Following a high-profile international competition lasting for six months, the practice was appointed to design the first full-block office building on Park Avenue for 50 years. The new tower at 425 Park Avenue, which will stand alongside Modernist icons by Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen and Philip Johnson, is conceived as a flexible, enduring new addition to one of New York City’s most celebrated streets.
The tower’s form is a pure expression of its function. The building is divided vertically into three distinct volumes: a seven-storey base, knitted to the urban grain at street level; a recessed central section; and a slender formation of premium floors at the top. These proportions were 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. The first set back – a characteristic feature of high-rise design in New York – corresponds with the datum of the street. The second set back develops this theme, physically and symbolically setting the upper levels apart from the rest of the city’s office towers. To maximise the Park Avenue frontage, the core is placed to the rear, where glazed elevator cores bring life to the eastern elevation and reveal long views towards the East River. Clearly expressing the structure, the tapered steel and concrete framed tower rises to meet three shear walls – extending from the top of the tower, these three blades will provide an elegant marker on the skyline. The structural expression of the building not only gives it a unique identity, but also allows for truly flexible, column-free floorplates that can accommodate a wide range of tenants.
Between each of the three volumes, the office floors are intersected by dramatic double-height spaces that create the prized amenity of open space in the heart of Manhattan. The second setback features an amenity floor, which will provide dining and meeting spaces as well as relaxation and mediation rooms, all with spectacular views across Midtown and Central Park. This floor will offer a magnificent setting for gala events, acting as an urban square in a vertical city that is bounded by diagonal columns, exposing the structure to emphasise the vast scale of the enclosure. The social focus of the tower continues at street level, where the building entrance is highlighted by a dramatic triple-height lobby flanked by award-winning chef Daniel Humm’s new flagship restaurant.