

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NOW BOARDING: DESTINATION, JFK

Destination Unknown

Eero Saarinen's last work, the TWA Terminal at JFK, will soon enjoy a second, temporary life as a Kunsthalle. And after thattwho knows? As Cathy Lang Ho reports, the future of the modernist masterpiece is as open as the sky.
Photography by Dean Kaufman.

 

Long before Santiago Calatrava unveiled his architectural allegory for flight that will become the downtown PATH station, Eero Saarinen gave New York City a symbol that captured the grace and excitement of the jet age by mimicking the shape of a soaring bird. Since its completion in 1962, the TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport has served as an icon of both modern air travel and modern design. But its daring gull-winged constructionna reinforced concrete sculpture that tested the limits of its material and of what modernism could beewas the source of its distinction as well as downfall. The building's stand-alone, sinewy form made it difficult to adapt it to the rapidly modernizing airline industry. Larger airplanes, increased passenger flow and automobile traffic, computerized ticketing, handicapped accessibility, and security screening are just a few of the challenges that Terminal 5 (as it's officially known) could not meet without serious alteration. When the terminal closed in 2001 (in the wake of TWA's demise in 1999), no other airline stepped up to take over the space.

 

 

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA) did, however, receive dozens of expressions of interest from sources ranging from the Finnish government to the Municipal Art Society to the Partnership for New York City. We expected to hear from preservationists, cultural organizations, and business people, but what surprised us was the number of requests we got from the general publiccregular people, travelersswho are just deeply interested in this building,, said Ralph Tragale, manager of government and community relations for the Port Authority. One of the requests came from Rachel K. Ward, an independent curator who worked previously with the theme of tourism and the cross influences of global travel and global art in an exhibition in Switzerland. Her particular interest in tourist sites and destinations was the basis of an idea to stage a series of installations that respond to and are situated within the arch-symbol of commercial travel itself. The result, Terminal 5, presents site-specific works by 18 artists, as well as a series of lectures, events, and additional temporary installations (see sidebar), on view from October 1 to January 31. The building is such a potent symbol, representing so many thingssair travel, the 1960s, transitions, globalism,, said Ward. Each artist had a unique response.. First lady of text messaging Jenny Holzer has, naturally, staked out the arrivals and departures board, while Ryoji Ikeda has created a series of light and sound installations for one of the tunnels. In mid-September, Vanessa Beecroft filmed a live performance piece in the terminallher first since 20011 which will be screened in the space. Toland Grinnell, known for his penchant for luggage, will make use of the baggage claim area. What's exciting to me is that the artists are using the building's forms to create works that will only exist in this space,, said Ward. Organizers are trying to arrange a shuttle service from Manhattan, and encourage the use of the new AirTrain.

Ward's timing was an important reason why the PA accepted her proposal. The exhibition's run precedes a long period of construction that will not end until 2008. The exhibition is a great opportunity to let the public enjoy the space,, said Tragale, and to show other potential uses for it.. Plans for Terminal 5's future have been contentious, with a battle played out publicly last year between the PA and preservationists who objected to a new terminal design concept that would have engulfed the landmark. Critics blasted the inital plan's intent to cut off Terminal 5's views of the runway, which motivated the design's floor-to-ceiling windows. They also objected to the idea that it would no longer be used as a functioning terminal. At that time, Kent Barwick, the president of the Municipal Art Society, said, By eliminating use of the terminal, you're condemning the building to a slow death.. Even Philip Johnson, who knew Saarinen, weighed in, telling The Los Angeles Times earlier this year, This building represents a new idea in 20th-century architecture, and yet we are willing to strangle it by enclosing it within another building. If you're going to strangle a building to death, you may as well tear it down..

In October 2003 Jet Blue entered an agreement with the PA to expand its presence at JFK. The upstart domestic airlineethe busiest at JFK, accounting for 7 million of the airport's 30 million passengers yearlyy was initially interested in the possibility of actively using the Saarinen structure but found that the cost to retrofit the relic exceeded that of building an entirely new terminal. Jet Blue commissioned Gensler and Associates to design a new terminal adjacent to Terminal 5, which, though still in concept phase, was released last month. The $850 million, 625,000-square-foot terminal is much smaller and more respectful of its site than the initial concept that so riled preservationists last year. The sheer reduction in size makes it better, but we're still concerned about the terminal being an active space,, said Theodore Prudon, president of DOCOMOMO-US. If it becomes just a left-over space, it's a disservice to the building. Also, it's more vulnerable if it's economically unviable.. Terminal 5 will be used, but the question is how intensely,, said Bill Hooper, senior principal in charge of the project at Gensler. We're still in design development now, trying to figure out how to make as much of the original terminal work.. Gensler's design begins with the renovation of the two tunnels that extend from the terminal to connect to waiting airplanes, known as Flight Wing Tube #1, which was part of Saarinen's original design, and Flight Wing Tube #2, which was designed in the late 1960s by Roche Dinkeloo to support 747s that did not exist when the terminal was first built. A new plaza will occupy the space between the two terminals, allowing visitors a view, until now unseen, toward Terminal 5's backside.

