Tuesday 21 Dec 2010


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On the roof of the Grey Group’s Flatiron office building, SOM has designed an alternative work and entertainment space.

The project tries to take on a smaller scale iconic presence inspired by its surroundings in Madison Square Park such as the MetLife and Empire State buildings. A vehicle for corporate culture-building, the deck is used for work and entertainment at all scales; from a private refuge to collaborative meetings and workshops and to larger events and launch parties.

The design consists of the Pavilion, the Terrace and the Annex, which are interconnected by a half height enclosure designed as a perimeter of planters and benches. The planters are filled with Manhattan spread and Japanese maple trees. The armature plays off the structural module of the base building and introduces an unexpected game of variation. The Pavilion is the main structure and centerpiece; a 14 ft high asymmetrical steel pergola structure with Ipe’ wood louvers. It has a 60ft bar counter that can conduct service from both sides and which holds integrated lighting and a large projection screen for movie nights and the presentation of new advertising reels. The variation in the wood louvers of the pergola casts a textured shadow over the Biergarten style furniture-setting below. The Terrace is a hybrid of a meeting space and an amphitheater, inclusive of bleachers and a stage. It is used for launch events but also to view performances.

The Annex holds support functions areas such as restrooms and storage but it also provides the only fully covered space, making it ideal for meetings and collaborative work. A graphic strategy was developed for the project, and manifests in the furniture, upholstery and a festive wall covering pattern designed with algorithmic scripted line work.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

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