Javits Center

Javits Center, New York - United States, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Epstein
Construction year: 1986, 2013
Address: 655 W. 34th St. | NEW YORK | United States | Visit Website
Latitude/Longitude: 40.75698, -74.00190

Javits Center in popular usage, is a large convention center located on Eleventh Avenue, between 34th and 40th streets, in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, New York City. It was designed by architect James Ingo Freed of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. The controversial and revolutionary space frame structure was begun in 1980, finished in 1986, and named for United States Senator Jacob K. Javits, who died that year. The Center is operated and maintained by the New York City Convention Center Operating Corporation. The convention center has a total area space of 170,000 m2 and has 78,000 m2 of total exhibit space.

Planning and constructing a convention center on Manhattan’s west side has had a long and controversial history; proposals for a convention center to replace the New York Coliseum date to 1962, only six years after the Coliseum was completed. A new convention center over the river between 38th and 42nd Streets was included in the City’s 1962 plan for the West Side waterfront. By 1979, the I. M. Pei and Partners-designed Center started construction on the West Side. The center was completed in 1986.

On October 16, 2006, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the symbolic start of a $1.7 billion expansion project. The project, which would have expanded the center’s size by 45 percent, was scheduled for completion by 2010. Architect Richard Rogers led the design team, and Leslie E. Robertson Associates were the structural engineers. However, the physical constraints on the project site imposed by the Bloomberg administration complicated the design and caused the cost to soar to $5 billion. To address the site constraint, an alternative plan produced in 2007 by Meta Brunzema, an architect, and Daniel Gutman, an environmental planner, for the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood Association would have expanded the Javits Center south over the Western Rail Yard, the site of the defeated West Side Stadium. Other features of the HKNA plan included an rooftop park, office and residential towers at the corners of the new exhibition hall, and conversion of Pier 76 to public use. In the end, the Mayor ignored the HKNA plan, cancelled the Javits expansion, and proposed to rezone the Western Rail Yard site for commercial and residential development as part of the Hudson Yards.

In April 2008, Governor David Paterson decided to renovate the existing Javits building with a severely revised budget of $465 million. The renovation, started in 2010, was led by design team Epstein, whose redesign of the Javits Center’s interior focused on upgrading organization and efficiency, as well as occupant comfort. The more transparent curtain wall, less opaque skylight systems, and light gray paint on the space frame have dramatically transformed the voluminous public spaces. New mechanical systems have improved the indoor air quality, reduced ambient noise, and significantly saved on energy consumption. The diamond-patterned Tuscan red terrazzo of the original floor has been replaced with soft tones of gray terrazzo. A new high-performance curtain wall has simplified and lightened the aesthetics of the original façade by changing the façade’s module from 1.5 m × 1.5 m to 1.5 m × 3.0 m. This allowed for the introduction of more transparent glass with minimal structurally glazed mullions. Solid stainless steel panels replaced the opaque portions of glass to better express the building’s functionality. The roof of the new expansion was also made “green” by the presence of a garden in the new wing’s roof. The renovation was completed in November 2013. The expansion was meant to retain old tenants coming back annually, such as the New York Boat Show.

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