Rank #4 (Tied)
Cost: $500 million
The Hearst Corp. should know a good story. The company built
from William Randolph Hearst's media empire today consists
of 12 daily newspapers and the nation's largest stable of
monthly magazines with titles such as Cosmopolitan and O.
Now the entire company, along with other units like comic
strip distributor King Feature Syndicates and its cable television
networks such as A&E, plans to bring 1,800 employees spread
across nine buildings to the 42-story steel and glass tower
rising at 959 Eighth Ave. near 57th Street in Manhattan.
It's not only a corporate consolidation. It's also a homecoming,
since the 856,000 sq.-ft. tower, upon its completion in 2006,
will preserve the six-story façade of the landmark
Hearst-built headquarters designed in 1927.
The tower's story also entails a complex design with a geodesic-like
shape sporting triangular steel bracing from the 10th floor
up, as well as unique structural challenges, regulatory hurdles
and a bid for "green" status. The cast includes
the Hearst Corp. as developer, design architect Foster and
Partners, Turner Construction as construction manager, Tishman
Speyer as development manager, Cantor Seinuk Group as structural
engineer and Flack + Kurtz as mechanical engineer.
Building the new tower atop the old structure is no small
feat. The building is a historic site, which meant landmarks
commission approval for the work as well as the requirement
to preserve the façade. The site's positioning above
the subway at Columbus Circle also spurred the development
team to proffer improvements to the station area in exchange
for adding six stories to the eventual final structure.
Among the most compelling aspects of the design are how its
perimeter and corner views will be free of vertical columns.
The steel framework forming a diagonal grid will be visible,
showing the four-story-tall, grade-65 steel triangles prefabricated
by the Cives Steel Co. of Roswell, Ga.
The complex exoskeleton required extensive coordination between
design and structural teams to create panoramic views at the
corners using the triangular bracing concept. The triangle
braces are efficient for both gravity and lateral loads, requiring
21 percent less steel tonnage than a conventional building
of its size.
The design also allows for 22,000-sq.-ft floor plates, further
accenting the open space theme.
While the grid section begins at the 10th floor, much is
going on below as well. The structure rests on megacolumns
stretching to the foundation that allow for large open sections
housing the lobby, a cafeteria, meeting rooms and other public
The makeover in the end will keep none of the structural
elements of the old building, except for the framing at the
perimeter to preserve the façade. But even that involves
an upgrade for wind and seismic reinforcement and considerable
steel work to link the megacolumns on lower floors to the
grid system above.
The project team also aims to attain LEED certification from
the U.S. Green Building Council. Among the "green"
features are the steel frame's efficiency and energy-efficient
systems throughout the building.
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