Time Warner Center in New York

Photo of Time Warner Center in New York, New York
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Time Warner Center in New York, New York
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of Time Warner Center in New York, New York
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Time Warner Center in New York, New York
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Time Warner Center
Formerly:AOL Time Warner Center
Formerly:Columbus Centre
Formerly:New Coliseum

10 Columbus Circle, New York, New York, Columbus Circle 10019
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Orientation is everything when it comes to this building. Its two towers are massed at the rear of the complex, with a lower structures known as the "podium" in front that engages the street-level observer and directs his gaze upward. The combination gives the illusion of a mountain. At the same time, the towers mass is felt by the observer because of their angles, embracing the viewer allowing them to become overwhelmed by the building's presence. The construction of such a huge complex was necessitated by what was the largest media merger of its time. By the late 1990's, America Online had shed its Quantum Link heritage and become the leading internet provider in the United States. It leveraged its power to buy the Time Warner media company, known for its magazines, cable television stations, and movies. At the time it was heralded as the wave of the future, and the logical place to consolidate all that power was New York City. Times Square was already undergoing a massive revitalization thanks to rival media company Disney, so AOL needed another place to stake its claim. It chose Columbus Circle, which had become run down, but not so notorious as Times Square. The AOL Time Warner Center was intended to spark the rebirth of the area, the way the Renaissance Center helped downtown Detroit. To make that happen, the area needed a critical mass of businesses. So the complex includes a luxury hotel, luxury condominiums, shops, restaurants, and a concert hall. Following the lead of broadcast television networks NBC, and CBS, AOL Time Warner's cable network CNN built a studio at street level so people can see in and viewers at home can see out. In a sense, this building represents the AOL Time Warner company coming full-circle. AOL got its start by transmitting games over telephone lines into Atari 2600 machines in the 1980's. The symbol of Atari was the fuji. Now AOL has constructed a massive edifice with similar properties as the fuji that gave AOL its start.

Quick Facts
Timeline
  • 27 February, 2003: A topping-out ceremony is held for the podium of the AOL Time Warner Center.
  • 9 April, 2003: A dozen firefighters are hurt when flames swept through several floors of the as-yet-unfinished tower. The cause is believed to be a space heater, or a portable device used to dry concrete. The New York Times reports there have been a number of unfortunate incidents at the tower, including two deaths, three OSHA fines, and a number of falls.
  • 11 July, 2003: It is announced that a British man is paying record US$45,000,000.00 for one of the ten penthouses at the still-not-quite-finished AOLTimeWarner Center in Manhattan. The 12,600-square-foot penthouse is two-stories tall and will have 25-foot-tall glass walls wrapping all the way around, giving spectacular views. The terrace also goes all the way around and has views rivaled only by the observation deck at the Empire State Building.
  • 6 April, 2003: Mayor Bloomberg temporarily halts construction at the building after a man is grazed by a 22-inch piece of metal that fell off the building.
Notes
  • There is some confusion about the number of floors in this building. According to a May, 2003 article in the New York Times, the building actually has 69 floors, though it was marketed to potential home buyers as having 80 floors.
  • The complex is designed to allow cellular telephones to work anywhere, including inside the elevators.
  • There is a special communication system inside the complex that allows police are firefighters to communicate in an emergency.
  • The foundation of the complex is 434 feet deep.
  • The north end of the podium is 315 feet tall (20 stories).
  • The south end of the podium is 349 feet tall (24 stories).
  • The complex incorporates One Central Park, a group of 198 luxury condominiums.
  • At the time of the building's completion, the four penthouses sold for between $25,000,000 and $35,000,000.
  • This was the site of the 26-story New York Coliseum, which was demolished in 2000.
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Your Thoughts

There are 19 comments.

