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Thread: Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

  1. #1

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    The view of the Westin New York at Times Square Hotel from Eighth Avenue on 26 January 2002.

    The view of the Westin New York at Times Square Hotel from the 420 W 42nd Street rental apartment building on 20 January 2002.

    The view of the Westin New York at Times Square Hotel from Pier 90 on 27 January 2002.

    The view of the the Westin New York at Times Square Hotel from the Worldwide Plaza condo on 27 January 2002.

  2. #2

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    I don't like the new Westin. *The orange glass is too different and clashes with the skyline, and it looks like they ran out of the right colored glass and had used to use different kinds for large streaks of the glass wall. *It does look great at night/dusk, though, fantastic picture.

  3. #3

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    I like the Westin. *It's nothing spectacular, but its use of color in the glass is somewhat original in NY and prevents sterility. *When I see the building I automatically think the streaks are moving. *Boy, I can't wait untill the NY Times building is underway.

  4. #4

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    Great pictures.
    That new building will have a real impact in the skyline. I like it.

  5. #5

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    What does the base of the tower currently look like from 42nd Street?

  6. #6

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    Does anyone else feel that the skyline in times Square is starting to resemble an asian city? Not that it is a totally bad thing, but you can see all these plasticy, shiny, bright coloured buildings popping up. I wish a firm would start to re-make the classic NYC skyscrapers it would add a nice sense of contrast to the city.

  7. #7

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    Yeah, I've noticed that too. *Times Square area is starting to look like a piece of Hong Kong, but as long as it stays in that confined area, I don't have a problem with it. *At least this city has some variety, unlike some asian cities.

  8. #8

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    The view on North East corner of Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street.

    The base of the Westin New York at Times Square Hotel.

  9. #9

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    The Westin will be a strong and wild presence in NYC. It is different, original and in the right place. However I think is a good thing to have this first Arquitectonica's work in NYC. More architects (important of course) the city have, more the architecture of the city is alive.

  10. #10

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    Wow, great pictures. *Thanks a lot.

  11. #11

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    NEW YORK TIMES. February 6, 2002

    Designed to Stand Out in a Crowd


    The builders and operators of the new Westin Hotel, which is scheduled to open this November at Eighth Avenue and 43rd Street in Manhattan, wanted to draw attention to the building. So they commissioned the Miami firm of Arquitectonica to design a building that would cry look at me even over the profusion of brightly lighted signs in Times Square.

    The firm responded with a design for a 45-story tower enclosed in multicolored glass and split top to bottom by a curving beam of light that appears to burst into the sky.

    The eye catching facade design presented difficult engineering problems for Tishman Realty and Construction, the developer and owner of the $300 million 860-room hotel. It will be operated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the real estate investment trust that owns the Westin, W and Sheraton brands.

    In most modern construction, the outer walls bear no weight and are simply attached to the steel or reinforced concrete structure of the building. These curtain walls are there to keep the heat and air-conditioning in and the weather out. They also establish the look of the building.

    Because of the curves on the north and south facades and the selection of multiple colors of glass, very few of the aluminum-encased glass panels are alike, complicating both the manufacture of the facade and its installation. "In a typical building you will have about 50 different types of panels," said David Horowitz, a Tishman vice president who is overseeing construction of the hotel. "Here we had 1,200 to 1,300 unique panel types."

    To handle the project, which is now nearing completion, Tishman assembled a multinational group of designers and fabricators to come up with a skin for the building that met the architect's design requirements and could still keep out the wind and the rain of the worst storm that would be likely in a century.

    Beginning in early 1998, Viracon, a glass manufacturer based in Owatonna, Minn., sent dozens of samples of glass to Arquitectonica, which selected 10 base colors: copper, gold, bronze, orange, white, silver, violet, green, blue and aqua. Viracon would ultimately produce 8,000 glass sheets in those colors, and in clear glass panels, for the 184,000-square-foot outer wall of the hotel. Then, as usual, the architects turned their conceptual designs over to an engineering company to figure out how to build the panels.

    The company selected was Permasteelisa Cladding Technologies, a company in Northern Italy with an assembly plant in Windsor, Conn. The outer frames of the panels were designed to hold a clear inner pane of glass and a colored outer one separated by five-eighths of an inch of air space for insulation.

