Project Manager/Designer: David Blaustein, Orlando Garcia
The first time you stand on the roof of this one hundred year old building with its skyline views of New York City, the Manhattan Bridge on one side, and a busy expressway on the other, you realize the potential of this site. The design for such a powerful location, which thousands of people come across daily, presented an exciting challenge. The strategy we adopted was to create a structure that no one can ignore. The leading concept was to sustain contextual elements on the site, and in contrast, to take these elements and embed them in innovative architecture. The Manhattan Bridge is the most visibly striking element of the site, running parallel to it only 20 feet away. For this reason, we designed an exposed steel truss system for the skeleton to intensify the dialogue between the structures. The design embodies a strong sense of dynamics. The structural axis is separated from the building exterior finish, providing a sense of movement, which is enhanced by the flying roof, sharp angles, and horizontal texture on the surface. In addition to its visual impact, the Scarano & Associates Architect's office addition serves as an instructional laboratory for structure and design. It illustrates over one hundred steel joint conditions, multiple curtain-wall applications of varying complexity, a variety of materials, and methods of intervention with historic structures. The entire staff is involved in the construction process from procurements to crane placement and site safety. All materials and systems are presented to the staff prior to installation and then applied in the field. It is the ultimate; hands-on' learn-design-build experience.