REX recently unveiled their scheme for redesigning the historic Davis Brody building on 450 West 33rd St in New York. The $200 million project consists of repositioning, re-cladding and interior renovation -- making it yet another addition to major redevelopments to NYC's evolving neighborhoods and when adaptive reuse continues to be on the rise. Construction is expected to be complete in 2016.
Check out some project details the architects sent us:
"Designed by architecture firm Davis Brody (now Davis Brody Bond) and completed in 1969, 450 West 33rd Street (450W33) is an exemplar of late Brutalist architecture. The edifice’s structure is effectively a steel bridge spanning the Penn Station rail lines leading to Hudson Yards, supporting a cast-in-place concrete column-and-slab frame. The building’s enclosure was originally composed of precast concrete fill-in panels with integrated windows."
"During the 1980s, the building’s hard beauty was neutered when its external structural elements were painted beige and its fill-in wall panels clad in brown-colored metal siding. Over the years since, 450W33 has become a bizarre artifact marooned in the no-man’s land of West Chelsea, unflatteringly nicknamed “The Tyrell Building” after the headquarters in the dystopian film Blade Runner.
With Brookfield Office Properties’ development of Manhattan West (500,000 m2 / 5,380,000 sf) immediately to its east, and The Related Companies / Oxford Properties’ development of Hudson Yards (1,180,000 m2 / 12,700,000 sf) immediately to its west, 450W33 has suddenly taken on serious import within Manhattan’s evolution."
"The building’s massive floor plates (ranging from 8,000 m2 to 11,500 m2 / 86,000 sf to 124,000 sf) and unusually high ceilings (typically 5 m / 16.5 ft) provide a huge amount of uniquely dimensioned, free plan “support space” for Manhattan West’s and Hudson Yards’ significant injection of traditional Class A offices.
To advantageously reposition the building within this new context, its exterior required both an aesthetic facelift and an improvement to its energy performance. In addition, the building’s lobby, elevator cores, and building services needed to be significantly upgraded to meet the demands of its new breed of tenants."
REPOSITIONED 450 W 33rd STREET
"In considering how to re-clad the building—simultaneously improving its aesthetics and performance—its geometry posed two fundamental design challenges. First, its shape was, bluntly, unflattering. Second, the majority of its perimeter walls were sloped at an angle of 20 degrees, a pivotal burden in the building’s reconceptualization. 450W33 was erected under the 1968 Building Code of the City of New York."
"Replacing the façades in 2014 required meeting all building code amendments up to July 1, 2008, including the 2.1 m / 7 ft minimum height for accessible paths of travel (avoiding head strike conditions) necessitated at the building’s perimeter. This would thereby render a significant portion of the building un-leasable!
The obvious response to overcome this code burden would be to create a ziggurat—or step-shaped façade—whereby each floor’s windows become vertical and all leasable area is maintained. However, this approach would create an unacceptable snow, ice, and guano hazard."
"A suitable variation of this approach is to pleat the façade above head strike: views to the exterior are unimpeded, leasable area is maintained, and all hazards are avoided. Further, this pleated geometry improves both energy performance and visual comfort as compared to that of a planar façade applied to the same underlying sloped building geometry."
"The over-slung panes of glass are partially opacified, reducing direct solar gain from high angle sun. The under-slung panes in turn receive much lower solar heat gain, since they present an oblique angle to the sun and are “self-shaded” from the over-slung panes. Cooling loads and glare are reduced with the decrease in direct sun..."
"From the user’s experience, the 'Fresnel' geometry allows for remarkable transparency that opens up the massive floor plates renders the building highly transparent from street level, and breaks down its overall mass."
"The façade’s unique geometry demands a strategic design for the window washing system. The employed solution features a conventional track, torpedo, and gondola system adapted to move freely over the undulating curves of the façade, to transition easily from vertical to pleated façade, and to glide across stack joint conditions without jamming or inflicting damage.
The mullions—designed to incorporate the curved track of the window washing system as a separate extrusion—maintain allowances for thermal expansion and fabrication/installation tolerances commonly associated with unitized curtain wall. The system was verified and perfected through full-scale testing of the track, torpedo, and gondola."
"At the core of the building’s repositioning is the owner’s commitment to adaptively reusing a large-scale, urban building. 450W33 is to become so wholly integrated into Brookfield’s premiere development that it will be renamed Five Manhattan West. As such, it stands to prove the plausibility of creating contemporary, competitive, LEED™ Certified office stock from structures that might normally be considered for demolition."
Project data and credits:
FIVE MANHATTAN WEST
450 W 33rd Street
New York, New York
CLIENT Brookfield Office Properties
PROGRAM Repositioning, re-cladding, and interior renovation of a 140,000 m2 (1,500,000 sf) Manhattan Brutalist landmark
ENCLOSURE AREA 29,800 m² (321,000 sf)
BUDGET $200 million
STATUS Commenced 2011; completed Construction Documents 2014; construction commenced 2014; completion expected 2016
DESIGN ARCHITECT REX
PERSONNEL Cheryl Baxter, Qianqian Cai, Adam Chizmar, Rachel Dao, Danny Duong, Luis Gil, Alysen Hiller, Gabriel Jewell-Vitale, Romea Muryń, Judith Mussel, Kurt Nieminen, Roberto Otero, Se Yoon Park, Justin Piercy, Joshua Prince-Ramus, Ishtiaq Rafiuddin, Lena Reeh Rasmussen, Minyoung Song, Elina Spruza, Yuan Tiauriman, João Vieira Costa, Matthew Uselman, Cristina Webb, Matthew Zych
EXECUTIVE ARCHITECT Adamson
CONSULTANTS Atelier Ten, Cerami, Cosentini, Edgett Williams, Entek, Front, James Corner Field Operations, Pentagram, Permasteelisa, Philip Habib, SOM, Tillotson Design, William Vitacco.
All images courtesy of REX.
Click the thumbnails below for diagrams and details.