    Once the design was completed and approved, the frames were formed by extrusion, in which aluminum alloy is driven through a die with great force to form the desired shape. Because of the complexity of the project, each piece of the facade, including the glass, was marked with a bar code to help workers with the assembly.

    Once formed, the frame pieces were sent to a painting specialist in the Netherlands to receive a highly durable coating of sliver or copper color, depending on its position in the facade. (The project was actually even more international than it appears, Mr. Horowitz said — the engineering team was mostly Croatian.)

    Once formed, painted and cut to length and machined, the parts were crated and shipped to the plant in Windsor where they were assembled into panels and the glass installed. Most of the panels are about 5 feet wide but the height ranges from 9 to 18 feet, depending on the floor where they are to be installed.

    Attaching the panels to the concrete structure of the building involved advanced planning. Before pouring each floor, crews embedded U-shaped metal channels that will be held in place by the hardened concrete. Metal anchor plates are bolted to the channels and then the panels are set onto clips attached to the anchor plates.

    Permasteelisa's crews began installing the facade in mid-May last year and reached the 45th floor by December. Installation of levels above the 45th floor is expected to take several months longer because of the difficult logistics of lifting the panels from the 45th floor to higher levels of the building.

    The elaborate facade is limited to the tower part of the project. The low-rise part of the hotel, which is above Tishman's existing E Walk entertainment, retail and restaurant complex on 42nd Street, will have metal facade panels that will present a smooth aluminum face to the exterior, interrupted by square windows.

    This lower part of the building runs from the 5th floor to the 17th floor of the main building along Eighth Avenue. It was originally designed to be operated by a separate company and to be aimed at leisure travelers and families, as distinct from the business travelers more typical of Westin's guests, but it is now fully integrated with the hotel. There will be internal access from the 200,000-square-foot E Walk complex to the hotel — officially the Westin New York at Times Square.

  12. #12

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    From New Yorker Magazine
    Is this the ugliest building in New York?
    Issue of 2002-10-07
    Posted 2002-09-30

    Guests at the new Westin hotel, which stretches between Forty-second Street and Forty-third Street on Eighth Avenue, will have a pretty good view of one of the most revered modern skyscrapers in New York, the bluish-green McGraw-Hill Building, half a block to the west. A short walk in the other direction will bring them to what is probably the most beloved skyscraper anywhere, the Chrysler Building. When the McGraw-Hill Building was finished, in 1932, it was dismissed by the architecture critic of this magazine, George S. Chappell, as "a stunt and not a particularly successful one." Chappell, who wrote as T-Square, said that the Chrysler Building had "no significance as serious design." Lewis Mumford called it "a series of restless mistakes . . . this inane romanticism, this meaningless voluptuousness."

    The Westin will probably be received in pretty much the same way, but I doubt that history will reverse the verdict. The building is not ahead of its time, like the McGraw-Hill Building, which is an early International Style tower. And it is certainly not the contemporary equivalent of a graceful exercise in Jazz Age syncopation, which is how people came to view the Chrysler Building. The forty-five-story Westin is the most garish tall building that has gone up in New York in as long as I can remember. It is fascinating, if only because it makes Times Square vulgar in a whole new way, extending up into the sky.

    It is not easy, these days, to go beyond the bounds of taste. If the architects, the Miami-based firm Arquitectonica, had been trying to allude to bad taste, one could perhaps respect what they came up with. But they simply wanted, like most architects today, to entertain us. This is less a building than a concept, and you can imagine its being pitched to the developer, Tishman Realty & Construction, the way producers pitch a television show to network executives: Audiences now don't want plain towers that go straight up, and they're not going to be satisfied with just a fancy top, so we've come up with a way to make the whole building into a vibrant, dynamic object. The developer bought this, and ended up with a skyscraper split down the middle by a big, swooping white line on its north and south sides. To the east of the swooping line, the building is sheathed in a vaguely copper-colored, pinkish glass, set in horizontal panels. The west side is covered in blue glass, set vertically. The notion, according to Bernardo Fort-Brescia, who, along with his wife and partner, Laurinda Spear, heads Arquitectonica, is that the east side of the tower is "earthbound, anchored to the ground"—hence the horizontal lines and the warm color—while the blue-toned, vertical-lined side, which is taller, is "skybound."

