Looking Up in Manhattan 2: New York Times Tower
Our second stop on the new skyscraper tour took us just a few blocks west on 42nd Street, where the New York Times' shiny new home rises from the otherwise-vacant parcel immediately across from the Port Authority Bus Station on Eighth Avenue.
The soon-to-be new headquarters for the venerable broadsheet is actually sited at 41st Street and 8th Avenue, but given its height and sheer mass, it is clearly visible from much of Midtown and the West Side. The 52-story late-modernist monster by architect Renzo Piano (Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris; Kansai Airport, Osaka) is currently the third-tallest building in New York. Its (strictly ornamental) spire, completed last July, reaches 1,043.9 feet - versus the Chrysler Building's 1,044.3 feet.
Note: upon further research, there's some disagreement among various online sources, with some listing the building's overall height as 1,142 feet. This is pretty significant among the skyscraper-geek set, as it determines whether Times Tower ranks as NYC's 2nd- or 3rd-tallest building, at least until 1 Bryant Park tops out, later this year. We're on the case, so stay tuned for clarification on this.
UPDATE 3/10/07: NY Times Building architects weigh in
Height issues aside, the new Times HQ is both interesting - it uses a unique curtain wall of ceramic tubes to optimize energy efficiency; and somewhat dubious: most observers haven't decided whether its beautiful and elegant, or just plain ugly. Many of the early renderings suggested the building's curtain walls would cause beautiful daylight and twilight reflections, but so far the jury is out. Additionally, the building is slated to have some exterior lighting, and that could very well make the Grey Lady's new digs shine in the nighttime skyline.
Times Tower Flickr Photoset [imjustsayin]
Great set of renders and background [nyc-architecture.com]
Wired New York's NY Times Tower Forum 2001-Present [Wired NY]
Awesome police-style lineup of NYC skyscrapers - existing, proposed and under construction [skyscraperpage.com]