On the northern edge of the New York City’s NoMad neighborhood stands SOM’s recently completed 1245 Broadway, an office tower designed to resemble the wedding cake buildings which came to define Manhattan’s architecture in the 20th century. The tower features large spans of glazing framed by bare concrete, and its most notable features are the carefully planned setbacks which were oriented to maximize views of the city and allot the utmost available outdoor space for terraces. The project contains 200,000 square feet of leasable office space, ground floor retail, and a restaurant.
The design team settled on concrete as the primary facade material to distinguish 1245 Broadway from the other new towers in the area which have primarily used steel and glass. Furthermore, the decision to leave the tower’s concrete structure exposed removed the need for finishing or additional cladding.
Olin McKenzie, partner at SOM, told AN, “1245 Broadway is a powerful example of architecturally exposed concrete that demonstrates the beauty and versatility of this material. We selected concrete for a handful of design and sustainability considerations. The material is both functional and efficient, all while displaying an effortless architectural expression. Stripped of any superfluous cladding, the expression of the building is the exposed structural concrete with a smooth, architectural finish.”
Up close, visitors will notice that the tie back holes on portions of the concrete were left unpatched. This was a stylistic choice which McKenzie said was left behind as a “process decoration” to add rhythm to the facade and interior.
The vertical concrete columns, which run up the building, feature an ornate serrated texture which was achieved through a reusable formliner. These ribbed details catch light as it moves across the building during the day. This element was also used to detail the double-height and 20-foot deep arcade which connects the tower and Broadway. However, at the arcade column’s base, the fluted-channels taper into smooth concrete, unlike the vertical columns above.
Luxury furnishings and amenities abound inside the tower. Upon entering, office workers pass marble walls inlaid with metal veins in the lobby, where they have access to bicycle storage and showers. A tenants-only lounge features private phone booths, a fireplace, communal workspaces, and a beverage station which, according to SOM, “is evocative of Scandinavian design.” On office floors, the ceilings rise 12 feet and are filled with natural light filtered through the building’s energy efficient glazing.
1245 Broadway targets LEED Gold–certification. With a 30 percent window-to-wall ratio, the project balances the need for ample natural light with energy efficiency considerations. This was overcome, in part, through the implementation of triple-glazed windows which removed any need for perimeter heating while also reducing sound penetration from the city below.
The project also features a demand control ventilation system which improves and monitors air quality, while also improving energy performance. The building was constructed from materials with low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCS), further reducing indoor air pollution. Additionally, low-flow fixtures were installed to conserve water in bathrooms.
The client for the project is Michael Kirchmann, CEO and cofounder of GDSNY.