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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Hearst Tower in Eighth Avenue, New York by Foster + Partners

 
May 10th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Hearst Tower’s distinctive facetted silhouette rises dramatically above Joseph Urban’s existing six-storey Art Deco building, its main spatial event a vast internal plaza, occupying the entire shell of the historic base. Designed to consume significantly less energy than a conventional New York office building, it is a model of sustainable office design.

Images Courtesy Nigel Young - Foster Partners

  • Architect: Foster + Partners, Fit-out
  • Name of Project: Hearst Tower
  • Location: Eighth Avenue, New York, USA
  • Date: 2001-2006
  • Co-architects: Adamson Associates
  • Image credit: Chuck Choi, Nigel Young – Foster Partners
  • Drawings credit: Foster Partners

Images Courtesy Nigel Young - Foster Partners

  • Appointment: 2000
  • Associate Architect: Shell and core – Adamson Associates, Fit-out – Gensler
  • Development Manager: Tishman Speyer Properties
  • Structure: Cantor Seinuk Group
  • Services/MEP: Flack & Kurtz
  • Vertical Transportation: VDA
  • Lighting: George Sexton (core and shell), Kugler Associates (fit-out)
  • Food Service: Ira Beer Associates
  • Contractor: Turner Construction
  • Client: Hearst Corporation
  • Construction: 2003 – 2006
  • Gross Area: 856,000 ft² / 79,500 m²
  • Total Usable Area: 650,218 ft² / 60,470 m²
  • Zoning Area: 721,000 ft² / 67,000 m² (120,000 ft² / 11,000 m² from subway bonus)
  • Typical Gross Floor Area: 20,000 ft² 1,900 m²
  • Roof Area: 17,000 ft² / 1,663 m²
  • Typical Floor to Floor Height: 13’ 6” (4 m)
  • Building Height: 597 ft (182 m) – Equivalent height of the Municipal Building, NYC.
  • Number of Storeys: 46
  • Building Capacity: 1,800 – 2,200 people
  • Accomodation: Offices, Full-service television studio, State-of-the-art laboratory and test kitchens, Fitness Centre, Auditorium Café/Restaurant
  • Cooling system: Central air HVAC system at Level 28 with basement and roof top MER’s

Sea View (Images Courtesy Nigel Young - Foster Partners )

Hearst Tower revives a dream from the 1920s, when publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst envisaged Columbus Circle as a new media quarter in Manhattan. Hearst commissioned a six-storey Art Deco block on Eighth Avenue, anticipating that it would form the base for a tower, though no scheme was ever advanced. Echoing an approach developed in the Reichstag and the Great Court at the British Museum, the challenge in designing such a tower at seventy years remove was to establish a creative dialogue between old and new.

Exterior View (Images Courtesy Nigel Young - Foster Partners)

The forty-two-storey tower rises above the old building, linked on the outside by a skirt of glazing that encourages an impression of the tower floating weightlessly above the base. The main spatial event is a lobby that occupies the entire floor plate of the old building and rises up through six floors. Like a bustling town square, this dramatic space provides access to all parts of the building. It incorporates the main elevator lobby, the Hearst cafeteria and auditorium and mezzanine levels for meetings and special functions. Structurally, the tower has a triangulated form – a highly efficient solution that uses 20 per cent less steel than a conventionally framed structure. With the corners cut back between the diagonals, it creates a distinctive facetted silhouette.

Images Courtesy Nigel Young - Foster Partners

The building is also significant in environmental terms. It was built using 80 per cent recycled steel and is designed to consume 25 per cent less energy than its conventional neighbours. As a result, it was the first office building in Manhattan to achieve a gold rating under the US Green Buildings Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) programme. As a company, Hearst places a high value on the quality of the working environment – something it believes will become increasingly important to its staff in the future – and it is hoped that Hearst’s experience may herald the construction of more environmentally sensitive buildings in the city.

Images Courtesy Nigel Young - Foster Partners

Green facts

  • Over 85% of the steel used for the structure will be recycled material.
  • The diagrid frame of the Tower will contain roughly 20% less steel than would a conventional perimeter frame — saving approximately 2,000 tons of steel.
  • High performance low emission glass set within diagrid form allows for internal spaces to be flooded with natural light while keeping out solar radiation causing heat gain.
  • Light sensors will control the amount of artificial light on each floor based on the amount of natural light available at any given time, motion sensors will allow for lights and computers to be turned off when a room is vacant.
  • High efficiency heating and air-conditioning equipment will utilise outside air for cooling and ventilation for 75% of the year. These and other energy-saving features are expected to increase energy efficiency by 26% compared to a standard office building.
  • CO2 sensors for demand controlled ventilation.
  • The roof has been designed to collect rainwater, which will reduce the amount of water dumped into the City’s sewer system during rainfall by 25%. The rainwater is harvested in one 14,000 gallon reclamation tanks located in the basement of the building.
  • Rainwater will be used to replace water lost to evaporation in the office air-conditioning system. It will also be fed into a special pumping system to irrigate plantings and trees inside and outside the building. It is expected that the captured rain will produce about half of the watering needs.
  • Electrically actuated faucets are expected to reduce water use by 25%.
  • Harvested water will be utilized for “Icefall”. The grand atrium’s water feature’s environmental function is to humidify and chill the atrium lobby as necessary.
  • Foreign-sourced materials account for less than 10% of the total construction cost.

