Steel Shots: Thinking Outside the Cube

Top photo: The Cubes’ steel superstructure. (Photo by GMS) Bottom photo: Detail of setbacks and mechanical penthouse. (Photo courtesy of MdeAs Architects) 

A dramatic retail newcomer of cubic proportions has come to the 42nd Street commercial corridor in New York’s Manhattan. Known as the Cubes, the project flanks the western edge of a through-block plaza at 120 West 42nd Street between Avenue of the Americas and Broadway. Its design employs several distinct boxes shifted in relation to one another while maintaining the uniformity of its grid, and contrasts with the monolithic character of the adjacent 1095 Avenue of the Americas tower (also known as 3 Bryant Park).

Framed with 400 tons of structural steel, the 85-ft-tall structure comprises three occupied floors, as well as a fourth-floor mechanical penthouse, and contains approximately 23,000 sq. ft of above-grade retail space and an additional 55,200 sq. ft below grade in the cellar and sub-cellar. The protruding blocks provide an additional 4,300 sq. ft of accessible rooftop exterior space. The design relocated the main entrance to the 1095 tower from the Avenue to the west side of the building (plaza-side) where a new doubleheight lobby was constructed. Relocating the entrance allowed for additional retail space along the Avenue; the existing subway entrance was repositioned away from the plaza corner to allow prime retail use of that space.

For more about the project, see the article “Thinking Outside the Cube” in our September issue (available now!).