The Hearst Tower: New York, USA

hearst TowerThe Hearst Tower can be seen towering over the New York skyline if you ever find yourself near Columbus Circle. The building itself is located at 300 West 57th Street on Eighth Avenue and is quite a beauty to behold. It first started as a six-story building that was completed in 1928 and was designed by architect Joseph Urban.

The original building had a cast limestone facade. Its main design consists of columns and sculpted figures said to represent music, art, commerce and industry. The building was originally designed to be a base for a proposed skyscraper that was to be built over it.

But the Great Depression postponed the construction of the skyscraper and the building remained as it is until after nearly 80 years when the proposed tower addition was finally completed. The original building itself has been considered an important monument in New York and has been designated a Landmark Site in 1988.

The additional tower only got to be constructed sometime in 2001 and was one of the first skyscrapers to break ground after the fateful September 11 terrorist attacks in New York.

The new tower was designed by the architectural firm Foster and Partners and stood at 182 meters with 46 stories of office space all in all. It was designed in a unique triangular framing pattern known as a diagrid that was made out of structural steel and contained 20 percent less steel that would have been used employing a conventional perimeter frame. Each triangle in the diagrid is said to be four stories tall.

The Hearst Tower is also considered as the very first "green" building completed in New York City. The building was made with 80 percent of it constructed out of recycled steel. The building was also designed to use 25 percent less energy than the minimum requirements for buildings built in New York City.

The building makes use of daylight sensors to control lighting and to help lessen energy use. The floor of the building’s atrium is made out of heat conducting limestone. Polyethylene tubing is housed under the building’s flooring that is filled with circulating water in order to provide a cooling effect in the summer and heat in winter.

The atrium also has its escalators running through a 3-story water sculpture known as Icefall. It consists of a waterfall that is built with thousands of glass panels that not only provide some aesthetic value but also to cool and humidify the air at the lobby. There is also an impressive 70-foot long fresco painting by Richard Long entitled Riverlines that complement the beautiful water sculpture.

In 2006, the Hearst Tower received the Emporis Skyscraper Award, a recognition given to the best skyscraper completed during that year, besting other buildings all over the world. The Hearst Tower displays both the beauty of good architectural design as well as the efficiency of modern buildings in terms of energy conservation and use of space.

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