Vision: The Plaza at 1221 Avenue of the Americas
By: Nikolai Fedak on April 18th 2014 at 2:00 pm
New renderings have cropped up for an unrealized scheme at 1221 Avenue of The Americas, one of the ‘XYZ’ buildings in Midtown Manhattan. The plan would have revitalized the plaza fronting Avenue of the Americas, creating a defining and iconic public space; unfortunately the vision has never left the drawing board. The images come from MIR’s website — which has a host of other fantastic visuals — and apparently resulted from a partnership with Gensler.
The renovation to the plaza at 1221 Avenue of the Americas would add another layer to the pedestrian sphere, as the Rockefeller Center concourse underneath the site would finally become fully integrated with the sidewalks above.
Besides opening the underground mall to the street, the scheme would have also resulted in a more vibrant and dynamic plaza, given the ample seating created by the plan’s stepped nature. The swooping canopy is iconic in its own right, but what’s underneath would have been extremely beneficial to the Sixth Avenue corridor, as the plaza’s current format is not conducive to pedestrian congregation.
Opening up the street — creating several engaging urban layers — would also benefit the surrounds during the busy times of year, when Sixth Avenue becomes incredibly crowded. As-is, the site is generally underutilized, with December typically defined by crowded pedestrian masses across the street, next to Radio City Music Hall. Transforming what currently resembles a livestock crush into something attractive, open, and connecting would benefit both New Yorkers and tourists alike.
While the renovations would have also included minor alterations to the lobby of 1221 Avenue of the Americas as well, the primary changes are definitely centered on the plaza. Gensler’s renderings may remain a vision, but if anything resembling the plan ever comes to fruition, it would truly give the XYZ Buildings their own equivalent of the Christmas Tree — except it would last all year long.
1221 Avenue of the Americas was recently in the news when White & Case signed a 440,000 square foot lease for the building.
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