Jason Kamery 2015-05-05 09:59:14
Verde Marina granite was selected for its high-performance qualities, which were a key component to the design of 1095 Avenue of Americas Plaza in New York City Positioned on the corner of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue, in front of Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan, 1095 Avenue of the Americas Plaza has become a prominent New York City site, which endures a high volume of foot traffic each day. The 15,000-square-foot open area is part of a 45-story, freestanding, commercial office building, which serves as MetLife’s corporate headquarters. In addition to pedestrian wear and tear, the Plaza is also exposed to the often harsh Northeastern climate. As a result, when designing the site, Dan Shannon of MdeAS Architects was in search of a durable and aesthetically pleasing stone. “The plaza became the center for this development,” said Shannon. “It became the front door.” The architect explained that adjacent to the Plaza is what is referred to as the “cube” — the retail center component of the development. Shannon’s search for just the right stone led him to Verde Marina granite, which is quarried in India. The coloring, veining and texture of the granite provided the desired aesthetic that was needed for the public space. The stone was shipped from India to the Santucci Group’s facility in Italy to be fabricated. The material was used for paving, steps and benches throughout the Plaza. Each stone paver was given a thermal, or flamed, finish and measures 3 feet x 4 ½ feet x 2 inches thick. This type of finish produces a textured, non-reflective, non-slip surface by applying a high-temperature flame to the stone — a perfect choice for a high-trafficked pedestrian area. For the Plaza steps, the pieces measure 2 feet x 4 feet x 6 inches thick. The use of Verde Marina granite continues to the cobblestone paving — measuring 4 x 4 x 2 inches thick with a thermal finish — as well as the bench cladding, which features a polished finish. According to Shannon, the benches were cut from slab material that was 4 inches thick, fixed and epoxy mitered to give it a monolithic appearance. “What was nice about that granite is one, it’s a granite, so it holds up in our Northeastern climate in terms of its durability,” said Shannon. “Two, it has a very nice surface once we flame it. But that one in particular has such beautiful veining through it, which is unlike a lot of other granites. With such movement, it’s like a marble version of a granite. The other thing we like about [Verde Marina], and granite in particular, is that we can use very large sizes of the stone and that gives the Plaza a very elegant look.” While the Plaza is the main focus, there is also a two-story-high space with a connection to the Plaza through a broad glass expanse. This is the 1095 Avenue of Americas lobby — featuring walls and countertops fabricated from Joya White Carrara marble and complementary white terrazzo flooring. “The original lobby entering from 6th Avenue had you walking across 70 feet Oof space, so it was tunnel like,” said Shannon.“We knew we wanted to use a light stone so that it didn’t feel like walking through a tunnel and the nice thing about that stone was it has a good white background, very thin gray veining, and it was consistent through and through. It created a very nice background for everything.” The building lobby, elevator lobbies and concourse used a total of 7,400 square feet of material. The Santucci Group also supplied and fabricated the stone employed for the lobby, and the material was furnished and installed by Petrillo Stone Corporation of Mount Vernon, NY. As a whole, the installation process went smoothly, but Petrillo found difficulties with the lobby because the building remained in use. “The installation took place in an occupied building so we basically installed sections at a time so we didn’t disturb the tenants,” said Frank Petrillo of Petrillo Stone Corporation. “It’s a very busy building. There were certain areas, such as the elevators, that were done at night. This prevented us from interrupting the flow of traffic. We did the other areas during the day. We had to fence it off so that people could get by while we were working.” CITY REGULATIONS The construction of 1095 Avenue of Americas Plaza had to meet certain regulations proposed by the city planning department.Regulations included how many benches and, specifically, what kind of benches.