New York News

John Hill
22. February 2018
L-R: Hudson Yards (Photo: Wikimedia Commons), 270 Park Avenue (Photo: Wikimedia Commons), Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center (Image: LUXIGON)

A few architecture-related stories making headlines this week in New York City.

Calatrava and Gehry Among Architects Selected for Hudson Yards Towers
The Washington Post reported on Sunday that "architects Santiago Calatrava and Frank Gehry have been tapped to design residential towers at the massive new development rising on Manhattan’s far West Side, according to a person familiar with the matter." Specifically, the architects would be designing towers for the second phase of Hudson Yards, which Related and Oxford Properties are building over the railyards of the Long Island Railroad. The first phase includes primarily office towers by the likes of KPF and SOM, as well as a cultural Shed designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Thomas Heatherwick's "Vessel." The second phase will consist of primarily residential tower arranged around a park. Calatrava and Gehry have respectively completed only three buildings in NYC to date: Calatrava, the World Trade Center Transportation Hub; and Gehry, the IAC Headquarters near the High Line and a residential tower at 8 Spruce Street in Lower Manhattan.

Out With the Old Building, in With the New for JPMorgan Chase
​​The New York Times reported yesterday that JPMorgan Chase, which employs 15,000 people, "will demolish its headquarters on Park Avenue between 47th and 48th Streets and build a new 70-story world headquarters on the site." The bank has 6,000 employees in the 52-story 270 Park Avenue, which was designed in the early 1960s by SOM for Union Carbide. Unlike the SOM-designed tower in Lower Manhattan that the bank occupied for decades, 270 Park Avenue is not a NYC landmark. And with the recently passed Midtown East rezoning allowing extra height for new buildings north of Grand Central Terminal, JPMorgan Chase is within its rights to put up a building around 1,200 feet, or 500 feet taller than what's there now. Undertandably, architecture critics are upset by the news, particularly since the Union Carbide building was designed in part by SOM's Natalie Griffin de Blois, making it a rare and notable work of modern architecture attributed to a woman. Unless the Landmarks Preservation Commission speedily designates 270 Park Avenue as a landmark, all signs point to Chase (it has been quietly negotiating leases at nearby buildings, per the Times, to house its displaced workers) moving forward with their huge "teardown" on Park Avenue.

Construction of Performing Arts Center at World Trade Center Moves Forward
Late last week, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement that will pave the way for construction of the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center. Designed by REX, the performing arts center was unveiled in September 2016. Technically, the agreement calls for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the WTC site, to enter into a 99-year lease with World Trade Center Performing Arts Center, Inc. at $1 per year for the new facility. Furthermore, the WTC PAC will pay $48 million to cover the costs of below-grade construction that the Port Authority is carrying out now and expected to complete by the end of the year. When unveiled, the project was aiming for a 2020 opening; this news makes that date a tight, but still realistic target.

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