Midtown Plaza

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    23-Jan-2015
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Suggestions for the redevelopment of the downtown mall in Rochester, NY. Includes perspective "renderings" of the proposed office tower that was later removed from the plan.

Transcript of Midtown Plaza

  • 1. Something Old, Something New
    Suggestions For The Midtown Plaza Redevelopment

2. "Let's combine the useful with the beautiful."
"It is again in character of our times that the place for such is very rarely to be found."
Victor Gruen
3. Victor Gruen designed this project before I joined his firm, but I know he was very proud of it.
... his contributions and his reputation are being revived today and they are considered of great importance to American city planning.
Cesar Pelli
4. The plaza has taken over the role formerly filled by the old town square. It is not merely a place from which one may reach various offices, hotel facilities and stores, but, beyond that it has created a climate of new opportunities for which a pent up desire obviously existed previously.
Victor Gruen
5. What is especially interesting about the pattern of urban participation is that the activities are not concentrated, as in most downtown areas, within the eight-hour working period; cultural, social and recreational functions make the plaza an active, bustling place from early morning to late at night. A series of choral concerts given by the St. Joseph School Choir is reported to have attracted, in all, 24,000 people.
Also are formal balls of the Junior League of Rochester and the Winter Wonderland Dance of the University of Rochester, as well as a large number of high school and college graduation dances.
Victor Gruen
Photograph from Victor Gruens book The Heart Of Our Cities
6. Photograph from Victor Gruens book The Heart Of Our Cities
This view of the Midtown site shows the atrium (outlined in black), the structural columns along its perimeter (red dots) and the mallfrontage walls of the B. Forman and McCurdy buildings (turquoise,blue lines).
Midtown is not one building but a group of structures tied together by the Garden Court,or atrium, at the center.
The atrium has most of its support structure within its boundaries and should be able to stand on its own, with little need for additional columns.
7. A perimeter column of the atriums eastern boundary is visible (left), its location highlighted as a white circle in the diagram above.
8. The storefronts in the atrium would become
the perimeter walls. Weather-proofingwould be needed
to keep out the elements during the frigid winters and the hot
summers. Installing transparentwalls would allow additional sunlight to enter the atrium by day, while giving the structure a jewel box appearance when illuminated from within at night. Including movable wall panels in the renovation would also make the atrium an indoor/outdoor room, possibly hosting a downtown farmers market in the summer.
Saving the useful parts of Midtown will allow it to endure as another example ofthe innovativeand civically-minded spirit of our community
9. The garden roof suspended from the skylight and the slender support columns combine to give the impression of flower stems or tree trunks, drawing the eye upward, emphasizing the spaciousness and lightness of the room; bringing to mind Frank Lloyd Wrights S.C.Johnson Company headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin.

10. It has become a cause of civic pride, the place where one takes visitors from out of town.
Victor Gruen
It would be a terrible thing if the "Garden Court" were destroyed.
Cesar Pelli
11. Paetec plans to build a tower of about thirty floors on the North side of the site. The tower will be connected to a shorter building by an atrium.
Paetec could reface and reuse the Hotel/Office tower to create a services/gym/apartment facility.
Floors could be removed from the tower and the mechanical equipment moved to its new roof, making it a low rise structure, if desired.
The atrium is already built , paid for and on the Broad St. side of the site. It could be used by Paetec as the lobby/common area of the complex with a green or garden roof.
The asbestos must first be removed regardless of the final plan. Reusing the tower and atrium will save the skyway hub, along with the garage and ramp system below the complex (which also serves the Chase Tower, among others). The complex should be brought up to LEED standards.

In New York City, many towers of the international style of mid-twentieth century commercial architecture have been updated through a complete re-skinning of the exteriors, along with the modernization of the buildings mechanical and IT systems.

