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  #81  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2012, 1:41 PM
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http://observer.com/2012/10/unveilin...town-rezoning/

Unveiling Competing Designs for 425 Park, David Levinson Says He Will Not Wait for Midtown Rezoning






By Matt Chaban
October 18, 2012


Quote:
With the choice of four of the world’s greatest architects, how could David Levinson ever settle on just one to build a new tower at 425 Park Avenue? “That’s my next job, to find three more sites so I can build all these buildings,” Mr. Levinson joked, seated at a conference table inside his sleek white offices on 57th Street on Monday. He was surrounded by renderings and models by Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers, Rem Koolhaas and the winning architect Norman Foster.

“For us, it was really a blend of what’s the right concept for Park Avenue, a place that has not had a new building for almost 50 years, an avenue that is quite possibly the most important commercial boulevard in New York City, quite possibly the United State, and what is the place of a new build down the street from Seagrams and Lever House, two of the greatest buildings ever built,” Mr. Levinson explained. “We had to determine for that setting what’s the right firm. So really, it’s a blend of the concept and the firm we can work with.”

Mr. Levinson emphasized that this was not a traditional architecture competition, where he was selecting a design so much as a firm. He acknowledged that Lord Norman Foster had a head start, but as the competition got underway, that choice became harder to make. “Things we knew early on about the Foster organization, it’s a very deep bench with a great deal of knowledge about office buildings,” Mr. Levinson said. “There is an emphasis on function, the techtonic aspect, but also an emphasis on form, how it fits into the Park Avenue context and makes an impact.”

It is a challenging commission since all the firms were given the task of peeling back 75 percent of the current boxy building that sits at 425 Park Avenue, then building back up from the base that remained. This was part of a zoning quirk that were Mr. Levinson to demolition the entire building, he would actually be forced to build something smaller than the current building, about 500,000 square feet compared to 650,000. Mr. Levinson is eagerly awaiting the Midtown East rezoning, which might remove certain impediments to his project, like a better base to the building, but he also admitted that he does not expect to build an even bigger building, even though the new zoning would allow it, up to 24 FAR, compared to the 18 FAR the building currently has (current zoning only allows 15 FAR, but since the building was built before the zoning was revised in 1961, it is bigger than that).

“We are building a bespoke office building,” Mr. Levinson explained. “I don’t think we need to go much bigger than what we have now. Around Grand Central, bigger might work, but this is the Plaza District, this is a bespoke office building, and I believe this is the right size for us.”



Richard Rogers



Zaha Hadid



Rem Koolhaas





Resized images...














The Rogers design is the least exciting, but I think I would have liked the other two...








Updated with more renderings....


Rogers













Rem Koolhas





































Foster

























Zaha Hadid





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Last edited by NYguy; Oct 18, 2012 at 2:09 PM.
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  #82  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2012, 2:15 PM
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Fosters design is very easily the worst. Rogers design is interesting and potentially great depending on materials. Koolhaas came up with a beautiful design that is a wonderful variation on the traditional New York wedding cake. It would have been a real jewel. Hadids building is simply breathtaking--a real life masterpiece--equal to Seagrams and Lever.

Ugh.
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  #83  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2012, 2:23 PM
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Originally Posted by pico44 View Post
Fosters design is very easily the worst. Rogers design is interesting and potentially great depending on materials. Koolhaas came up with a beautiful design that is a wonderful variation on the traditional New York wedding cake. It would have been a real jewel. Hadids building is simply breathtaking--a real life masterpiece--equal to Seagrams and Lever.

Ugh.

Are we looking at the same designs? Rogers was excruciatingly painful to look at.

Anyhow, the developer could have sought designs from far more tactful firms than this group of starchitects. Atkins, SOM, KPF, MAD, Pelli could all have handled the task of designing this tower - and with a far greater degree of finesse.
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  #84  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2012, 2:29 PM
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Originally Posted by NYguy View Post
I like this design the most and I wish it could be built somehwere else in the city. All the others were good too though.
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  #85  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2012, 2:38 PM
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^ That's my favorite also. Foster and Rogers will be fighting for supremacy down at the WTC. I do like the other two designs better. One of the things I don't like about these design competitions, we get to see many designs and usually the best ones, or what we think of as best don't get chosen. In this case, even the winning design won't be built as is. But at least people will be talking about them. Midtown could use some fresh proposals, as seen with the Midtown East ideas also being shown today.
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  #86  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2012, 2:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pico44 View Post
Fosters design is very easily the worst. Rogers design is interesting and potentially great depending on materials. Koolhaas came up with a beautiful design that is a wonderful variation on the traditional New York wedding cake. It would have been a real jewel. Hadids building is simply breathtaking--a real life masterpiece--equal to Seagrams and Lever.

