New York skyscraper places cores at the rear to maximise street frontage
Norman Foster has described his practice’s newly-completed 425 Park Avenue tower in New York as “pushing the boundaries of workplace design”.
The structure, which is located near to Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building and SOM’s Lever House, is the first full-block office building to be constructed on Park Avenue in more than 50 years.
Foster & Partners won an international design competition run by L&L Holding for the building in 2012. L&L Holding developed 425 Park Avenue in conjunction with Tokyu Land Corporation and BentallGreenOak.
The tower features 62,250sq m of office space, 1,700sq m of retail space, and roof terraces on its 12th and 26th floors.
It is divided into three distinct volumes: a seven-storey base, knitted into the urban grain at street level; a recessed central section; and a slender formation of premium floors at the top.
Fosters said the design was established through a process of detailed analysis, involving modelling views of Central Park from the site and finding the “ideal distribution” of areas to achieve a balanced composition.
To maximise the Park Avenue frontage, the core is placed to the rear, where glazed elevator lobbies offer long views towards the East River.
Three sheer walls extend from the top of the tower, serving as a marker on the skyline.
The building’s second setback features the Diagrid Club, which is open to tenants and has an installation by Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama.
Foster said the tower was respectful to the International Style buildings nearby at the same time as being forward-looking.
“425 Park Avenue celebrates its historic context and the restrained elegance of its landmark neighbours, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of workplace design and reflecting the contemporary spirit of the city,” he said.
“The building’s architectural form and structural expression are inextricably linked, providing it with a distinctive identity. The floors with external terraces are the first of their kind on Park Avenue, creating a permeable and healthy working environment.”
Alternative investment firm Citadel is the building’s anchor tenant. Investment-management companies Wafra Capital Partners and Maverick have also taken space, as have private-equity firms Hellman & Friedman and GTCR, and the healthcare-focused Medical Properties Trust.