“With the polish on the granite, when people sit on it, touch it with their hands and eat their lunch on it, it’s easily cleaned off,” explained Shannon. “What’s also unique is that in the two most intimate seating areas, we cut the Verde Marina into cobble to give it a different texture. We had large panels, monolithic steps and then these little cobbles.It’s the flexibility of the material we find very useful when forming these spaces.” According to New York City code, the project also had a requirement for two pieces of art. “Antonio Pio Saracino, an Italian architect and designer based in New York City, had been working with the Italian government for the ‘Year of Design in America for Italian Design in America,’” said Shannon. “They wanted to give something to the City of New York. They were working with Antonio on a sculpture, and he called me through my art consultant and asked, ‘Do you happen to have a place for this?’ It was just kismet that I had this requirement to put two pieces of sculpture in the Plaza, and we were looking for — or commissioning something — and Antonio had this great concept to bring David from Florence to New York.” Named “The Guardians: Hero and Superhero,” there are two 13-foot-high sculptures — one made from steel and the other carved from Olympic White Danby Vermont marble from Vermont Quarries in Mendon, VT, and supplied through ABC Stone of Brooklyn, NY. “Antonio worked with Vermont Quarries to create this beautiful sculpture that is derivative of David, and it’s all Danby White marble,” explained the architect. “And that again, picks up so nicely the white and the Verde Marina, so it had a great complementary feeling.” Union Marble fabricated the statue and Precision Stone, Inc. of Long Island, NY, provided the drafting, project development, coordination and installation. “I wanted to create two symbolic protectors of New York City that celebrate the superhuman and the inspiration that it channels,” Saracino said in a statement.“Their layered design shows ‘the universal ability of mankind to cement its own presence in the world with its perennial construction skills.’” BALANCING NEEDS The project itself had a one-year design process and about a one-year construction process. “Underneath the Plaza is 40,000 square feet of retail space, and there is an Equinox fitness center there also,” said Shannon. “So we had to tighten up a construction assembly and stone setting so we could maximize the amount of space down below, but still wrap all loose stone for the drainage and so on. Because it was an existing site and 1095 had a certain entry point, we had to mitigate those two different levels.Then, working with the city planning to balance the needs of the private buildings with the requirements for the public space was a challenge, but it enriched the project.It’s a funny thing because all these beautiful benches and trees that complement the space really came out of that we had to give the city a certain amount of seating, trees and lighting. Those were the challenges, but in those challenges is what creates the dynamic design.” According to Shannon, 1095 Avenue of Americas Plaza was so successful because of the enormous collaboration that occurred during the project. “It had a clear, strong, sensible design that was flexible,” he said. “It wasn’t this rigid, underlying design. It was a simple, strong idea that allowed for a lot of flexibility. There is an enormous collaboration that goes on with these projects. From ownership, which was Equity Office, to a very talented landscape designer, Terry Lee Burger, to fantastic contractors, and the stone contractors and the stone fabricators. We spent an enormous amount of time on a daily basis in touch with the fabricators mostly because we do so much work in stone.That collaboration I think is so fundamental to our work and this project.” The Plaza itself is surrounded by highprofile buildings and has transformed into a very popular outdoor space. One side features the MetLife building that’s a million and a half square feet, adjacent to it is the Bank of America headquarters.“People have come down from the MetLife building and actually had meetings in this Plaza and that is so gratifying to see,” said Shannon. “The Plaza was well received by the design community, and it won an American Landscape Society award. It also won, with the ‘cubes’ building, an AIA New York State Design Award of Excellence for Large Commercial/Industrial Projects. It has had its critical acclaim, but more than anything, it’s how the public has used it.” 1095 Avenue of Americas Plaza New York, NY Architect: MdeAS Architects, New York, NY Construction Manager: Structure Tone, New York, NY (first phase); Shawmut Design and Construction, New York, NY (phase two) Stone Contractors: Petrillo Stone Corp., Mount Vernon, NY (interior stonework); Jos. W. Curvino, Inc., Fort Lee, NJ (exterior stonework) Stone Suppliers: The Santucci Group, Carrara, Italy (Verde Marina granite, Joya White Carrara marble); Vermont Quarries, Mendon, VT (Olympic White Danby Vermont marble for sculpture) Stone Fabricators: The Santucci Group, Carrara, Italy (Verde Marina granite, Joya White Carrara marble); Union Marble, Westbury, NY (statue) Stone Installer: Precision Stone, Inc. of Long Island, NY (installation of statue)
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