Ugh.
Wow, I couldn't disagree more.

Rogers was just awful. It's the same recycled design he does in every project, over and over.

Koolhaas was much better, but still the same recycled form in every building.

I agree Hadid's design was cool, but totally impractical in terms of office floorplates. Not a design that any landlord would embrace.

I think the right choice was made. Foster's design is practical, and looks pretty good.
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  #87  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2012, 2:54 PM
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I thought the back of Foster's building was bad, then I saw the view of Rogers building looking west, and holy hell that building is just a mess. Ideally the developer just waits for the upzoning because I'm not crazy too crazy about the Foster design either. We'll just have to wait and see.
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  #88  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2012, 3:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
I agree Hadid's design was cool, but totally impractical in terms of office floorplates. Not a design that any landlord would embrace.
I think Hadid's is the most straightforward of the group. There's nothing really fantastic about the floorplates, despite initial outward appearances, and it doesn't have any of the "fantastical" skygardens the other towers have, at least not visibly. It's pretty much just a tower on a base, but it's that connection with the base, as well as the facade that makes it stand out.


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  #89  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2012, 3:13 PM
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Zaha Hadid's is the best followed by Rem's.
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  #90  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2012, 5:36 PM
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Hadid is the best looking, Foster's building with it hugh fins will add something interesting to the skyline (also think the glass enclosed stairways is a brillant idea if it can be executed). Koolhaus looks nice, but it complexity equals high construction cost. And Rogers, well, I can do without the trees! I know green is "in" but really, who gonna be rake all those leaves come fall.
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  #91  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2012, 5:46 PM
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I enjoy the difference of opinion on these things.




A little more info on the plans...

http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/48329
Foster Won, But Check out Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, & Richard Rogers’ NYC Visions




Proposal by Zaha Hadid
Height: 669 feet; Stories: 40


Quote:
“The design challenge for 425 Park Avenue lies in producing a structure of timeless elegance, yet with a strong identity that reflects the complex and sophisticated age in which it was created and mirrors the exceptional setting in which it is placed. Our approach has been to unite the four fundamental qualities for the project — Function, Design, Culture and Value — and fuse them into a single seamless design which incorporates these characteristics in a harmonious and unified architectural concept.

“With its breezy views up and down Park Avenue and breath-taking vistas of Central Park, the new building is quintessentially “New York” in its very definition. Its sleek verticality breathes the very essence of the city, while its gentle curves evoke a new dynamism of form which is both distinctly contemporary and ageless. This harmony is equally reflected in the building’s openness, flexible design and technological efficiency, providing an adaptable architectural context that allows it to accommodate its tenants’ requirements and desires.” – Zaha Hadid




Proposal by OMA
Height: 648 feet; Stories: 38


Quote:
“Our current aesthetics oscillate between nearly exhausted orthogonality and a still immature curvaceousness.

“Our building is an intersection of these two observations: it proposes a stack of three cubes —the lower one a full solid block on Park Avenue, the smallest on top, rotated 45 degrees vis-a-vis the Manhattan grid, oriented beyond its mere location in a sweep from Midtown to Central Park.

“The three cubes are connected by curved planes to create a subtle alternation of flat and 3 dimensional places, each reflecting sky and city in their own way.” – Rem Koolhaas




Proposal by Rogers Stirk Harbour Partners
Height: 665 feet; Stories: 44


Quote:
“We have created a contemporary homage to the quintessential New York skyscraper, by designing a tower that will define the next chapter in their illustrious story. Our solution acknowledges the design attributes of its neighbours on Park Avenue, but brings new qualities: honest expression; generosity; efficiency and humanity. The clear expression of the process of construction is evident from the huge 43 storey steel frame down to the smallest detail, this gives the building a human scale.

“In designing sky gardens, we are reconnecting workers and the city with nature, by using different American landscape ecologies, from forest to alpine, to suit the different altitudes of each garden. These spaces also offer great views of the park and the metropolis.” – Lord Richard Rogers




Winning Proposal by Foster + Partners
Height: 687 feet; Stories: 41


Quote:
“Our aim is to create an exceptional building, both of its time and timeless, as well as being respectful of its context and celebrated Modernist neighbours—a tower that is for the City and for the people that will work in it, setting a new standard for office design and providing an enduring landmark that befits its world-famous location.

“Clearly expressing the geometry of its structure, the tapered steel-frame tower rises to meet three shear walls that will be illuminated, adding to the vibrant New York City skyline. Its elegant facade seamlessly integrates with an innovative internal arrangement that allows for three gradated tiers of column-free floors. Offering world-class, sustainable office accommodation, the new building anticipates changing needs in the workplace with large, flexible open floor plates. Each of the three tiers—low, medium and high-rise—is defined by a landscaped terrace with panoramic views across Manhattan and Central Park. To maximize the Park Avenue frontage, the core is placed to the rear, where glazed stairwells reveal long views towards the East River, while at street level, there is potential for a large civic plaza with significant works of art.” – Lord Norman Foster



Another look at the renders...










































































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  #92  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2012, 5:54 PM
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Ok, so the Foster building is 687 ft. to the rooftop, but not to the "spire" or whatever that is.

