The Hearst Tower is to NYC what the Gherkin is to London. This is to say that within the orthogonal universe of the standard down town office building the Hearst triangle or the Gherkin curve are immediately recognisable. The Hearst Tower has raised the bar in terms of formal expectation and this has been refreshingly achieved by a rational schema.
It is the 1928 six storey original Hearst building that provides scale as well as a base to the tower above. Here the project takes on a surprising theatricality. As opposed to the anticipated solid base, the six storeys have been gutted and hollowed out providing, in a sense, a six storied public piazza. Massive angled columns provide the legs for the table that supports the tower above. The building has been literally turned inside out – water falls, escalators and dramatically extended lift towers form the accompaniment to this unexpected public tour de force. This vast space, with its bustling food court, is without doubt the true heart of the building, where the public meets the private world of the Hearst Corporation. But the office accommodation above is also good, with open-plan or cellular layout to match the requirements of, say, Vogue or Good Housekeeping.
The Hearst Tower uses an impressive 85% recycled steel, consumes 26% less energy than its more conventional neighbours and is the first new commercial building in the city to be given a gold rating under the US Green Buildings Council’s leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) programme.