Skidmore Owings & Merrill
(David Childs) 2004
Opinions are divided about this
massive new mixed development in the heart of New York's midtown -
sometimes seen as New York's new Rockefeller
In the Wall Street Journal, Ada
Louise Huxtable describes it as "exactly what a New York skyscraper
should be--a soaring, shining, glamorous affirmation of the city's reach
and power, and its best real architecture in a long time. Its two tall
towers rise from symmetrical lower sections rotated in a bow to the
Circle, where the huge building morphs into pedestrian shops and
restaurants at ground level. But the wonder is the delicacy, the elegance,
of these perfectly calibrated, glittering glass facades, the suave,
sharp-edged precision that is amazingly subtle and refined for a structure
of this enormous size."
In the Los Angeles Times,
Nicolai Ouroussoff describes it as "a somewhat generic vertical mall
whose interior would look at home in an international airport
terminal." This is not just out-of-town jealousy; some New Yorkers,
while admiring the scale and welcoming the investment, question whether
the building's character is really New York - especially midtown.
The complex has an interesting
geometry derived from its site, its concave front facing onto the curve of
Columbus Circle (at the southwest corner of Central Park), and its
dominant twin towers shaped as parallelograms, their shorter sides aligned
with the streets in the Manhattan grid, and their longer sides with
Broadway, cutting obliquely through the grid from Columbus Circle.
Its scale is huge: a $1.7
billion investment bringing a major upscale shopping mall, a 5-star hotel,
offices for 1,700 Time Warner employees and other companies, television
studios, a jazz concert hall, residential apartments and more. The sense
of scale and power is exacerbated by the unplanned significance of raising
new twin towers in New York so soon after September 2001. The location and
the power are exhilarating, though the forms of the buildings themselves,
and the detailing, are all quite underwhelming.
It is hard to see the Time
Warner Center as beautiful, or elegant, or inspiring architecture -
although some do. It is an impressively large project completed on time,
which will succeed as the landmark it seeks to be because of its technical
credentials, and the scale of the new amenities it offers in a terrific
site in New York's midtown.
Simon Glynn 2004
How to visit
The Time Warner Center is on the
west side of Columbus Circle, between 58th and 60th Streets, on Eighth
Avenue and Broadway - the southwest tip of Central Park.
Areas open to the public
including the shopping
mall (entrance from Columbus Circle) and 35th floor lobby of the Mandarin
Oriental hotel (entrance from 60th Street).
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