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New Empire City Casino Building in New York by STUDIO V Architecture
December 10th, 2013 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: STUDIO V Architecture
The new building by STUDIO V Architecture at Empire City looks nothing like a typical casino. Evolving government policies are transforming the gaming industry; heightened attention and competition have catalyzed casinos to push the boundaries of design, innovation, and visitor experience. Tim Rooney, whose famed family also owns the Pittsburgh Steelers, approached STUDIO V to create a radical and contemporary new building to stand out among ferocious competition in this burgeoning industry-wide revolution.To re-invent a building type that typically produces themed, single-story, hermetically-sealed boxes, the Empire City Casino expansion uses avant garde architecture, cutting edge materials, and ground-breaking technology to create a fresh, light-filled, and stimulating space.
Jay Valgora, the principal and founder of STUDIO V Architecture, describes the design: At Yonkers Raceway, we set out to re invent the modern casino. Our design features a four-story high arc of frameless glass that projects the energy of the casino onto the building exterior, and brings the landscape and architecture into the gaming hall. The façade forms a backdrop for a sculptural port cochere utilizing exotic structural systems and innovative materials.
The design features a curved façade of frameless low iron glass over 45 feet in height, sweeping in a 300-foot arc behind a new landscaped courtyard and the sculptural port cochere. This glass wall extends past the building with angled skylights and freestanding glass wings stretching into space on either side. A filigree of lighting fixtures shine through the special fritted glass to create a white veil of lighting into the gaming hall. A long zinc metal wall with custom gradated perforations completes the architectural composition.
The sculptural port cochere erected in the entrance of the casino was inspired by the unique landscape of ‘the Hilltop Track’ at Yonkers Raceway. The steel lattice shell structure, designed by STUDIO V and engineered by FTL Design Engineering Studio grows out of the surrounding hillside to form a shimmering entrance canopy through which visitors enter the facility. Covered in ETFE foil, the innovative port cochere is the largest structure of its kind in North America. All assembly components are shop-fabricated and erected on site as a kit of parts, allowing for an installation time of less than two weeks.
The interior design rejects the artificial themed environments common to casinos and highlights STUDIO V’s exceptional approach to materials and lighting. A series of unique installations evoke abstract urban landscapes including massive sculptural installations created from polycarbonate panels, and hundreds of thousands of copper, brass, and stainless steel pins. Laser-cut steel clouds” covered with di-chroic glass discs offer a radically new interpretation of the traditional chandelier to illuminate the gaming floor.
A sculptural installation of thousands of translucent polycarbonate panels fills and follows the concave curvature of 130 feet of wall above the main entrance. These pixilated forms combine to depict an abstract urban landscape and welcomes patrons to the building. Varying sizes of copper, brass and stainless steel pins come together to form a 330 foot long sculptural wall along the length of the new casino expansion. The placement of the pins dissolves up close but reveals an iconic view of the New York City landscape from further away.
These interior installations were fabricated using state of the art parametric modeling techniques and computer controlled fabrication machines. A massive curved stair of frameless glass completes the interior composition and links all the levels and activities of the casino. This soaring vertical space showcases a range of amenities, including a new steakhouse by Alaine Ducasse, classic Irish pub based on the Rooney family’s original historic bar, and an antique bowling alley and lounge.
About Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway
Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway is the fifth largest gaming facility in North America based on the total number of gaming positions. The casino features: 5,300 slot machines, video roulette, electronic craps and baccarat tables, Italian dining in Nonno’s Trattoria, and trackside dining in the Empire Terrace Restaurant, which overlooks the track for live harness racing, as well as the International Food Court and its wide-ranging menu. The multi-faceted Good Time Room is available for parties, benefits, weddings, and major events for up to 400. Empire City Casino is located at 810 Yonkers Avenue (at Central Avenue) in Yonkers, New York, Westchester County, (I- 87 to Exit 2). Empire City Casino is open seven days a week from 9:00am to 4:00am.
About STUDIO V Architecture
In only eight years, STUDIO V Architecture has grown to be one of the most innovative new architecture firms in New York City with a highly diverse range of work. The firm’s design philosophy insists that every project is a different expression of a unique place and encompass a range of unconventional approaches to structure, materials, form, and lighting. Recent projects include the first redesign of Macy’s historic Herald Square building in 111 years, an extensive series of new public parks and sustainable residential communities that are transforming a majority of the Astoria waterfront in Queens, and winning a competition to redesign the area around the Stamford, CT train station. STUDIO V’s design was chosen to restore and redesign the iconic Empire Stores abandoned warehouses on the Brooklyn waterfront.
About FTL Design Engineering Studio
FTL is a leading design and engineering firm, offering a full range of consulting services for innovative buildings. The firm explores lightness as a visual, physical and sustainable approach, using a minimum of materials to impact our planet, using a physical lightness of form and its visual effect of light on structure. FTL’s team of designers and engineers embrace new challenges with relentless innovation. They helped pioneer tensile structure design and construction technologies over 30 years ago and today under the leadership of Nic Goldsmith, FTL remains at the forefront of emerging technologies allowing clients to take full advantage of its advanced solutions in fields from custom designed installations to specialized products.
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