Tishman Speyer and Gabellini Sheppard Associates Reimagine Rockefeller Plaza

Rendering of proposed renovations to Rockefeller Plaza - Tishman Speyer / Gabellini Sheppard AssociatesRendering of proposed renovations to Rockefeller Plaza - Tishman Speyer / Gabellini Sheppard Associates

In an exciting reveal, Tishman Speyer has appealed to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) for approvals to update Rockefeller Plaza, one of New York’s most iconic public spaces. Renderings from Gabellini Sheppard Associates offer a first look at the many changes the team has proposed.

While the presentation includes few written details, the documents contain over one hundred pages of historic images, renderings, and site plans that allude to what Tishman Speyer envisions as the next phase of the plaza.

Rendering of existing (left) and proposed (right) renovations to Rockefeller Plaza - Tishman Speyer / Gabellini Sheppard Associates

Rendering of existing (left) and proposed (right) renovations to Rockefeller Plaza – Tishman Speyer / Gabellini Sheppard Associates

Site map of the affected areas within Rockefeller Plaza - Tishman Speyer / Gabellini Sheppard Associates

Site map of the affected areas within Rockefeller Plaza – Tishman Speyer / Gabellini Sheppard Associates

The proposed scope of work includes aesthetic renovations to the ground-floor retail façades, new stone planters and greenery surrounding the primary plaza and the adjacent Channel Gardens, and relocation of the John D. Rockefeller Jr. credo monument away from the edge of the plaza to the Channel Gardens in an effort to improve pedestrian circulation.

Images reveal the existing Channel Gardens (left) and the proposed relocation of the historic credo monument - Tishman Speyer / Gabellini Sheppard Associates

Images reveal the existing Channel Gardens (left) and the proposed relocation of the historic credo monument – Tishman Speyer / Gabellini Sheppard Associates

Images reveal the existing Channel Gardens (left) and the proposed relocation of the historic credo monument - Tishman Speyer / Gabellini Sheppard Associates

Images reveal the proposed relocation of the historic credo monument – Tishman Speyer / Gabellini Sheppard Associates

The proposals also suggest a redesign of the “sunken” portions of the plaza that feed into sub-grade retail levels and dining areas. This also includes increased greenery, renovation of the stairways leading up from the sunken plaza to ground-floor areas, expanded seating areas, and the installation of removable glass and metal railings during the winter months to serve as a barrier for the seasonal skating rink.

Rendering of proposed renovations to Rockefeller Plaza's public skating rink - Tishman Speyer / Gabellini Sheppard Associates

Rendering of existing (left) and proposed (right) renovations to Rockefeller Plaza’s public skating rink – Tishman Speyer / Gabellini Sheppard Associates

Images reveal existing elevations surrounding the sunken plaza / ice skating rink (top) and the proposed alterations (bottom)- Tishman Speyer / Gabellini Sheppard Associates

Images reveal existing elevations surrounding the sunken plaza / ice skating rink (top) and the proposed alterations (bottom)- Tishman Speyer / Gabellini Sheppard Associates

The plans were shared with LPC on Tuesday, January 14, where feedback was mostly positive. In an earlier report from Gothamist, LPC and the Historic Districts Council are in agreement that “the proposed changes are well thought out and demonstrate a clear connection with the plaza’s historic design, while simultaneously able to function in our current day.”

The only strong criticism from the agencies argued that the proposed LED-illuminated elevators, which would replace the existing bronze caging, are out of sync with the public plaza and should be reconsidered.

A final decision on the proposals has not yet been announced.

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4 Comments on "Tishman Speyer and Gabellini Sheppard Associates Reimagine Rockefeller Plaza"

  1. So much of Rock Center needs to be updated and lightened, but because of landmark status, not possible. During the 1960’s I worked at the publishing house of Simon and Schuster on the 27th and 28th floors of the International Building ( Atlas holding up the world ) across from St Patrick’s Cathedral I walked thru the lobby a few weeks ago, a dark, depressing marble mausoleum..untouched for decades. Help!

  2. As a NYC visitor (from Miami with love), I am a huge fan of Michael Gabellini and his approach to classic / clear design. Very happy to start my day reading this article. Thank you for reporting this.

  3. As a teenager, I was a messenger boy at Rockefeller Center. Later, as a lawyer, I always dreamed of having my office in the RCA Building. But, as life would have it, I opened my firm in Long Island. The masterpiece of Hood is that Rockefeller Center, as Jane Jacobs wrote, “respects the street,” especially the cut-through private plaza street, which is closed off once per year to insure that it is never deemed abandoned, thus becoming City public property. I should also add that the Center is the personification of understated Art Deco elegance, as is the Seagram Building for the modern age of 1958. To improve upon a masterpiece is remarkable. Yet, the refurbishment does so.

  4. Good God!!! Look at the last two renditions: changing the widow/doorways from Arte Deco to Walmart/Trader Joes’ drop glass generic!! And the Landmark “Preservation” knows about this travesty??

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