The Hearst Tower

New York City
Foster And Partners

For its Manhattan debut, Foster and Partners creates the new Hearst Tower with a glass-and-steel shaft hovering atop a vintage low-rise.

By Sarah Amelar

Photo © Chuck Choi

New York City’s Hearst building is a bit of a jack-in-the-box without the Jack. Springing from an ornate 1920s base, the structure’s stainless-steel-clad diagrid rises like a great scissor lift, but then, defying expectation, the shaft stops short, without a culminating form topping its 46 stories. A faceted glass-and-steel tower erupting from a six-story, cast-limestone base—adorned with grandiose allegorical sculptures and monumental urn-crowned columns—the building simultaneously defies, realizes, and (surely in its sustainable character) exceeds the aspirations behind the creation of its lowest floors 78 years ago.

In 1928, when those first six stories went up, media magnate William Randolph Hearst envisioned them as the base for a future tower and the beginning of a real estate empire he imagined dominating Columbus Circle, just to the north. Though the Great Depression thwarted this grand scheme, architect Joseph Urban’s six-story, 40,000-square-foot building served as the Hearst Corporation’s magazine headquarters for the next seven-and-half decades. Extending from 56th to 57th Streets along Eighth Avenue, the topless U-shaped base, theatrically eclectic in its Art Deco style, remained an oddly truncated monument in a city of skyscrapers.

By 2001, when the corporation commissioned Foster and Partners to realize a tower here, the original exterior was already landmark-protected, and there to stay. Since completion of the base, naturally, some of the company’s ambitions had shifted, while others remained virtually unchanged. A prime goal was still to bring Hearst’s New York–based magazines under a single roof, but the 12 titles of 1928 had grown to 16. While providing a 20,000-square-foot floor for each magazine (with a few larger or smaller exceptions), the new building would need to house test kitchens, a lab, a fitness center, and a full TV station, bringing the gross total area to 856,000 square feet.

And over the course of the project, the client would become interested in minimizing as well as maximizing its building’s impact on the city—creating an iconic yet environmentally responsive tower or, as touted on Hearst’s Web site, “not just a better skyline, but a better sky. The firm’s radical “way in” ultimately involved gutting the base and restoring its exterior, while opening up the interior via removal of the existing floor plates. The architects argued that the original floor-to-ceiling height of 11.5 feet would be inadequate by today’s state-of-the-art office standards—and a more straightforward rehab would relegate “celebratory” communal spaces to the tower, rather than connect them with the street. The team envisioned turning the hollowed-out volume into an interior “town square,” with the tower “hovering” above it.

the People

Owner
The Hearst Corporation

Architect
Foster And Partners
Riverside Three
22 Hester Road
Battersea
London SW11 4AN
tel: +1 20 7943 6000
fax: +1 20 7738 1107/08
www.fosterandpartners.com

Norman Foster, Brandon Haw, Mike Jelliffe, Michael Wurzel, Peter Han, David Nelson, Gerard Evenden, Bob Atwal, John Ball, Nick Baker, Una Barac, Morgan Flemming, Michaela Koster, Chris Lepine, Martina Meluzzi, Julius Streifeneder, Gonzalo Surroca

Fit-out: Norman Foster, Brandon Haw, Mike Jelliffe, Chris West, John Small, Ingrid Solken, Michael Wurzel, Peter Han

Associate Architect
Adamson Associates

Development Manager:
Tishman Speyer Propertieswww.tishmanspeyer.com

Engineer(s)
Structure:
Cantor Seinuk Groupwww.cantorseinuk.com

MEP:
Flack & Kurtz www.flackandkurtz.com

Vertical Transportation:
VDA www.vda.de

Lighting:
George Sexton www.georgesexton.com

Food Service:
Ira Beer

Interior (Designer) Architect:
Foster And Partners

Associate Interior Architect:
Gensler

Construction Managers:
Turner Constructionwww.turnerconstruction.com

Consultant(s)
Icefall (water feature):
James Carpenter www.jcdainc.com, Foster and Partnerswww.fosterandpartners.com, Fluidity Design Consultants

Lighting Design Consultant:
Kugler Associates
www.kuglerassociates.com

Photographer(s)
Chuck Choi; Frederick Charles

CAD system, project management, or other software used
Microstation www.bentley.com

the Products

Structural system
Cives www.cives.com

Exterior cladding
Permasteelisa www.permasteelisa.com

Metal/glass curtain wall:
Avesta ( stainless steel cladding)

Glazing
Glass:
Guardian, Luxguard

Skylights:
Guardian, Luxguard www.guardian.com

Doors
Metal doors:
Long Island Fire doors

Wood doors:
Hird Blaker www.hirdblaker.com

Special doors:
IAC www.industrialacoustics.com

Hardware
Locksets:
Schlage www.schlage.com

Exit devices:
Van Duprin www.vonduprin.com

Cabinet hardware:
Dorma www.dorma.com; Salicewww.saliceamerica.com

Interior finishes
Acoustical ceilings:
USG, www.usg.com; Decousticsdecoustics.com

Demountable partitions:
IOC, LEMA www.lemamobili.com

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork:
Hird Blaker www.hirdblaker.com

Wall coverings:
Maharam www.maharam.com; Carnegiewww.carnegiefabrics.com

Carpet:
Interface www.interfaceinc.com

Furnishings
Office furniture:
Steelcase www.steelcase.com

Chairs:
Steelcase www.steelcase.com

Upholstery:
Vitra www.vitra.com; Walter Knollwww.walterknoll.com

Other furniture:
Techno www.tecno.com.au

Lighting
Interior ambient lighting:
Zumtobel www.zumtobel.com

Downlights:
Edison Price Lighting www.epl.com

Exterior:
B-Light, WE-EF www.we-ef.com

Controls:
Lutron www.lutron.com

Conveyance
Elevators/Escalators:
Schindler www.schindler.com

Plumbing
Sinks:
Kohler www.kohler.com

Toilets:
Kohler www.kohler.com

Faucets:
Vola

Kitchen Appliances
Refrigerator:
Subzero www.subzero.com

Dishwasher:
Miele www.miele.com

Stove/Oven:
Amana www.amana.com

http://archrecord.construction.com/projects/portfolio/archives/0608hearst.asp

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