The New York Times Building
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.
Each architecture tells a story, and the story this new building proposes to tell is one of lightness and transparency.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Facts about The New York Times Building
Ove Arup & Partners (structure and services)
Flack & Kurtz
Jenkins & Huntington
Heitman & Associates
Ludwig & Weiler
Office for Visual Interaction
The New York Times / Forest City Ratner Companies
Last updated: December 19, 2013
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