New York State of Mind

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would disagree that New York is one of the best cities for architecture. Just look at some of the impressive buildings—from the classic art deco designs of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building to the modern aesthetics of the Hearst Tower’s diagrid façade and the shimmering beauty of 1 World Trade Center (WTC), these structures leave even non-architectural people oohing and aahing. So for those of us who live our lives immersed by glassy architecture, who wouldn’t welcome the opportunity to take in “The City” and all its architectural glory?

A recent educational program on architectural glass was held on the 86th floor of 1 WTC, which offered this impressive view.

I was invited to take part in an afternoon of architectural educational sessions hosted by AGC-Interpane in mid-October. The event took place on the 86th floor of 1 WTC—and I have to say, if you’ve never seen that view, it’s absolutely stunning. But of course, we weren’t there for the view. The company had organized a number of sessions for New York-area architects that focused on some of the current topics architects are facing every day. These included issues such as anisotropy, jumbo-sized glass, glazing failures, curved glass and many others.

Aside from the informative sessions, the location itself was also unique. It took place in what’s called the TWA Showroom—as in the no-longer-in-operation Trans World Airlines (sidebar, the first time I flew was on TWA in 1990). When I was approaching the showroom I wasn’t sure I was in the right place, because it was set to resemble an airline terminal. Turned out, the “showroom” was just that: a showroom for what will become the new TWA Hotel at JFK Airport, which is being built in the old TWA terminal.

Pre-construction is underway on what will become the TWA Hotel at JFK Airport.

MCR, the developer and lead investor, is one of the largest hotel owners in the United States, having acquired and developed 91 hotels in 23 states. The redevelopment plan is a public-private partnership between MCR Development and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Turner Construction is the general contractor and Beyer Blinder Belle and Lubrano Ciavarra are the architects. AGC-Interpane will be supplying triple-glazed, triple-laminated glass for the project, as well.

As for other New York projects, the company has several in the works and the day following the sessions a few of us were treated to a walking tour for a closer look at some of these projects. One of these currently under construction is 53W53, located beside the Museum of Modern Art. Enclos is the glazing contract on this project, which features glazing units up to 7- by 28-feet-6- inches. Another tower, also with Enclos, is the 220 Central Park tower which, once complete, will soar 950 feet tall. The tower has been called one of the most expensive residences in the city.

220 Central Park

New York is a city of great architecture—which makes it an ideal location for the AIA to host its 2018 National Convention. I know that I will be there, and hopefully can check out even more of the city’s amazing architecture.