NASCC 2017

Night School


New York’s Brookfield Place Entry Pavilion Wins National Architecture and Engineering Award

September 18, 2014 from American Institute of Steel Construction

(Chicago, IL) – Lower Manhattan’s Brookfield Place Entry Pavilion, a central connector for underground pedestrian passageways in the area of the World Trade Center complex, has earned national recognition in the 2014 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2). In honor of this achievement, members of the project team will be presented with awards from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) during a ceremony to take place in the entry pavilion today at 10 a.m.

Conducted annually by AISC, the IDEAS2 awards recognize outstanding achievement in engineering and architecture on structural steel projects across the country. The IDEAS2 award is the highest, most prestigious honor bestowed on building projects by the structural steel industry in the U.S. and recognizes the importance of teamwork, coordination and collaboration in fostering successful construction projects.

The awards presentation is a precursor to a day special to the U.S. structural steel industry: national SteelDay, which takes place on September 19 (www.steelday.org).

The entry pavilion’s project team members include:

  • Owner: Brookfield Properties, New York
  • Architects: Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, New York; Spector Group, New York
  • Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti, New York (entered project in the competition)
  • General Contractor: Plaza Construction, New York

The pavilion is a Merit award winner in the category of projects costing $15 Million to $75 Million, making it one of only eight projects around the country to receive the Merit honor. Each year, the IDEAS2 awards honor National and Merit award winners in three categories, based on constructed value: projects less than $15 million; projects $15 million to $75 million; and projects greater than $75 million. Each project is judged on its use of structural steel from both an architectural and structural engineering perspective, with an emphasis on: creative solutions to project’s program requirements; applications of innovative design approaches in areas such as connections, gravity systems, lateral load resisting systems, fire protection and blast; aesthetic and visual impact of the project; innovative use of architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS); technical or architectural advances in the use of the steel; and the use of innovative design and construction methods.

The pavilion is the centerpiece of the renovation of the former World Financial Center (now known as Brookfield Place), a $250 million project by Brookfield Properties to improve and expand the retail and public spaces for the waterfront complex. The new glass and steel entry pavilion that will serve as the connector between the underground pedestrian passageway from the World Trade Center and Fulton Street transportation hubs to Brookfield Place and the Hudson River to the west.

The pavilion was conceived as a clear glass box with minimal structural supports, acting as the new front door for the entire complex and making its public spaces and offices more accessible to pedestrian traffic. Central to the structural and architectural integrity of the pavilion are two 53-ft sculptural steel columns which support the 8,000-sq.-ft space. The shape of the columns and their placement within the pavilion were influenced by complex site constraints. Located above the new passageway tunnel, an existing train tunnel relieving platform and a former pedestrian bridge pile cap, the supports for the entire structure had to be focused to only two points of contact underground. These constraints guided the design team towards the idea of two funnel shaped columns, which grow from small footprints at the foundation to support the large roof area overhead.

The architect’s vision for the sculptural columns consisted of continuous pipes woven together in a basket-like fashion. Unlike typical diagrid structures where members are in a common plane and intersect at joints, the pipes for the sculptural columns were arranged in two separate layers and passed uninterrupted at each joint location. At each of the five vertical tiers, the pipes were held together by a continuous elliptical steel ring plate, and at intersections between each tier a hidden solid steel pin was used to connect the inner and outer pipes.

“The project’s architecturally exposed steel ‘trees’ are aptly named as they are similar to trees found in nature and function in a manner similar to their natural counterparts,” commented IDEAS2 judge, Lindsay Anderson, president of Lindsay Anderson Consulting, Ltd., Park Ridge, Ill.

The structural system for the pavilion is independent from the adjacent steel and concrete superstructure of the main building. The two sculptural columns work together with deep beams concealed within the roof to support the weight of the hung glass façade while also providing the entire lateral resistance for wind and seismic loads. In one direction, the deep beams tie the two sculptural columns together to act as a moment frame, while in the other direction the columns act as cantilevers to resist overturning.

The IDEAS2 award dates back more than 70 years to the earliest years of AISC’s existence. And about this year’s winning entry pavilion, Roger E. Ferch, P.E., president of AISC, said, “The Brookfield Place Entry Pavilion project team has shown how structural steel can be used to create structures that combine beauty and practicality. The result is a structure that serves its owner and users extremely well, while providing an example of what can be achieved when designing and constructing projects with steel.”

High-resolution images of the entry pavilion project are available upon request by contacting AISC’s Tasha Weiss at 312.670.5439, [email protected]. For more information about the IDEAS2 awards and to view all of this year’s winners, visit www.aisc.org/ideas2.

 Brookfield Pavlion
Photo Credit: Bess Adler/Thornton Tomasetti


For more information contact:

Tasha Weiss
Communications Department
(312) 670-5439
[email protected]










American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

130 East Randolph St. Suite 2000
Chicago IL 60601
Phone: 312.670.2400
Fax: 312.626.2402