A Supertall Building that Integrates A Dynamic Base: One Vanderbilt Avenue, New York City
Session: A: Best Tall Building Award By Height: 300-399m & 400m+
Executive Vice President of Development, SL Green Realty Corp.
James von Klemperer
President & Design Principal, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
New York City
One Vanderbilt is an ambitious project that embodies the spirit of New York City, most symbolically by establishing a creative interface between a state-of-the-art office tower—the tallest in Midtown Manhattan—and Grand Central Terminal, one of the city’s most venerable landmarks. With an urban base that includes an active pedestrian plaza and integrated transit hall, the project fits into the city’s network of public transportation, blending private enterprise and the public realm.
The building’s design follows the layered language of the nearby Chrysler Building and Empire State Building and is sympathetic in proportion to these buildings. Formally, the massing is comprised of four interlocking, tapering volumes that spiral up to the sky. At the base, a series of angled cuts organize a visual procession to Grand Central Terminal, revealing the Vanderbilt Avenue corner of the terminal’s cornice—a view that has been obstructed for nearly a century. The tower’s terracotta façade, which incorporates the same distinct ceiling tiles found throughout Grand Central Terminal, provides the soaring structure a natural, luminous texture while complementing its historic context. The core wall is lined with folding metal panels that reflect and refract natural light, accentuating the crystalline form against the city skyline. Although the section of the tapered form is sloped, the plans of the building are strictly rectangular, integrating harmoniously with the larger urban fabric of the city grid.
Achieving both LEED and WELL Platinum certifications, the tower incorporates many of the latest sustainability design and construction methodologies, ensuring it maintains one of the lowest carbon footprints across similarly scaled buildings in New York City.