The management of Rockefeller Center intended to build the last element of the complex, its western-facing entrance, on a Seventh Avenue site between 49th and 50th Streets, adjacent to Exxon Plaza in Manhattan. The building was to house offices and an educational-technical center for the performing arts, and to link to the underground concourse network. The project won a Citation from Progressive Architecture Magazine in 1988.
The building is comprised of four major elements. A central core "pins" the building to the site and defines it on the skyline, acting with the RCA Building as a bookend to the Exxon Building. Laminations placed around this core create a condition of rotation which terminates the east-west axis of the complex and establishes a new relationship to the Times Square to the south. The variety of scales created by these laminations and their irregular composition allow the building to graft itself onto the existing cityscape. The building is clad in limestone and glass, with shimmering metal ornamentation on the surface of the stone articulating the setbacks
Mr. Gates acted as lead designer on this project at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, PC.
Two contrasting models of modernism - Rockefeller Center and Times Square - form the context for the project and inform its design. The lessons offered by these visions of the city have allowed the building to be conceived of as an assemblage - while its pieces function to resolve the various site conditions, the whole is both monumental and dynamic, embodying the energy of the modern city.
A two-tiered podium, stepped toward the west, defines the Seventh Avenue street wall. This surface is covered by electronic signage, with a tower of light indicating a building entrance. An irregular configuration is created at the Plaza to the east, resolving the complex ground level site conditions and providing the main entrance to the building
The entrance recalls Wisdom, the bas-relief by Lee Lawrie above the main entrance to 30 Rockefeller Plaza, thereby linking the two main entry points of the complex together.
The lobby materials are also similar to those at 30 Rockefeller Plaza with updated detailing, providing continuity to the experience of being in Rockefeller Center.
KPF - Rockefeller Plaza West
New York, NY 1987-1990