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15 Penn Plaza, New York, United States

Thursday 26 Aug 2010

Altered state

15 Penn Plaza by WAN Editorial in New York, United States
Pelli Clarke Pelli 
15 Penn Plaza by WAN Editorial in New York, United States 15 Penn Plaza by WAN Editorial in New York, United States 15 Penn Plaza by WAN Editorial in New York, United States 15 Penn Plaza by WAN Editorial in New York, United States 15 Penn Plaza by WAN Editorial in New York, United States 15 Penn Plaza by WAN Editorial in New York, United States
Your comments on this project

No. of Comments: 6

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02/09/10 Greg L., NYC
The Hotel Pennsylvania is a dive with dirty rooms. It should be closed NOW. This skyscraper is not nearly as bad as some that New York has. We need MORE tall buildings. I don't understand all these ridiculous NIMBYs who cry about skyscrapers ... in Manhattan!!! This is a not great area so I'm not sure how this building could make anything worse. And yes, Penn Station should never have been torn down, but I'm not sure what that has to do with New York's skyline...
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01/09/10 Frank S. Butler, Buffalo, NY
This tower is replacing the large historic Hotel Pennsylvania which DID provide the neighborhood with vibrant after-hours activity which will be lost. I mostly wish it was just a bit shorter.
31/08/10 Denizen, Natureville
Tall buildings:
- make people crazy
- are an evolutionary dead end
- cannot be supported by a declining industrial culture
- only result from disproportionate wealth, population density, and land values
- symbolize the moral decrepitude of empire
- draw resources from remote populations
- create poverty away from their centralized conglomerated location
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31/08/10 Jeremy Scott Wood, Boston, MA
re: Empire State design vs. present-day attempts to scrape Manhattan's skies

"Other guys imitate us... but the original is still the greatest..."

Possible reaction (from any wise New Yorker) to the architects of the proposed design:

"We know Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, and
you, gentlemen, are no Shreve Lamb and Harmon"
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27/08/10 sharperblue, san francisco
YSurely you're joking, Mr Feynman? Pelli, the go-to man for competent american corporate mall architecture, pushes a button in the office wall and another ho-hum building is produced; nothing too flashy, nothing offensive, just solid 'background' stuff. That's all well and good as far as it goes. But - shock! - a big building in Manhattan?! oh teh noes! Well, that WILL be a first for that city! Give me a break - when was the last time a truly masterful building was built within New York anyway? 1958? We should not be surprised at the blandness of the building, nor at it's size. Only at the ridiculous outcry from the (powerless but vocal) neighborhood groups. News: the Empire State building, less it's top 130 odd feet, is as staid and boring and bulky as they come. this is how cities grow people. get over it.
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26/08/10 Vlado, boston
is a giant office building with few redeeming qualities other then ......puffffff......I wonder where Pelli's talent has gone. We have seen the same tower in Santiago de Chile, San Francisco, and all over the world......But I dont need to read or hear anything about the building, I am sure that the innovative shape was inspired in the city of NY, fits perfectlly in the sorroundings, and if you are familiar to Pelli's speach or talkitecture: It looks very elegant !!!
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Manhattan's iconic skyline at risk 

Change is good. But not all change is equal. And this is precisely why New Yorkers are largely opposed to a 67-storey office tower to be built in the shadow of the Empire State Building, where it will dramatically alter the city’s iconic skyline and sadly not for the better.

Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli for Vornado Realty Trust, 15 Penn Plaza, which was approved Wednesday by the City Council by a vote of 47 to 1, is a giant office building with few redeeming qualities other than the 6,000 jobs and the $15m in transportation improvements it promises to bring to the city. And yet, with yesterdays’ approval, it is all but guaranteed a prime spot on the city’s storied skyline where it will compete with the Empire State Building for top billing.

While the project has its share of supporters, chief among them Mayor Bloomberg who thinks the building will be a tremendous boon to the city’s economy, most people are against it, citing a bevy of reasons from the building’s underwhelming appearance to the harm it will bring to the Empire State Building – a structure that topped the list as the most beloved building in the United States in a survey conducted by the American Institute of Architects in 2007. In a poll conducted by Malkin Holdings, the owner of the Empire State Building, 85% of the people who weighed in on the new tower said it would ruin the skyline with 39% calling for setbacks to soften the building’s impact, particularly at street level. The battle over New York’s skyline raises interesting questions about design merit and the role it should play in shaping the city’s image, specifically how high the design bar should be for a building such as this one that will occupy rare air.

While Mayor Bloomberg has been quoted as saying that every building built in Manhattan alters the skyline, there are some degrees of alteration that are simply not acceptable. One such example is the demolition of historic Penn Station, which most New Yorkers agree was an unfortunate mistake that should not be repeated. But somehow the lessons of Penn Station did not resonate with those who approved this new office tower, who granted numerous concessions to expand the building 50% beyond what is permitted by as right zoning. The issue is not so much the design of the tower, per se, although I’m sure it is for some, but rather the design of this tower at this location. While many people said they would have no issue with the tower if were built elsewhere, the general consensus is that it simply doesn’t have the gravitas required for the address.

This area of Mid-town Manhattan is a beehive of activity, one of extreme densities at certain times of the day. Located across from Penn Station, the main transit hub, the area is teaming with people at rush hour. But at off- peak hours, the plazas and the streets are dead. Adding 2m sq ft of office space to the mix will only further deteriorate the street life, which in other areas of Manhattan, the city has been careful to nurture through programs that ‘pedestrianise’ and ‘green’ the streets.

While 15 Penn Plaza will bring jobs and transportation improvements to the city, it will do so at a cost to the skyline.

Let’s hope it’s not too high a price for most of us to bear.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

Where do you stand? Cast your vote below.

Key Facts

Status Planning approved
Value 0(m€)
WAN Editorial

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