A cross section of the atrium, tower and garage from Victor Gruens book The Heart Of Our Cities
12. Mutual of America Life Insurance Company retained Swanke Hayden Connell to assist the company in its search for a new world headquarters.After considering numerous suburban locations the decision was made to purchase an obsolete 32 year old, 34 story, 626,000 sf office tower on Park Avenue and to redesign the exterior and interior core of the building into a first-class, state-of-the-art facility.A cost benefit analysis was prepared considering the options of retrofitting the existing system and replacing it with a new energy efficient curtain wall. The economics and long term investment favored a new system.
13. Objectives:
- Extend the life of the building by
retaining the basic structural frame.
- Upgrade all building systems; improve
efficiency and reliability.
- Design a new state of the art curtain
wall faade

  • Reconfigure core; increase the

rentable area.

  • Redesign lobby to provide for greater

security and control.
- Expand support and loading areas.
- Reconstruct building with retail tenants
in place without a loss of revenue.

  • Keep final construction cost within the

clients initial budget.
14. Established a technologically progressive illustration of clients corporate culture.
Identifiable profile on the skyline
BOMA 1996 Modernization Award
BOMA 1996/97 New Construction Building of NY Award
15. arrow = proposed site of paetec tower
from South (Ford St. Bridge)
from SE (Cobbs Hill)
If the tower is placed at the northern end of the garden court/atrium, instead of the site of Midtown Tower, it would benefit from unobstructed views.
from SE(Indian Hill)
from SW (Corn Hill)
16. The diagram at center illustrates where the tower might be placed; at the NE or NW corner of the atrium.
Isolating and offsetting the tower from the main cluster of skyscrapers (at Clinton and Broad streets) will not only provide tenants with inspirational views, but will also fittingly assert the new tower s dominance of the Rochester skyline.
from NE (BayRd.)
from NE (Kelly Rd.)
N
M T
from West (Troup St.)
from North (Central Ave.).
17. "Problems almost as big as the building itself stood in the way of preservation; but it is the shame of...its financial and cultural communities, its politicians, philanthropists and planners, and of the public as well that no serious effort was made..."
18. "...A rich and powerful city, noted for its resources of brains, imaginationand money, could not rise to the occasion.
"Farewell to PennStation
editorial, New York Times (10/30/1963)
19. Vacant and derelict for years, its heritage partially forgotten and its fate uncertain, Rochesters Old Federal Building faced dubious prospects in 1975 when the Federal Governments General Services Administration offered it to the city for $1it was veteran of nearly 100 years in community service. With careful planning and hard work it could serve Rochester for a century more. In 1988, a decade after renovation, that vision has proven to be reality. The new City Hall already surpasses the structures past prominenceas a community resource and showplace, as a living monument to civic roots and as a symbol of city-wide renaissance and renewal.
10th Anniversary City Hall Guidebook
20. The grand and sturdy old Federal Building of 1875 was once considered obsolete and faced demolition. Due to the preservation efforts of our community it was instead restored, expanded and
re- used as our majestic new City
Hall. All this was accomplished at
a lower cost than an entirely
new building.
Although it too is (almost)
empty and seems obsolete,
Midtown may one day be
regarded with the same
historical reverence as
Rochesters Richardsonian
headquarters.
Is it true that thirty years
later we can no longer afford
the preservation of our historic architecture? Are we so
desperate to revitalize the
city core that we must destroy
a part ofour urban history
to accomplish it?
21. "...we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build
...but by those we have destroyed..."
22. "...Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves..."
"...The final indictment is the values of our society."
- "Farewell to Penn Station"
editorial, New York Times (10/30/1963)
23. It would be a terrible thing if the "Garden Court" were destroyed.
Cesar Pelli
24. 2008 RRCDC
"The scenario relies less on heroes and villains than on increasing awareness of urban quality, a tough, sophisticated faith and sustained cooperative effort. In the end, all of the participants are the good guys. Who could ask for anything more?"
AdaLouise Huxtable
25. This presentation and all illustrations herein not otherwise credited and/or in the public domain: copyright 2007, 2008, 2011 by Daniel J. Palmer
(rochestertownsquare@yahoo.com)
Other resources available upon request.
Tha