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Thread: New York Times Tower - 620 Eighth Avenue @ W. 41st Street - by Renzo Piano

  1. #2941
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Nairobi Hilton

    Thumbs up

    Those birch trees look fantastic!

  2. #2942


    A fellow visitor and I got chatting about how those birch trees are fully mature and will get plenty of sunlight, thanks to the generuously-sized courtyard, whereas they could have easily skimped on this part and given us some half-assed, FAR-increasing cloister. Kudos to the NYT and Ratner.

  3. #2943


    I visited the Times building yesterday at a lecture in the Times centre. I have to say Im extremely impressed with the building. It looked great lit up, the rods looked beautifully transparent and the lobby is delightful, I love those trees this building has more than a touch of class.

  4. #2944


    What did you think of the street front/entrance on 8th? Does it look monumental enough (even for a Russian Czar)? Is it an issue? Do those punched metal girders (seen in photos above) look good? Are they a big enough statement?

    Let's hear more.

  5. #2945


    Somebody... pleeeeease agree with me. Ablarc? Anyone? I don't get the enclosure seen above with the birches and the mounds. Like a terrarium or something ...or the set for "In To The Woods". It doesn't look kitshy and lame to anyone? Sort of... so what? The vacation-home wood floors. It all looks way too comfy. The colors are so Nordic. The Ford Foundation had trees to... but it was...different.

    One thing about the great International Style buildings was the monumentality, the top-notch luxurious materials.

  6. #2946
    Forum Veteran MidtownGuy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    East Midtown


    I didn't want to say anything for fear of reprisal but about the birch enclosure...I AGREE...I'm totally underwhelmed. Is it the photos, not doing it justice? It just looks kind of small and dinky, a nice thought but not grand. I think you found the perfect word, 'terrarium". I imagined a majestic grove of birches, this is more like a little clump. Too precious.

  7. #2947


    I don't see what the big deal is with the courtyard. Many buildings have this feature complete with plantings which tend not be kept up as the years progress, its a nice feature, but hardly groundbreaking. I'd say something like 75% of office buildings with large floorplates in the suburbs have the same feature.

  8. #2948

    Default 75% of the office buildings where?

    I didn't want to say the "S" word.

  9. #2949


    Another comparison:
    Rods on the building / paper making screen

  10. #2950
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Y'all know I'm a huge fan of the Times Tower. Yet so much about this building seems to be lost in translation when only viewed via photos. So I can only urge folks to go there in person and see it for yourself. Walk around and take a look.

    I was in the lobby again today -- the birch grove with the moss ground cover looks sublime. It's not meant to be a park or a place to hang out. It is a modest sized garden within the building and it's beautiful.

    The exterior at street level is strong but completely open. The structural steel is massive. The trim of stainless steel with the cut outs is precise and solid -- sturdy yet open. There's that word again: open. It is the key word when describing the building that I have seen. I daresay it's one of the few large office buildings in NYC (or any other city these days, for that matter) where a person can open the door and walk in and take a look around without even one security person approaching and asking what your business might be (not to say that there aren't cameras watching your every move).

    btw: when they open the new subway stair at the NE corner of Eighth / 40th is opened, coming up those stairs and seeing the Times Tower soaring above will be a huge thrill -- and a "must see" when friends & family come to visit in NYC.


  11. #2951


    I agree completely. Photos don't do the building justice. I've never seen a building that is so different in person.

    I think the building is fairly fantastic but the crown fails when seen from a distance. When you see the crown from the immediate neighborhood the desired "disappearing" effect is realized. When see from a far its just spikes. Pity in an other wonderful building inside and out.

  12. #2952
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Brooklyn, NY

    Thumbs up

    For those who do not like the building walk through the lobby, its a real treat! The transparency theme really comes out at street level. And when you go outside make sure you look up at this.....

    Its an incredible experience to look up at this view of the tower. The pics no way do justice to the actual experience of looking at all that structural detail . Almost surreal, as if you were inside a giant machine.

  13. #2953


    I feel better now.

  14. #2954


    ^ LOL. To console you a bit more, I can see why you'd think it feels a bit kitschy; the size of the courtyard does make it seem more like a novelty piece than a true area of relief from the building. But that's why I like it.

    Its small size, combined with all that wonderfully clear glass surrounding it, works together to blur the relation between the indoors and outdoors in a way I've not experienced before. You get the impression that it could be an indoor atrium, or possibly even a continuous part of the lobby, but not really a true open-air courtyard, not really a void... more like a toy jewel box shoved into the center of the complex.

    At the same time, you're highly aware of the fact that corridors line it on all sides. Again, that glass allows for such transparency that you see any and all activity going on all over the building. So while you're observing the garden, you're also observing all the other people doing whatever they may be doing, while also being observed yourself.

    See-and-be-seen.. the socialites will love it!

    And I agree with Lofter's, JM's et al. assertions that it looks better in person. It may not look grand in the photos, but when you're standing in that big, airy space with rich orange walls on one side and acres of glass and birch trees on the other, it does have a (uniquely) sumptuous feel to it.
    Last edited by kz1000ps; November 29th, 2007 at 01:02 PM.

  15. #2955
    The Dude Abides
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    NYC - Financial District


    I haven't been inside the building yet, but I walked by it recently.

    I can't speak to the effect of the garden/atrium, but there's one word I would use to describe the materials in the lobby: museum-ly. The wood floors and the warm, autumnal colors give off the appearance of a gallery. In many ways, I think it resembles Piano's expansion of the Morgan Library.

    It may not be in the traditional, "monumental" sense of the International Style, but it doesn't have to be. It's different in a way - "quietly classy" is how I'd call it. It's not a space you'd want to make a lot of noise in, or touch the walls with your greasy fingers. It doesn't command respect; rather, it expects it. Sort of fitting for an institution of the Times' caliber.

    Just my two cents.

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