    Well, O.K. This is no more superficial than the reasoning that goes into plenty of other buildings today. And I have to admit that the Westin looked rather sexy in the renderings that were shown around in 1995, when Arquitectonica and the developer won a competition, sponsored by the government's 42nd Street Development Project, to build a major hotel in the "new" Times Square. But, just as Hollywood concepts have a way of evolving, the Westin that has gone up bears only a slight resemblance to the drawings. It is both shrill and banal, less a piece of architecture than a developer's box in drag. The Westin forces you, as no piece of architecture in this city has in a very long time, to come to terms with exactly what makes a building so strident that it enthralls in the way a gruesome accident does.

    The main problem isn't the shape, which, while self-conscious, isn't awful. In fact, from a couple of blocks south, on Eighth Avenue, where you can see the tower in full profile, the mass of the building is striking. No tower meets the sky quite like this one. The blue section swoops over the pink one as if it were slicing into open space. At night, the white line will be lit up on the Forty-second Street side of the building, and spotlights on the roof will pick up the motif and shoot a ray of light into the sky. But it makes no sense to design a single building to look as if it were two different, clashing buildings. The two parts aren't different structurally and they aren't doing different things inside. There is no logical reason to split a skyscraper vertically with a curving line, or to make one section play at hugging the ground and another section play at reaching to the sky. It's all pretense—not the kind of pretense that brings us fake Georgian or fake Renaissance but the pretense that the hoopla is somehow connected to a meaningful architectural idea. Everything Arquitectonica has done here is as superficially decorative as if the building had been sheathed in classical columns and pilasters. Fort-Brescia told me that the line just came to them. "Laurinda and I literally took a drawing and slashed a line across it," he said. "There is a rational side to our profession, but there is a lot that is intuitive."

    I could live with the zooping and swooping if it weren't for the way the shape of the building is covered. The glass must be the ugliest curtain wall in New York. Make that the two ugliest curtain walls in New York, since the pink section and the blue section are ugly in different ways. They are both unpleasant to look at—tawdry colors, gaudy finishes. As if that weren't enough, the architects have decorated each section with stripes in darker tones that they call "brushstrokes," but which do not succeed in making the building look even remotely like a painting. It's as if Fort-Brescia and Spear had no faith in the shape they made, and could not stop themselves from tarting it up.

    The tower marks the northwestern boundary of the Times Square redevelopment project, which includes four office towers around Times Square itself, as well as new movie houses, stores, and a few restored landmark theatres along Forty-second Street. The main entrance to the hotel is through a blessedly ordinary modern base of clear glass on Forty-third Street. Things are quite different on the south side of the Westin, however, the side that faces Forty-second Street, where the redevelopment project's planners insisted that the hotel have a big, boxy base to tie it into the so-called "entertainment zone"—the open-air suburban mall, in other words—that Forty-second Street was in the process of becoming. The base, which the architects refer to as the building's bustle, is a seventeen-story-high box that contains a thirteen-screen multiplex, stores, restaurants, and eight floors of hotel rooms. The bottom floors are covered in advertising signs, and you have never been more grateful for the excesses of capitalism. (As in most of the new Times Square, the best architecture isn't bricks and mortar but moving lights and electronic images.) On the upper floors of the bustle, the architects could not hide behind flashy signs, and their solution for a façade yielded one of the strangest attempts at decorating a box that you are ever likely to see: plain, double-hung windows set into yellow, orange, and copper-colored metal panels in large, geometric shapes at slightly tilted angles. The façade is eerily like a child's drawing, complete with crooked lines, little boxy windows, and strange colors. What it does not look like is a wing of a three-hundred-and-seventy-million-dollar commercial project in the center of New York City.

    I'm not saying that a building in Times Square ought to look like a building at Rockefeller Center. Fort-Brescia told me that he wanted to respond to the atmosphere of Times Square. "We wouldn't do this on Wall Street," he said. "But Times Square is the entertainment district of New York. The building is performing. It has to be somewhat histrionic." Fort-Brescia is enthusiastic and engaging, and it's obvious why he is able to sell his designs to business people who want a little more pizzazz. Arquitectonica has an unusual history. It was established in the nineteen-seventies—Fort-Brescia and Spear are both fifty-one—and it grew very large very early, thanks mainly to the fame of a single building, the Atlantis, a waterfront condominium on Biscayne Bay in Miami. The Atlantis is a twenty-story slab with a square, four-story hole cut out of the middle. The cutout, in which a single palm tree grows, became the most famous void in contemporary architecture. It showed up in the opening sequence of "Miami Vice," and it expressed perfectly the way Miami wanted to see itself: daring, brash, and glittery. Now the building has been there so long it is practically as much a part of Miami's history as the Fontainebleau, and it looks almost quaint. But when the Atlantis was built, Fort-Brescia and Spear were barely past thirty, and the combination of pragmatism and exuberance that marked their work was unusual. They suddenly found themselves among the small group of architects whom developers seek out because their names add to a building's value.

