Sunday, May 13, 2007

MOVING ON UP: An Open, Sunlit Space at 7 World Trade Center - New York Times 

An Open, Sunlit Space at 7 World Trade Center - New York Times

The brand-new 7 World Trade Center is a fantastic building. Yes, it is modern but it also has safety features in response to the 9/11 attacks but it is also a fine work of art. The exterior and interior are both praiseworthy.

“We wanted our new space to reflect our new ownership,” said John Koten, the chief executive of Mansueto Ventures. “We wanted something that could communicate that we are a more nimble company and no longer part of a big bureaucracy.” Mansueto Ventures is owned by Joe Mansueto, who also founded Morningstar Inc., the investment research firm. Mr. Mansueto paid $32.5 million for the two magazines.

On April 2, the publishing company and its staff of 190 moved into 40,000 square feet on the 29th floor of 7 World Trade Center. Mansueto had previously been in 39,000 square feet on a floor it had shared with the Meredith Corporation, a publisher of books and magazines like More and Family Circle, at 375 Lexington Avenue at 42nd Street.

Besides the developer, Silverstein Properties, and the offices of its team of architects from various firms that will be designing the buildings at Nos. 2, 3 and 4 World Trade Center, Mansueto is only the third tenant to move into 7 World Trade Center, which is part of the first phase of construction to be completed around the former site of the twin towers.

The company’s general manager, Kristine Kern, looked at 50 spaces around Manhattan before settling on the downtown site. The new space, according to Mr. Koten, fits in perfectly with the message the company sends its 1.44 million subscribers, the majority of them high-earning male managers and entrepreneurs.

“We are taking the advice we give to our readers, to be ahead of the trend, be pioneering and go where other people are afraid to go,” he said.

James G. Phillips, principal in the New York-based firm TPG Architecture, and Luc Massaux, TPG’s studio design director, designed the space, whose parallelogram shape is dictated by the unusual street pattern in the financial district. The center core construction of the tower, at the foot of Greenwich Street between Barclay and Vesey Streets, is column-free, making the raw floor a blank canvas for architect and tenant. Obtuse and acute angles set it apart from office towers with square or rectangular footprints, Mr. Phillips said.

“It makes the floor plan more dynamic,” he said.

Sweeping 360-degree vistas of New York dominate the space, whose exterior walls are all glass. “The mandate was to do nothing to interfere” with the view, Mr. Phillips said. “Just bring it inside.” Partitions were kept to a minimum to preserve the views and natural light. Seven conference rooms and 35 individual offices around the periphery have glass walls, with sliding glass doors framed with galvanized aluminum. Workstations for interns, which are away from the windows and around the inner core of the building, are equipped with stools to permit the most light and good views.

This article does a terrific job of giving you the whole story of what does into design.


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