Looking at 11 Times Square (R) under construction from the New York Times building.
NEW YORK—Eleven Times Square is on target to create a “heartstop” between 41st and 42nd Streets, says architect Dan Kaplan, senior partner at FXFowle. The building spans two distinct environments—from the glitz of 42nd Street to the executive grandeur of 41st Street.
Kaplan designed the 40-story building to be about space and light for tenants, a glassy tower that is “solar responsive,” he said. A concrete core inside the building allows for pillar-free corners and floor-to-ceiling windows. From the core there is a 45-foot open space to the windows. Seven unobstructed corner offices adorn each floor.
“The whole form is really unusual, it really celebrates corners,” Kaplan said. The tower will include over one million square feet of Class-A commercial office space and 55,000-square-feet of retail space on three levels. The joint owners, SPJ and Prudential, expect a LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The set-back design allows for six large terraces, adding usable outdoor space that will be planted out. The roof, free of mechanical equipment, has a wind wall and huge views.
A unique method of construction was used for the building, resulting in it being ahead of schedule throughout—a rarity in the construction industry. The concrete was put up before the steel, the opposite of usual practice.
Contractors Plaza Construction worked with unions to create extra safety measures for the new way of working. The method also saved the developer $20 million, according to Simon Wasserberger, a CB Ellis salesperson whose job it is to tenant the building. An anchor tenant is yet to be signed. “We have a lot of conversations but, you know, it’s rough out there,” Wasserberger said.
The concrete core idea was explored post-9/11 when safety became a paramount design concern. Now, Kaplan said, the concept has opened up one of the choices a developer/design team has.
“The concrete core is the superior way to do it,” he said. “My suspicion is that this will become a real option. I don’t know if it will become a new standard, but I think this will be seen in a lot of high rises.”
The forces on a tall building come from the side and the concrete core acts as a spine, a stiffening agent, Kaplan said. A diagonal lattice will be added to the exterior for extra strength.
Solar Responsiveness and the Cant
Eleven Times Square is bipolar in its solar features. The sunny south side is more reflective and has projecting solar shades—eliminating problems with glare and too much light. The north side cants out, giving it a more dramatic look as well as having more transparent glass.
“Exterior solar control devices have a lot of technical challenges and construction issues but will increasingly become a standard,” Kaplan said.
The cant also gives an extra 300 square feet for each subsequent higher floor. The base of the building squeezes in, allowing openness for pedestrians. Kaplan said the squeeze also helps create a “gateway” to Times Square with the nearby Westin Hotel.
“Urbanistically there is a very clear scale of 120-foot-high buildings in the area,” said Kaplan. Protecting the many historic low-rise theatres on Avenues 7 and 8 was important to the design team.
The tower is the most recent expansion of the 1980′s masterplan for the area. The Reuters building, 4 Times Square, the New York Times building all preceded 11 Times Square. Hudson Yards will be next, Kaplan said.
Tenant possession is expected in November this year.
By Charlotte Cuthbertson
Apr 22, 2009