KPF designs another Manhattan supertall just blocks from One Vanderbilt
Months later official opening its $ 3.1 billion supertall One Vanderbilt skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) published plans for a new building developed by Boston Properties at 343 Madison Avenue. With demolition permit granted earlier this year, a complete block of existing pre-war structures between East 44th and 45th Streets, including the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), will be replaced by a 1,050-foot glass tower, slightly taller than the nearby Chrysler Building.
Newly released renderings reveal a relatively conservative design, with stacked rectilinear volumes that diverge slightly from the street in accordance with New York City zoning ordinances. Perhaps more distinctly, three floors of load transfer at the base, crown, and middle of the 55-story building open up room for small gardens and gathering spaces. The structure will also provide an additional 7 feet of sidewalk width along Madison Avenue, as well as a gated auricular entrance for the Long Island Railroad’s East Side Access transit project.
The redevelopment of the site by Boston Properties sparked a familiar controversy between the city and state governments, with initial disagreements over how revenues from the MTA’s $ 1 billion sale building equitable trust should be shared between the two administrations. The plans were brought forward in the spring of 2020 after the withdrawal of Blasio’s administration, citing the contribution to the MTA’s 2015-2019 capital plan.
The new tower at 343 Madison will have nearly 750,000 square feet of office space as well as small allowances for retail and transit. If full as of today, the building would rank 10th in New York City for overall height, binding Jean Nouvel2019 skyscraper at 53 West 53rd Street. It’s unclear whether Boston Properties will aspire to the same environmental thresholds KPF was aiming for with One Vanderbilt, but the presence of walled gardens in the renderings indicates an intention to at least allude to durability. Gardens can also attract criticism for greenwashing, especially as traditional glass and steel supertalls face increasing scrutiny for their remarkable ineffectiveness.
Mayor Bill de Blasio past review glass tricks, however, didn’t seem to slow down the approval process for 343 Madison. Scaffolding has already been erected for the gradual demolition of existing buildings and construction is still expected to be completed in 2026.