Exterior View (Images Courtesy Nigel Young - Foster Partners)

Subway Improvements Columbus Circle Station

  • 3 new ADA-compliant elevators (mezzanine to platform)
  • 2 new stairs (mezzanine to platform)
  • 4 reconfigured stairs – widened and reoriented (mezzanine to platform)
  • 2 refurbished stairs to street level through the new Hearst Building
  • Relocated fare stations for better accessibility and traffic flow

These improvements, coupled with an existing elevator to street level, and other New York City Transit work, will provide better access to the station for persons with disabilities. Columbus Circle Station is the 14th busiest station (out of over 400) in the New York City Transit System.

Exterior View (Images Courtesy Nigel Young - Foster Partners)

Additional Facts

  • The 856,000 square feet structure brings together 2,000 New York based employees from ten locations in Manhattan.
  • The total floor area of the building (856,000 square feet) is the equivalent to 15 American Football pitches.
  • Each triangle in the diagrid is four storeys tall, or 54 feet.
  • Over one mile of glass office fronts.
  • 14,000 light fixtures.
  • Over 16,000 ceiling tiles.
  • 7 miles of storage filing space.
  • It would take 89 million copies of Cosmopolitan to fill the main atrium lobby.

Exterior View (Images Courtesy Nigel Young - Foster Partners)

Building History

International Magazine Building

  • The six-storey U-shapedstructure was commissioned by William Randolph Hearst to house the twelve magazines he owned at the time. Construction began in 1927 and was completed in 1928 at a cost of $2 million.
  • Located at 959 Eighth Avenue, between 56th and 57th Streets, the L-shaped structure contains 40,000 square feet and was originally named the International Magazine Building.
  • It was designed by Joseph Urban and George P. Post & Sons in 1926-27 to convey the fact that “it houses industries whose purpose is to exert influence on the thought and education of the reading public.” It was also designed to complement other music and arts buildings originally planned for the area.
  • Considered an “important monument in the architectural heritage of New York” the building was designated as a Landmark Site by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1988.
  • From the beginning, the building was structurally reinforced for an office tower that was never constructed.
  • Between1945-47, George B. Post & Sons made proposals for nine additional storeys on the six-story base. Plans were filed in 1946, but never executed.
  • Built in an unusual style, the building is classified as outside the Art Deco norm of the times and is a combination of multiple styles.
  • The facade is cast stone with a two-story base and four storeys set back from the base and the design consists of columns and allegorical figures representing music, art, commerce and industry.
  • William Randolph Hearst envisioned a headquarters building as early as 1895 and began purchasing huge amounts of property in and around 57th Street and Eighth Avenue in the Columbus Circle area. He purchased at least six midtown properties as potential sites for the headquarters and finally purchased the present building’s site in 1921. The site was originally intended to hold a two-storey mixed-use structure with stores, offices and a 2,500 seat auditorium.
  • Considered speculative at the time, Hearst had great expectations that Columbus Circle would become the extension of New York’s growing theatre district. Carnegie Hall at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue had been built in 1891 and in 1923, the Metropolitan Opera announced plans to construct a new house on 57th Street. The opera’s plans were abandoned but Columbus Circle did experience unprecedented commercial growth in the 1920’s.

Images Courtesy Nigel Young - Foster Partners

Energy

First “Green” occupied commercial building in New York City: The Hearst Tower has received a Gold Rating under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the U.S. Green Building Council. Hearst Tower has been designed to use 26% less energy than a building that minimally complies with the respective state and city energy codes. The reduction in electrical energy use (1,968,730 kWh) can be estimated to be the equivalent of 1074 tons of CO2 or 215 cars taken off the road.

Images Courtesy Nigel Young - Foster Partners

Night View (Images Courtesy Chuck Choi)

Exterior View (Images Courtesy Chuck Choi)

Images Courtesy Chuck Choi

Images Courtesy Chuck Choi

Images Courtesy Chuck Choi

Exterior View (Images Courtesy Chuck Choi)

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Category: Tower

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