Conde Nast Building in New York

Photo of Conde Nast Building in New York, New York
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Conde Nast Building in New York, New York
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of Conde Nast Building in New York, New York
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Conde Nast Building in New York, New York
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Conde Nast Building
Also known as:4 Times Square
Also known as:Four Times Square

4 Times Square, New York, New York, Times Square
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Like so many buildings in New York, this one leads a double life. It has a human-scale presence, and it has a separate presence that is felt in the city's skyline. The human-scale representation of the building is probably the best known. It has been the backdrop of many television shows, productions, and commercials seen around the world thanks, in part, to the massive LED video board sign just at its base. The 120-foot-tall, 90-foot-wide screen most often displays advertisements for the NASDAQ stock market, but is also used for advertising other products, and for publicity stunts. Beneath the screen is the NASDAQ's television studio which is used to beam financial news reports around the world.

Then, there is the building's place in the New York skyline. Above the hubbub of Times Square, the building's smooth blue glass shaft rises into the gradually calmer, cooler air. The facade represents a variety of styles that manage not to dissolve into cacophony. Though the building it not at peace with itself, it is in harmony with the surrounding skyline. It is a reflection of the fact that what makes the Midtown skyline work is the variety of styles represented. In and of itself, 4 Times Square presents the viewer with a lovely early-millennium curved glass corner rising into the sky, and right next to it a 1990's-era stucco grid. On the other side is a more modern interpretation of the post-modern with another grid disjoined from the rest of the building and appearing to be a structure of its own. Changes in the patterns of window glazing help create the illusion that this building is not only reflecting the city around it, but is a city within itself. Some of those patterns are actually solar cells on the southern and eastern sides of the building.

Perhaps the question we are most often asked is, "When will it be finished?" The readers are referring to the scaffolding at the top of the building which is its most prominent feature for those able to draw their eyes away from the lower level video screens. The penthouse levels of this building house mechanical equipment and also support four scaffolds, protruding one in each direction, over the rest of the building. These are for signage, and in one of the photos to the left you can see one of the scaffolds bearing the "4 Times Square" logo. The owners of the building aren't shy about letting people know the 70-foot by 70-foot spaces are for rent for everything from advertising to video screens. They estimate that the signs are seen two million times a day.

At the center of this affair is another industrial structure -- an antenna climbing into the sky. This was added to the building after the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed by terrorists in 2001. When that happened, most of the television and radio station signals in the New York market were lost. Most stations had backup transmitters at the Empire State Building, in New Jersey, or on the small islands that surround Manhattan. But they needed a permanent home in order to resume full-power transmission. 4 Times Square stepped up to the plate in part because it was already home to eight FM signals. Sadly, another reason is because this mere 52-story building was the tallest erected in New York City in a decade. Long before the tragedy of September 11th, New York lost its passion for sky scraping buildings, handing the American title over to Chicago. Nevertheless, the nation's largest city needed a home for its broadcast stations, and this became it. By 2003 a 358-foot-tall mast was erected and the stations were back on the air.

Quick Facts
  • Height to roof: 809 feet
  • Height to tip of mast: 1,118 feet
    > The building is often listed as being just 48-stories tall. This is because the 49th floor is occupied by mechanical operations, and floors 50 through 52 are used by television and radio stations for their transmitters.
    > The cafeteria was designed by celebrity architect Frank Gehry.
    > This building was commissioned by The Durst Organization.
    > The building has 1,600,000 square feet of rentable space.
    > The weight of the mechanical systems at the top of the building acts as a mass dampener, helping the building resist strong winds.
    > At the time of its completion, this was New York's largest "green" building.
    > The building uses two hydrogen fuel cells to help generate hot water and electricity. Eight were originally planned, but had to be scaled back due to weight issues.
    > The building has a small patch of solar cells providing some of its electricity.
    > The building has 50% more insulation in the walls and double the insulation in the roof as a typical New York skyscraper.
    > This was the first building erected as part of the redevelopment of Times Square from sleazy crossroads into an entertainment hub.
    > At the time of its completion, the illuminated NASDAQ sign was the largest LED sign in the world.
    > Condé Nast, the biggest tenant at the building's opening was given $10,000,000.00 by New York city and state to stay in through 2016.
    > The architects wanted to build specially ventilated smoking rooms in the building where people could go to smoke without having to stand outside in front of the building. Such arrangements are common in Asian skyscrapers, but in New York the idea was quashed as a waste of space.
    > 21 April, 1998 - The building's official topping out ceremony is held.
    > October, 1999 - The building officially opens.
    > 2001 - This building wins the AIA National Honor Award.
    > 2002 - Plans are announced for a 358-foot-tall antenna to be added to the building to accommodate broadcasters displaced from the Twin Towers.
    "New York City will truly have it all - a 'green' tower for its skyline and a shining example of how we can save the earth, save money and live in comfort through energy-smart technology." - U.S. Energy Secretary Federico Peña, 21 April, 1998.
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Your Thoughts

There are two comments.

  This is a jumble of styles. It looks as if the blue-green curtain wall was grafted onto a more pedestrian white standard box-type office building. The whole area around Times Square has become crowded with unremarkable buildings all the same height. What is needed is a signature building that towers over the square like the Chrysler Building does over the cluster of buildings around Grand Central Station.

Richard Preston - Sunday, June 15th, 2008 @ 12:09pm  

  the building is sure unique, but there are like to many different curtain wall designs and the top of the building looks like the interior of a electronic tube television of the sixties. The base serves its purpose for advertisments,very nice especially the huge cilindrical television screen A must see!

Wilbert NYC - Monday, July 4th, 2005 @ 2:28am