For denizens of midtown Manhattan, 10 East 53rd Street has always had a landmark-like status.
It had an unusual open public arcade going through the building, connecting East 53rd Street with East 52nd Street. It also had plants along 53rd Street and a low staircase. Its entrance was not visible from the street.
More specifically, it had a “Harper Collins” sign out front for 40 years, from 1972 through 2012, when the building was sold.
Harper Collins has moved to the Financial District, and SL Green, who purchased the building in 2012, hired TPG Architecture to reconceive and renovate this well-known Plaza-district skyscraper.
TPG’s design team saw and agreed with SL Green that the building was in need of an upgrade and reconfiguration at street level.
TPG realigned the 53rd Street exterior by moving the small staircase such that it is now directly across the street from Paley Park, one of New York’s most charming pocket parks.
The steps are wider, and are now white, rather than black, granite. TPG’s Graphics Group designed a tall stainless steel pylon announcing the address.
At the entrance level, the designers worked with the city, and SL Green to enclose the lobby while still allowing public access.
Here the improvements are dramatic: the weird, dark arcade has become a bright, open, modern interior space. Frameless-glass panels 20 ft. high enclose the new lobby; spider-fittings increase the sense of transparency.
The interior plaza will be open to the public. It will be air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter. SL Green has committed to – and will be establishing – a program to exhibit major fine art in the lobby on a temporary/permanent basis.