The New York Times Building
Renzo Piano

May 20, 2002 /

New York, New York, USA

Photo © Michel Denancé

The 52-story Times Company Headquarters, Renzo Piano's first major project in New York City, occupies one of the last sites in the 42nd Street Development Are; a 13-acre district adjoining Times Square designated for redevelopment in the mid-1980s by New York State and City government.

The preliminary concept for the building incorporates a transparent glass tower that seems to float above a five-story base. The tower uses a double curtain wall technique that allows the structure to appear vibrant and transparent, yet increase energy efficiency.

Photo © Michel Denancé

Each architecture tells a story, and the story this new building proposes to tell is one of lightness and transparency.

/Renzo Piano

Photo © Michel Denancé

The building occupies the entire block front on the east side of Eighth Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets, anchoring the southwest corner of the Times Square area. The main entrance is on Eighth Avenue with two additional entrances from 40th and 41st Street. The building is set back 17 feet along Eighth Avenue and eight feet along 40th and 41st Street in order to facilitate pedestrian circulation.

Photo © Michel Denancé

The ground level has retail space and a garden, with offices going up to the 50th floor. The top two floors consists of mechanical space and a rooftop conference facility. A common lobby, ground floor auditorium, the rooftop conference facility, and mechanical and below-grade areas account for the remaining space in the building.

Photo © Michel Denancé

Photo © Michel Denancé

The Atrium at the base of the building is surrounded on three sides by floating concrete slabs, creating an open urban landscape. This piazza-like space provides an arena for the Times Center, a public amenity devised by the New York Times Company.

The majority of the double thermal-pane glass curtain wall is screened by thin horizontal ceramic tubes placed on a steel framework positioned one to two feet in front of the glass; in other places the screen is made of metal and glass louvers. The irregularly spaced horizontal rods bounce daylight up to the ceilings, tossing it into the tower's interior. On each panel the rods are interrupted at eye level, creating an open viewing space so those inside the building will not be seeing the city behind bars.

Photo © Michel Denancé

Photo © Michel Denancé

In addition to permitting a high-degree of energy efficiency in heating and cooling the building, the ceramic tubes takes on the changing color of the sky during the course of the day as light focuses on it from different angles. The sunscreen starts at the second floor, leaving the first open, transparent and permeable; glass-enclosed retail spaces along the ground floor allow passers-by to view activity in the lobby and ground-floor-level garden.

At the top of the building the screen of tubes becomes less dense, and its lace-like appearance permits a view of the roof garden foliage. The curtain wall continues skyward above the roof to conceal the building's mechanical elements and maintain the visual flow of the tower. To increase the sense of interoffice community within the tower, as well as animate its edges, Piano pulled away the sunscreens and placed the staircases, sheathed in transparent panes, at the buildings corners,
Piano took his inspiration from the utility and symmetry of Manhattan's world-famous rectangular street grid in designing a building with a shape he described as "simple and primary."

Sketch © Rpbw, Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Image © Rpbw, Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Photo © Michel Denancé MichelModel

Image © Rpbw, Renzo Piano Building WorkshopSouth Elevation
Image © Rpbw, Renzo Piano Building WorkshopWest Storefront
Image © Rpbw, Renzo Piano Building WorkshopWest Roof
Image © Rpbw, Renzo Piano Building WorkshopRecessed corner elevation with convenience stair

Facts about The New York Times Building

Gross Area:

1.54 million ft2

The Renzo Piano Building Workshop
in collaboration with Fox & Fowle Architects


Ove Arup & Partners (structure and services)


Thornton Tomasetti


Flack & Kurtz

Vertical Transportation:

Jenkins & Huntington

Facade Consultant:

Heitman & Associates


Ludwig & Weiler


Office for Visual Interaction


Gensler Associates



Construction manager:



The New York Times / Forest City Ratner Companies

Last updated: December 19, 2013

See also

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