Proposed 1 Vanderbilt design to “unbury” Grand Central views

Community board greets glass façade, champagne-colored striping with mixed reviews

TRD New York /
July 07, 2014 12:30 PM

Design plans for SL Green’s 67-story glass tower across from Grand Central went before Community Board 5’s landmarks committee last week, where the proposed transparent façade set back at an angle on 42nd Street met with mixed reviews.

The plan calls for a 1,300-square-foot tower made of mostly low-iron super clear glass similar to the material used to craft the Fifth Avenue Apple cube, James von Klemperer, principal at architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, told DNAinfo.

“Early on, our objective was to replace these [existing buildings] with a clear view of the corner of the terminal, which does not exist today,” he told the news site. “Grand Central Terminal is a beautiful building and, the more we can see it, the more exciting it is. It’s unburying something.”

The tower would be broken up by diagonal, champagne-colored stripes to tie in with the color scheme of The Train Station Across The Street, he added. Other design features include an amenity space and terrace on that would overlook Grand Central on the building’s third floor, a 6,000-square-foot public room on the ground floor and an entry/exit point for the planned East Side Access terminal that would be incorporated into the public space. While a pedestrian plaza has been proposed, it was not included in the preliminary designs, an attorney representing SL Green told Community Board 5.

While some committee members were on board, agreeing that the proposed design of the building would improve the area, others called the plan “too busy” and expressed concern that the skyscraper would pull attention away from the rest of the neighborhood.

“This is a textbook example of unharmonious,” committee member Renee Cafaro told DNAinfo. “To say that some terra-cotta stripes make it comparable to the contextual architecture of Grand Central Terminal is a slap in the face.”

The de Blasio administration proposed a five-block rezoning around the Grand Central Terminal area at the end of May that would allow for the construction of SL Green’s planned tower. The move would resuscitate his predecessor Michael Bloomberg’s unsuccessful push to rezone a chunk of Midtown East to make way for larger office buildings. [DNAinfo]Julie Strickland

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