 
   

Beyer Blinder Belle will oversee the structure's restoration to its 1962 state. The process will involve undoing four decades' worth of alterations and additions, such as new baggage rooms and a sun canopy that was attached to the faaade. For its part, Jet Blue has expressed its desire to integrate the Saarinen building into its corporate image. As a result, Gensler's design is low profile, which reflects both its placement behind Terminal 5 and the way Jet Blue does business,, said Hooper. Jet Blue has also made the Terminal 5 exhibition possible, signing on as a major sponsor. After the exhibition closes, the PA will issue an RFP for the structure's adaptive reuse. We've heard ideas for a museum, a restaurant, a conference center,, said Tragale. We're open to what the business community has to offer..
Cathy Lang Ho is an editor at AN.

Eavesdrop: Aric Chen

EGOS OVERBOARD
We shudder to think what could have happened at a recent photo shoot for Vanity Fair's November issue, where photographer Robert Polidori was taking a Ground Zero group portrait of Governor George Pataki, developer Larry Silverstein, his architects David Childs and T. J. Gottesdiener of SOM, and their archrivals Daniel and Nina Libeskind. Seeing as how they've collectively shown more mutual animosity and self-serving hubris than a throng of unmedicated stage momssnot to mention the Libeskinds' pending lawsuit against Silverstein for a $843,750 in allegedly unpaid feessnervous onlookers braced for a catfight worthy of a horde of, well, developers, star architects, and politicians. (Add the shoot's location on the 26th floor of 7 World Trade Center, which is still under construction and open to the air, and there was the potential for a horrible accident.. Everyone was afraid someone would get pushed,'' half-jokes one sweaty-palmed witness, and not just out of the picture frame..) Luckily, we're told the bilious bunch behaved for the cameraaproving once again that nothing brings these people together like a good photo op.

BIENNALE HONOR ROLL
It's nice when people help each other out. Take the American pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, which opens this weekend. Earlier this spring, with almost no funding, no exhibition, and no organizer to put one together, things weren't looking good. But in April, at the State Department's request, Architectural Record's editors saved the day and, with their donated time and in a short five months, they got together six firmssincluding locally based Kolatan/MacDonald, Reiser + Umemoto, and Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis>who'll be presenting conceptual proposals in the pavilion for building archetypes like parking garages and stadiums. But what truly touches us are the other firms who donated $5,000 to $10,000 each to help fund the project and support their younger peers. So, great big gold stars go to: Beyer Blinder Belle, Fox & Fowle, Gensler, Kaplan McLaughlin Diaz, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Murphy/Jahn, NBBJ, Pei Cobb Freed, Cesar Pelli, and Perkins Eastman, as well as Miami developer Craig Robbins (who's giving substantially more) and Chicago philanthropist Leah Zell Wanger.

STERN'S CRITICAL JUDGMENT
We actually feel a certain fondness for Robert A. M. Stern. But apparently he doesn't think much of some of our colleagues. This summer, as the NYT was switching architecture critics, our snoops overheard someone asking the historicizingger, sense of placee-makinggarchitect, former Disney board member and Yale dean if any of his students were interested in pursuing criticism. Criticism? What a lowly profession,, we're told Stern sniffed with Howard Roarkian conviction. My students want to build!! Through his rep, Stern tells us he doesn't recall saying anything of the sort.

FRANKIE GOES TO SPRINGFIELD
These days, when he's not hanging out with Brad Pitt or posing for American Express ads (give the guy a break; he deserves a little fun now and then), Frank Gehry might be practicing to sound more like, well, Frank Gehry. We hear the architect is set to make a cameo appearance, as himself, on an episode of The Simpsons this upcoming season. While Gehry's rep could not provide specifics, we understand that, despite that institution's interest in the location (as well as everywhere else), Gehry will not be designing a Guggenheim for Springfield.

LET SLIP:achen@archpaper.com