2002 Top Projects
The Westin New York at Times Square
Probably the most talked about building completed in 2002 was The Westin New York at Times Square.
The 667,000-sq.-ft., 858-room hotel at West 43rd Street and Eighth Avenue polarized public opinion.
The new building's curtain wall of 4,500 prefabricated glass panels in 20 different colors with almost 1,000 permutations in terms of shape and size, and its 45-story tower split top to bottom by a curving beam of light, were nothing if not controversial.
The Westin was either welcomed as a sparkling new addition to the glitzy style of Times Square or sneered at as a cartoonish and tacky eyesore.
That is apparently what owner/developer Tishman Realty Corp. and operator, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the real estate investment trust that owns the Westin, W and Sheraton brands, wanted - a building that would draw attention.
To do so, they brought on the cutting-edge Miami-based architectural firm Arquitectonica to design it. Then they secured the services of the Italian facade expert Permasteelisa Cladding Technologies Ltd. (with U.S. operations based in Windsor, Conn.) to fabricate and install the curtain wall, and Veracon, a producer of architectural glass based in Owatonna, Minn., to create the glass.
The facade panels have several main parts - the extruded aluminum alloy frame, the spandrel glass lights, sealants and adhesives, insulation, galvanized steel and the connector bracket assembly. The first step in installing the curtain wall was the fabrication of dies used to extrude the aluminum profiles that make up the frames holding the glass. Each die had to be created especially for this project.
The panels were connected to the superstructure frame on anchor plates. Prior to the pouring of the concrete floor slabs, Halphen channels were embedded at each floor. Anchor plates were then bolted to the channels and set to the correct elevation for each set of panels. Then the panels were set into chips attached to the anchor plates. Installation of the facade took almost a year.
The hotel tower is connected to a half-block, 200,000-sq.-ft. retail/restaurant complex called E Walk, also developed by Tishman. On top of E Walk is the eight-story, 100-room low-rise portion of the hotel that had originally been designed to be run by a different company. Connecting the three parts of the now integrated project took some ingenuity.
To join the concrete columns of the low-rise portion of the hotel to the E Walk structure, structural engineer Ysrael Seinuk devised a system of 13 steel trusses. Because of the irregular spacing of E Walk's steel support columns that extend above the roof, each truss was different size. Tishman took advantage of the space created by the trusses to add office space to what emerged as a mixed-use project.
Between the trusses and the E Walk columns, 18 rubber and steel isolator pads were installed to allow the hotel to move without disturbing the building below. Thus E Walk is supporting the weight of the low-rise, while the hotel tower is absorbing wind and earthquake movement.
Whatever one's feeling about the aesthetics of the new hotel, there is no question that the new Westin has pushed both the architectural and engineering envelopes and resulted in a distinctive New York landmark.
Cost: $300 million
Owner/Developer: Tishman Realty Corp., NYC
Construction Manager: Tishman Construction Corp., NYC
Architect/Interior Designer: Arquitectonica, Miami, Fla.
Structural Engineer: Ysrael Seinuk PC, NYC
Curtain Wall Design and Installation: Permasteelisa Cladding Technologies Ltd., Windsor, Conn.
Curtain Wall Consultant: Gordon H. Smith Corp., NYC
M/E/P Engineer: Jaros Baum & Bolles, NYC
Geotechnical Consultant: Langan Engineering and Environmental Services Inc., NYC
Environmental Consultant: Hillmann Environmental Group LLC, Union, N.J.
Exterior Lighting Consultant: H.M. Brandston & Partners Inc., NYC
Electrical Contractor: Zwicker Electrical Co., Inc., NYC
Plumbing Contractor: Par Plumbing Co., Inc., Lynbrook, NY
Concrete Contractor: Sorbara Construction, Lynbrook, NY
Structural Steel Contractor: Canron Construction Corp., Ontario, Ca.