You guys know that every now and then I like to do a thread just to look at the beauty of a building (and I encourage you guys to do the same with your favorite buildings...we don't have to be discussing politics and development 24/7 on this board). Well here's a thread devoted to Hearst Tower in Charlotte.
Height: 670 feet
Hearst Tower is primarily a Bank of America structure. It is connected to Overstreet Mall, and has several restaurants/shops at ground-level, including a Fuel Pizza, Blue Restaurant, Ri Ra's (sandwich shop on mall side, restaurant on Tryon side), Mint Museum Shop, and Gallery WDO, among others. Hearst Tower's newest Overstreet Mall-level tenant is the Charlotte Bobcats' Marketing Center. Here, you'll find an exact replica of a suite as they will be designed for the new arena. The 'virtual' suite even has a giant screen that replicates the view you'll have of the court, depending on which suite you're looking to buy. and of course, if you're not looking to buy a suite, there's plenty of Bobcats merchandise to purchase too.
Bank of America Trading Floor:
(courtesy of som.com
The following pictures and comments are courtesy of www.athomecharlotte.com
The marble is from China, the architects from Atlanta, the look from the 1920s. But the 46-story Hearst Tower, the city's newest skyscraper, is pure Charlotte.
It's flashy, its bold profile already a marker on the skyline. And its interior spaces are lush. Most importantly, the design of the building and the Hearst Plaza on North Tryon Street responds to issues that have roiled Charlotte for 25 years:
Should tall buildings meet the street with blank walls or welcoming entrances and retail at the ground floor? Can we combine old and new as we re-create uptown? And how, amid these redwoods of glass and steel, can places for people be created?
A Bank of America project, the $160 million tower succeeds in these and other measures. That's fitting. In a way, Hearst Tower is a culmination of the skyscrapers built here over 30 years. Likely, it will be the last tall building Charlotte will see for some time.
Designed by Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates, the tower is part of a family. The daddy is the 60-story BofA headquarters, the city's tallest building as of 1992, done by Cesar Pelli. Hearst Tower, in second place, and the 30-story IJL Financial Center across North Tryon, which opened in 1997, are siblings.
Smallwood, Reynolds, which also designed IJL, had the assignment to relate the buildings -- but not slavishly. They do have the same exterior palette of colors and similar window designs. But the need to connect the Hearst Tower to the Pelli building resulted in two important design decisions.
One was to put glass and metal triangular extensions at the corners of the tower so the building gets wider as it gets higher, although its walls remain plumb.
The flaring enables the shorter Hearst Tower to "stand up" to Pelli's elegant rocket of a skyscraper. With its steroidal heft, the tower also relates well to the 11-story base from which the shaft rises. That massive block-long structure between Fifth and Sixth streets along College Street contains a 1,400-space parking garage.
The other Pelli-related design decision was the "look" of the building. Because Pelli had used some art deco detailing, the Atlanta architects adopted that 1920s art style, but they went whole hog.
The result is a bright and lively building that responds to the sun and is also a jazzy beacon on the night sky. The silvery cowl at the top, with its triangular openings, recalls the upper stories of a great '20s art deco skyscraper, William Van Alen's Chrysler Building in New York.
Art deco motif
The architects carried the art deco theme throughout, relating details inside and out with an inventive use of materials.
For instance, the precast concrete panels on the exterior are fluted, as were the columns on classical temples, the better to catch the light. Some of the marble in the lobby also is fluted, and those thin parallel lines show up on the elevator doors.
The sunburst design -- a typical art deco motif -- appears over the Tryon Street entrance and repeats in the ceiling of the Tryon and College street lobbies. It's also on the exterior precast panels. The winged fixtures on the corners of the 11-story base -- a Chrysler-esque touch -- echo in the light fixtures over the elevators.
The materials are rich, evoking the art deco period with a palette of black, white, gray and bronze. Black granite bands the exterior. The marble in the lobby is also in the elevator cabs.
The curving bronze railing in the College Street lobby has 38 bronze grills from a 1920s Paris department store, designed by Edgar Brandt, a well-known art deco designer.
The lobbies are not as grand or as boldly colored as Pelli's in the BofA headquarters. What may be the building's most impressive space is one the public will never see -- the 60,000-square-foot trading floor.
Now a huge room under construction following a design by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's New York office, it has a soaring 50-foot ceiling and a two-story glass wall flooding it with the pure north light favored by artists.
A human scale
The space the public will see -- and enjoy -- is the plaza on Tryon Street. While Founder's Hall in BofA's headquarters has shops, fountains and public space inside, Hearst Plaza is outdoors on the street. Along with The Green, Wachovia's innovative park on South Tryon, it establishes a new standard for urban space in the city.
Designed by Shook, a Charlotte firm, it is well-proportioned, giving the massive tower a more human scale.
Older buildings bracket the plaza on each side -- the historic Montaldo's, now the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, and the vernacular structure housing Ri-Ra's pub, buildings that were not destroyed for the new development but made part of it.
The mix-and-match facades of the buildings on the plaza also knit old and new together. The sleek aluminum look of the craft museum's gift shop contrasts with a red tile front opposite.
Bank of America, which spent more than $10 million to convert the Montaldo's building into a museum in 1999, paid for the new shop front on the plaza and also for the limestone covering the museum's plaza wall, again a joining of old and new.
The tower and plaza are rich with art. The BofA gallery in the tower lobby will show the bank's collection. The large windows of the craft museum's shop and of gallery W.D.O., when filled with objects, will put lively color and form on the plaza.
Coming in December: a 10-foot cast glass sculpture by Howard Ben Tre, with fiber optic light and cascades of water.
Its soft green glow will be a beacon on the street. Surrounding it and nearby is the amenity every tall building needs (but Charlotte's have not always had) -- a place to sit.
In a way, the Hearst Tower is a culmination of the skyscrapers built here over 30 years.
Likely, it will be the last tall building Charlotte will see for some time
The 47th floor conference center reception area of the Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman, LLP law firm features a spectacular view to the south and east through the angled
windows hidden in the building's silvery cowl.
The elevator hall continues the themes of black, white and bronze, with art deco touches.
The winged fixtures of the corners of the building's massive base are echoed
in the light fixtures over the elevators.
The designers used art deco detailing outside and inside the building, including a black, white
and bronze color scheme and somewhat large, over-stuffed furniture in the main lobby.
The space the public will see - and enjoy - is the plaza on Tryon Street. While Founder's Hall in the BofA headquarters has shops and public space inside, Hearst Plaza is on the street.
The Hearst Tower echoes the BofA Corporate Headquarters in uptown Charlotte
The corners of the tower flare out
toward the top while the walls remain plumb
Triangular extensions at the corners widen
as they rise, giving the building its big shoulders
The Hearst Tower is part of a family, with the 60-story BofA headquarters as its patriarch
The curving bronze railing in the College Street lobby has 38 bronze grills from a 1920s Paris department store
The angled art deco motif runs throughout the building's design, culminating in a silvery cowl some 635 feet above uptown Charlotte. The cowl hides heating and cooling equipment
Photos by Gary O'Brien
Republished with permission from The Charlotte Observer.
Copyright owned by The Charlotte Observer.
Charlotte skyline with Hearst Tower in the forefront:
(could that be...housing
in the forefront? I thought Uptown was a big office park!
If any of you guys have Hearst Tower pictures to add to this thread, please do.
Hope you all enjoyed!