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Plaza adjacent to 1095 Avenue of the Americas

The Greater New York Construction User Council presented the Cubes at 120 West 42nd Street the 2014 Outstanding Project Award for commercial building. Serving as both structural engineer and building envelope consultant for this property and the adjoining 1095 Avenue of Americas, GMS created the new 85 foot tall 3-story annex, and renovated and enlarged the existing plaza. This project has previously received the 2013 AIA New York State Award for Excellence.

The Real Deal Architectural Review: Moed de Armas & Shannon scores another victory with the Cubes (excerpts)
Upon its completion in the next few months, the Cubes at 120 West 42nd Street will represent one of the most decisive modifications of 42nd Street since Mayor Rudy Giuliani shut down the porn palaces nearly two decades ago.

Developed by Equity Office, an affiliate of the Blackstone Group, and designed by the architectural firm of Moed de Armas & Shannon, 120 West 42nd Street is located on 42nd Street between Sixth Avenue and Broadway. The 75,000-square-foot glass and steel structure consists entirely of retail space, and announces its mercantile intentions with flashing LED screens and boldly protruding blocks that define its architectural form. Just as crucially, 120 West 42nd Street does not inhabit the street itself, but extends back from it at a right angle, occupying a publicly owned, private space. (The Cubes looks from the street like two separate buildings, but the two sides are actually united underground.

The Cubes is a bold exercise in shifting volumes that manipulates its building block masses to create an effect like that of the New Museum on the Bowery, but turned on its side. Because of this shift, the project’s two building masses — a fairly regular one-story, glass-enclosed strip to the east, and to the west a more dramatic, four-story structure — are spread out lengthwise rather than rising into the air. The more easterly building is contiguous to 1095 Sixth Avenue, and has been conceived in a more regular and conventional massing that recalls MdeAS’s General Motors Building at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, while the western building displays more volumetric pyrotechnics.

The two structures flank a 15,000-square-foot, privately owned public space formed by a through-block lot that stretches from 42nd to 41st streets. Landscape architect Abel Bainnson Butz is designing the exterior space. In total, the project will contain 23,000 square feet of retail space above grade, 55,200 below grade in the cellar and sub-cellar, and 4,300 square feet of accessible exterior space. The project will be 85 feet tall at its highest point and occupy three floors (though the rendering makes it look like four).

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