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This transformation of an Art Deco icon by Albert Kahn honors the iconic industrial building by retaining its heritage of auto dealerships on the lower levels and converting and adding area to the upper levels to create distinctive office spaces whose architecture complements the original design.
An existing eight-story automobile showroom near Columbus Circle in Manhattan, the historic structure at 787 Eleventh Avenue–built in 1927 by Albert Kahn as the home of the Packard Motor Company–was in need of renovation. After developmental analysis with the client, Viñoly chose to reallocate existing zoning area within the building to create an addition of two upper floors topped by a 12,000-square-foot (1,115-square-meter) recreational green roof deck. With five floors of car showroom and service space and five floors of commercial office space, the transformed 10-story building will serve an expanded workforce and create a more social work environment by encouraging colleague interaction on the roof deck and on the private outdoor terraces below it.
By relocating the employee parking from the roof to the basement level, the design frees the roof for core and shell expansion on top of the existing structure and limits intrusion to the showroom and services. A main feature of the structure is its one-acre floors and wide column spacing, which afford open layouts that allow tenants to fit more employees per floor. Viñoly’s design removes the existing seventh floor slab to create a double-height office space there. Oversize windows provide ample natural light to the large floor plans. The new ninth and tenth floors of the building will be set back from the perimeter to create a continuous private outdoor green terrace. Clad in glass, these floors will enjoy views over the city and direct roof access. On the roof of the tenth floor, a recreational roof deck will serve as a gathering place for all office employees from floors six through ten. The automobile showrooms remain on the ground floor and will be supported by automobile service areas on floors two through five.
To accommodate the new office floors, the ground floor entrance will be renovated and a new building lobby will serve all levels through an office elevator core off of which restrooms, fire stairs, and mechanical and electrical distribution spaces will reside. Interiors feature large, open, daylit spaces that can be fit-out as necessary for commercial office tenants. The existing building facade will be renovated to support its extension.