So I guess it's about 850 ft. or so, very roughly.
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  #93  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2012, 6:21 PM
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Personally I think the Foster design was the right pick. I blends very well with its surrounding, yet it's modern and stands out. Otherwise the Zaha Hadid building is the coolest, it just doesn't belong on Park avenue..hope it finds a home in other part of the city like the West side or downtown, same for the OMA design.
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  #94  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2012, 7:23 PM
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Allow me to add to the jeers for the Rogers mess. Very disappointing indeed. The blue and orange (?!?!?!?!??) rectangles make my head spin. and the placement of the greenery is about as haphazard as I've seen for *any* skyscraper design element. This is true *especially* at the base, which by itself is IMO *completely* uninviting, *especially especially* with that massive cantilevering/overhanging. It just gives me a certain uneasiness....that's all I can and will say.

Koolhaas's design is an *extremely* pleasant surprise for me; and I'd *really* like to see it used for another project somewhere in this City. The remarkable subtlety in the twisting form is a nice touch; and the top-down view *thankfully* doesn't reveal yet another aesthetically tweaked box.

Hadid's *beauty* IMO fits like a glove for the West Side or even downtown BKN...maybe more so the former because of the ostensibly sheer scope of the base. For the area originally proposed, though, it unfortunately didn't fit the streetwall. The lobby renders are straight out of a beautiful dream. From what I could see, my only wish is that it could have been something more than a typical boxish frame...hopefully if this design *is* revisited for another location, a bit more examination into that will occur. Something cylindrical, oval or even a morphing combination of square to cylinder would have been interesting. But the swooping cascade to street level *really* gets me...and in a good way, indeed.

In the end, I too am glad that Lord Foster's entry won. Unlike the Rogers entry, the sky greenery is more appropriately subdued and creates an elegant touch. From the latest renderings I had no clue that the solar fins were going to make it as tall as it most likely will turn out. My only concern is my uncertainty of the materials to be used, not only for the bracings at the setbacks, but *particularly* for the facade along the south side, i.e. where the fins extend out from the main structure.

I'm guessing a final height of 687' + at least 100' for the fins = definitely over 800 (!).

Last edited by JayPro; Oct 19, 2012 at 4:09 AM.
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  #95  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2012, 11:51 PM
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Zaha Hadid's work reminds me of the Skyvoid tower.
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  #96  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2012, 1:32 AM
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I really like the winner actually. Hope it gets built!
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  #97  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2012, 1:58 AM
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Foster's design is my favorite. I LOVE the crown. I think the only other good design was Zahad's, but even then, I don't like the top 80% of the building. The best design was definitely chosen. I only wish they would wait for rezoning, because this Foster building would be jaw dropping over 1000ft.
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  #98  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2012, 4:02 AM
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Three more observations:

1. The Koolhaas proposal would be *epic* for Jersey City...especially since at least one of his prior suggestions was entertained there...the stacked box thing IIRC.
2. I hope Foster's treatment of the fin materials lends itself to a good amount of translucency. And maybe the surfaces ought not to be so plain....how about some texture. albeit subtle?
3. Does anyone other than me get the impression that the Rogers trainwreck is his inimitably artistic way of sticking it to the Big Apple for the value engineering job done to 175 Greenwich/3WTC? Just a thought...........

Last edited by JayPro; Oct 19, 2012 at 4:14 AM.
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  #99  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2012, 10:37 AM
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There's nothing really new or exciting about Foster's design, except the fins on top and the "severed" sky decks. It really could be another Seagram Building. That's fine, except the developer stated he wanted to create something new. Rogers design is seen in too many of his proposals. Since they are keeping the base, all of the towers except maybe Rogers fit in at street level they way you would expect. Also, I'm not sure I like the back (east side) of Foster's design. It looks like it's the back. But overall, it will be a modern skyscraper, and that's the whole point of building it I suppose. I don't dislike it (just maybe the back).






I would have taken either of the following over Foster's, they're like candy to the eyes, as opposed to just another skyscraper.

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None of the renders showed the looming 1,400 ft tower that will be virtually accross the street (432 Park), except maybe this one?

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  #100  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2012, 12:44 PM
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Foster will be up to speak about his design at 9:05 am....
http://mas.org/



Screen shot from Foster's presentation...


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Last edited by NYguy; Oct 19, 2012 at 1:34 PM.
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