  On my first trip to New York in November 2007,this was one of the buildings we passed by. Let me tell you, I was so amazed of its beauty I had to stop and take a picture of it. With the glass towers, the statue, the water fountain, and some of the beautiful tree where changing colors. I am from a small county in Ohio where all I see is trees and hills. I had a wonderful time and I'm looking for the next chance to come back again.Thank you for all of the wonderful craftsmanship. It shows the hard work and talents of NY. *****Thank you, THANK YOU!!!******

**BEAUTIFUL*** - Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008 @ 9:00am  

  The building is a definite improvement to the area. Its prominent position at the foot of Central Park West before the large new buildings on 57th and further south towards the Times Square area demands a landmark structure. The height of the two buildings could have been higher but it might have raised concerns that it was too similar to the World Trade Center. I have attended concerts at the Jazz at Lincoln Center concert halls located above the shopping mall and there is a wonderful view of Columbus Circle and Central Park South from the two-story reception area. The two towers and the condos were featured significantly in the movie "Cloverfield."

Richard Preston - Sunday, June 15th, 2008 @ 1:31pm  

  Two buildings, nothing too spectacular. You want a great review from me, make me say Wow... maybe next time.

M.J. MOORE - Sunday, March 9th, 2008 @ 2:46pm  

  an ugly piece of work. nyc already has lots of skyscrapers, just another excuse to waste more electricity

Jake - Thursday, January 17th, 2008 @ 5:33am  

  Very well designed structure, i think it will make new york a much better place

Ben Hicko - Thursday, May 3rd, 2007 @ 3:37am  

  Perfectly New York inspired creation and ingenuity of angular wall views accessibility. I stayed in this building at the last upper 10 floors for a month and had experienced real New York life. Perfectly matched facade for the Columbus Circle. Not to mention, my fav Whole Foods Store downstairs.

Sam Mendaros - Sunday, February 18th, 2007 @ 8:54pm  

  Beautiful structure, strategically placed. Lovely views.

Pamela I - Friday, December 8th, 2006 @ 9:36am  

  As a long time resident of NYC I am usually underwhelmed by most of the new structures and their complete lack of relevance to their surroundings. This complex helps to further define the circle of Columbus Circle. It cleans the environment both with beautifully defined lines as well as materials that reflect light into the whole of the entrance to Central Park. Bravo.

M. Pemberton - Saturday, August 26th, 2006 @ 4:20pm  

  Having worked on the engineering team that designed the inner workings of these buildings, I must say, they are beautiful.

D. Noto - Friday, May 12th, 2006 @ 5:06pm  

  Un edificio increible.Cuando en el 2001 vi como lo construian ,nunca imagine que terminado fuera algo tan magnifico. Su silueta resembla esas Torres que nos arrebataron cobardemente, precisamente cuando el AOL Building estaba en construccion. Ahora nos enorgullese mucho verlas erguidas en el firmamento de la ciudad de New York, represantando ese espiritu y tenacidad digno de esta Ciudad, que se conoce muy merecidamente como " La Capital del Mundo "

Montalvan - Thursday, May 4th, 2006 @ 11:13pm  

  me gusta mucho ese edificio por que es muy boito y elegante

javi - Tuesday, December 27th, 2005 @ 3:50am  

  the towers are beautiful, but the base is pretty ugly. i think the space between the towers is quite effective and the illusion that the street continues through is great. they designed this building for like 14 years, and this is by far better than the original proposals. overall, the base aside, i think it is a sleek and elegant builidng.

raven - Sunday, October 30th, 2005 @ 8:49pm  

  a lifeless, charmless glass box - perfect example of the utter poverty of imagination plaguing american architecture. when will we finally be free of these atrocious cliches?

sneedy - Monday, October 24th, 2005 @ 5:14am  

  I agree NYC does not need another glass and steel box; however after working in and around this amazing building I am amazed at the architecture, construction, amenities, etc. The building blends in brilliantly with its surroundings and it is without a doubt the nicest looking glass and steel box in NY. I would have loved to see a nice brick and mortar building with great detailing, but such a building does not economically make sense for something of this size. Not to mention, the materials used here blend well with the 21st century technology inside.

KPM - Friday, October 21st, 2005 @ 2:13pm  

  sorry to all who do not appreciate great architecture AOL TimeWarner building is one of the most beautiful glass towers built in New York City lately it blends perfectly with its surroundings I give it 5 stars***** thats rare in tall buildings being built here lately

WRR1 NYC - Thursday, August 4th, 2005 @ 5:19am  

  Ugh! New york does NOT need another glass box.

Ben Miller - Saturday, September 25th, 2004 @ 3:15pm  

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