A Historic New York Building gets Revitalized for a Scandinavian Feel

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Alexis Ramos
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Alexis Ramos is a Content Creator and UX Consultant at Work Design Magazine. As someone who is naturally empathetic and creative, Alexis is passionate about leveraging technology to create positive change in the world. When it comes to "work design" topics, Alexis' interests lie heavily in biophilia and user-friendly technology that help make the workplace a seamless and stress-free place to be. When she's not generating SEO-optimized, witty pieces for us, you can usually find her spending time with her rescue greyhound, Cairo.

Fogarty Finger Architecture revitalizes a historic building into a modernly designed workspace.

The main and freight lobbies of this anonymous company were designed to create a warm entrance capable of serving the growing number of tenants, while also transforming some of the office floors to attract young companies in search of modern design.

The new office spaces are re-imagined with a Scandinavian feel, highlighting pale woods and several new skylights to create an open, light-filled floor plan. To match the building’s industrial aesthetic, white-painted walls have been paired with blackened steel framing for windows and accents.  Additional greenery and modern furniture in a stone palette provide a subtle splash of color. The kitchen serves as a focal point within the open floor plan, a gathering place for employees that have been completed with pale wood cabinetry and a long white stone island.

The building had an existing historic architecture with ornate detail, high ceilings, large windows, and original wood flooring, so the architects returned some of this grandeur to the elevator lobbies while infusing artistic industrial elements like a whitewashed brick, blackened steel, and unique lighting to contemporize the highly trafficked areas.

Main lobby entrance

When was the project completed?

How much space (SF)?
12 FL: 11,578 RSF / 8,278 USF
Freight Lobby: 400 USF approx.
Main Lobby: 400 USF approx.

Freight lobby

Was this new or renovated space?
12th floor: New office build-out
Freight & Main Lobbies: Renovation
Storefront: All new

How many employees?
Up to 120

Describe workspace types.
Open plan with few offices and meeting spaces.

What kind of meeting spaces are provided?

What other kinds of support space or amenity spaces are provided?
Pantry with large communal island and seating niche/banquette. Future tenant plans provide space for additional conference rooms, phone rooms, casual meeting spaces, and lounges.

What are the projects location and proximity to public transportation and/or other amenities?
31 West 27th Street, New York, NY, is around the corner from the R & W subway line station. The building is located in the heart of Madison Square Park and surrounded by plenty of bars, restaurants, and hotels. Soul Cycle is just across the street.

Please describe any program requirements that were unique or required any special research or design requirements.
Due to the 12th floor being the top floor of the building we opened up all previously covered over skylights and kept the vaulted ceiling exposed. This required increased coordination with AC units and ducts. AC units were located on the roof.

Was there any emphasis or requirements on programming for health and wellbeing initiatives for employees?
There was an emphasis on making this space as bright and light flooded as possible in order to create a special work environment. The space has windows on 3 sides and 4 skylights creating a center feature for this space.

Were there any special or unusual construction materials or techniques employed in the project?
Ceilings Plus Barz system

Lobby lighting

For specific examples, please describe the product, how it was used, and if it solved any specific problem.
Used to conceal MEP systems above the ceiling at reception, pantry, and boardroom while not entirely limiting the perception of the high ceilings. Also treated to match flooring and millwork to maintain the light/pale tone/Scandinavian aesthetic

What is the most unique feature of the new space?
The four large skylights in the center of the space with automatic shades

Kitchen area

Tell us more!
MEP: MG Engineering
Contractor: LSL Construction Services

Photography courtesy of Connie Zhou

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