Behind Levinson’s choice for a 425 Park-itect

October 18, 2012 12:30PM

The New York Observer today looks into the logistics behind selecting the winning firm, Norman Foster’s firm, Foster + Partners, for 425 Park Avenue. And, apparently, choosing a winning design for the 650,000-square-foot office tower was no ordinary contest.

“Things we knew early on about the Foster organization, it’s a very deep bench with a great deal of knowledge about office buildings,” David Levinson, chairman of L&L Holdings, told the Observer. “There is an emphasis on function, the techtonic aspect, but also an emphasis on form, how it fits into the Park Avenue context and makes an impact.”

Each design was its own: Foster’s was a series of three floating towers all connected with a central spine. Another finalist, Rem Koolhaas, proposed a twist-shaped building. Richard Rogers proposed a design for a building supported by an orange exoskeleton with park spaces. And Zaha Hadid’s building resembled a budded flower.

“That’s my next job, to find three more sites so I can build all these buildings,” Levinson told the Observer. Levinson said this is no joke — he wants to work with these architecture firms down the line.

As previously reported, construction won’t start until 2015, when the existing building’s land lease and office leases expire. And zoning regulations allow Levinson to keep the 18-to-1 floor ratio if 25 percent of the original building — the base — gets preserved. Levinson told the Observer he’s eager for the Midtown East rezoning, which could allow for him to make a better building base. [NYO]