NYC skyscraper wears its structure outside to free up space inside

It has been a remarkably busy period for Foster + Partners. Following the completion of its Varso Tower and 50 Hudson Yards, the high-profile firm has now completed its third recent skyscraper. Rising to a height of 206.45 m (677 ft) in New York City, 425 Park Avenue is defined by an eye-catching exterior that hosts structural bracing on the outside, freeing up some space within for flexible offices.

The building was created in collaboration with L&L Holding and, like Foster + Partners’ 50 Hudson Yards, takes up an entire city block. Indeed, it’s the first full-block skyscraper to be completed in New York City’s Park Avenue area for over 50 years.

The skyscraper has a stepped form arranged into three main sections which taper as they rise, culminating in three “blades” that create a distinctive silhouette on the city skyline. Between each of the three sections of the tower are double-height amenity spaces and elsewhere on the lower levels are a restaurant, triple-height lobby, and retail space.

Structurally, it’s unusual and places the concrete core on the rear of the building, while its glazed exterior hosts steel bracing that helps free up space inside, says the firm. The effect is a little like Zaha Hadid’s Morpheus Hotel, though not as extreme.

425 Park Avenue features multiple exterior terraces that provide flexible meeting and work spaces
425 Park Avenue features multiple exterior terraces that provide flexible meeting and work spaces

Alan Schindler

“It has been a great privilege to design a new building that stands alongside some of the city’s most remarkable landmarks,” said Nigel Dancey, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners. “The tower makes a major contribution to the public realm at ground level, with its lobby, world-class restaurant and showroom space. By offsetting the core and bracing the structure, the tower also offers flexible, open floorplates on the upper levels, which anticipate the changing requirements of contemporary workspaces to futureproof the building.”

While we always caution against considering such large concrete and steel buildings environmentally friendly, 425 Park Avenue has received the LEED Gold green building standard for its sustainability features. These include a focus on maximizing natural light and fresh air inside, reducing electric lighting and air-conditioning requirement.

The skyscraper was initially revealed back in 2012 and began construction in 2015. It was then finally officially completed in October.

Source: Foster + Partners

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