    The cachet of the celebrity architect is familiar today, when condominiums by Richard Meier in the West Village sell for more than many Park Avenue apartments, but it wasn't the norm in the late nineteen-seventies and early eighties. Arquitectonica helped to create the architectural culture of this moment, such as it is, which is no small accomplishment for a young firm. And Fort-Brescia and Spear have had a singular effect on Miami, where they more or less created an architectural vernacular that mixes Latin energy and sensuousness with classic modernism. But I wonder if they haven't been hurt by too much success too soon. Michael Graves designs housewares for Target, there are Charles Gwathmey dinner plates, and condos created by Robert A. M. Stern, but those architects earned their stripes in the realm of more ambitious architecture before they went so heavily commercial. Big-time commercial work almost invariably involves big-time compromises, and Arquitectonica has often appeared a bit too eager to play the game. For all the promise of its early work, the firm didn't build up a big enough roster of serious architecture to leaven its participation in the culture of architectural celebrity, and now the thinness shows.

    It's not easy to do architecture as entertainment. You see a building again and again and the jokes get old. That is not to say that architecture has to be stolid and dull to have staying power, but it does mean that it's harder to get away with being slick and superficial, even in a place like Times Square. The special qualities of Times Square as an urban space don't come from its architecture. The older buildings in the neighborhood, like the Paramount Building on Broadway or the Candler Building on Forty-second Street or the long-gone Astor Hotel, weren't all that different from buildings in other parts of town. The lights and the signs, the applied glitz, made the difference. Now, thanks to a new generation of technology, the lights and the signs are more spectacular than ever, and I wonder if we wouldn't be better off if architects recognized this, and let the new buildings recede even more than the old ones did. Why try to upstage the electronic spectacle that defines Times Square?

    Arquitectonica had a much firmer sense of how far to go inside the hotel. The lobby reminds me a bit of the big entry hall at the United Nations General Assembly Building, which is one of the most underappreciated nineteen-fifties rooms in New York. Many of the details, like the elevator cabs with curving, backlit metal panels, are splendid. Because the bustle is so deep—it fills the entire front half of the site—there is a lot of leftover space in the middle, and the architects have filled it with an atrium, which is enclosed on one side by the lower floors of the tower. Thus some of the elements of the façade, including the bottom end of the swooping white line that runs all the way up the south side of the building, are elements of the atrium, too. As much as I dislike that white line on the exterior, I like seeing it close up. In the atrium, it operates in a very different way than it does on the façade. It reveals how the building is made, and is completely engaging.

    The hotel rooms themselves are appointed in a kind of mass-market Ian Schraeger manner, and they're not a bad example of that design sense: slate bathrooms with stainless-steel sinks; sleek furniture. I had assumed that, in addition to providing an environment of reasonable sophistication and comfort, the rooms would have the virtue of being the one place from which you could not see the exterior of the building, but when I looked out the window of one of the westward-facing rooms, I was confronted with a projecting side of that damn bustle. There is no escape from the outside of the Westin, even inside it.

  13. #13

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    A dreary parking lot is expected to give way to 11 Times Square, a glamorous, new, $400 million tower with offices, stores and a dazzling stack of electronic signs. The tower will stand across 42nd Street from Westin Times Square Hotel.

  14. #14

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    I am not crazy about the McGraw Hill building. *In fact, I think that the Westin's bright facade is much better for the area than the drab green of McGraw Hill. *And contrary to all the opponents of light pollution, I happen to like the large spotlight that shines upward from the strip that divides the Westin in half.

  15. #15
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village

    Default Westin New York at Times Square Hotel

    I saw it for the first time the other night - the light going up the strip. Needs more wattage.

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