Garden at 550 Madison

Cultivating “a certain warmth” inside 550 Madison, one of Manhattan’s quirkiest towers


However that was then. “The constructing had many parts modified over time,” says Craig Dykers, founding accomplice of the Norwegian-American agency’s New York workplace. Snøhetta. “It form of took away from the unique idea.”

The distinctive 550 Madison Chippendale high. IMAGE BY ALEX FRADKIN.

After the renaming, varied company tenants, intensive inside renovations, and transformation of the street-level portico and rear-facing arcade, the outdated AT&T pale into the historical past books. . Now, following its acquisition by growth firm Olayan Group in 2016, the constructing is as soon as once more within the operating for city transformation, with Snøhetta redeveloping the constructing’s entrance and public areas with the intention of reinventing Johnson’s tower to the 21st century.

Extra Metropolis

The corporate doesn’t reinvent the collectively tower. After the takeover of Olayan, Snøhetta unveiled a initial design– enveloping the whole decrease trunk of the tower in a glass sheath – which had the alternative impact of the Time cowl. The thought met with groans from curators and design fanatics, prompting the crew to rethink their idea and focus as an alternative on making the constructing work higher for its customers, with out making it radically completely different from the ‘exterior.

“We needed to create a spot that might not solely be extra environment friendly, however the place the employees can be snug, that had a sure heat,” explains Erik Horvat, basic supervisor of Olayan. As a substitute of counting on a single business occupant, the event crew sought to remodel 550 Madison right into a coworking-style multi-employer workplace advanced, doubling its capability from 1,000 to 2,000 whereas including facilities that no Sony government might have imagined. Particularly since COVID, Horvat factors out, “you need to have an setting that makes individuals need to come to work.” Creating this setting has grow to be job primary for Snøhetta.

New indoor spaces at 550 Koenig.
New inside areas at 550 Madison embody assembly rooms, eating places and a personal lounge. IMAGE BY NIKOLAS KOENIG
Building foyer
Renovated lobby at 550 Madison. PICTURE OF FRED CHARLES

Alongside staff people and Rockwell Group, which helped form the smooth new interiors, the Dykers crew got here up with a revised plan with a dramatic entrance on the bottom ground and a formidable grouping of assembly rooms, eating places and personal lounges on the second ground: a type of clubhouse for building staff, full with pool desk and hearth. There are new home windows on the west facade and a newly reduce opening on the rear of the corridor, however the true focus of Snøhetta’s efforts is just not within the constructing, however behind it, within the north-south hall connecting 55e and 56e Streets.

“It is a POPS,” says Michelle Delk, Panorama Self-discipline Supervisor at Snøhetta. A typical function in Midtown, publicly owned non-public areas are mini-parks constructed and operated by constructing administration in alternate for a tax profit. Some POPs are, to say the least, higher than others – and Johnson’s was one of many latter: a dreary company alley, lined with underutilized outlets on one aspect and normally vacant chairs on the opposite. Due to Delk and his crew, the brand new area was reworked, turning into an integral a part of the 550’s new office-plus identification. “The thought was to actually lighten it up, to make it extra inviting,” says Delk.

Looking south to the renovated garden.
550 Madison Backyard wanting south. PICTURE BY BARRET DOHERTY

Beneath a brand new glass cover, supported by elegant crisp white bifurcated pillars, the reconfigured gallery transforms the darkish no-place into an indoor-outdoor landscaped backyard, full with native plantings, water options, quite a few seats and even a “steam pit,” a round rock-covered dais that emits heated steam within the winter and makes the area an actual attraction all 12 months spherical. “We needed there to be all these moments of discovery,” says Welk. Guests can linger over the main points, from the poetic inscriptions within the cobblestones to the refined flecks of pink within the stone trim, echoing the pink travertine of Johnson’s Tower. The area is all the time a a curiously incongruous city phenomenon, hovering uncomfortably between genuine civic amenity and a company playground, nevertheless it does a lot extra with far much less area than virtually every other POP. ginally extra radical, Snøhetta has managed to do one thing much more vital than refreshing a historic constructing, offering a promising mannequin for bringing the general public again into POPS.

View of the fireplace from the garden.
Backyard hearth, from above. PICTURE BY BARRET DOHERTY
Garden window.
Window overlooking the backyard. PICTURE BY BARRET DOHERTY
#Cultivating #heat #Madison #Manhattans #quirkiest #towers

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