Revealed: SOM’s Giant Floating Halo Over Grand Central Station!

As Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed re-zoning of Midtown East progresses through City Planning, we now have the first concept renderings of what could eventually rise as a result of the effort. Per The Wall Street Journal, The Municipal Art Society of New York requested renderings of what could eventually rise adjacent to Grand Central from several architectural firms. SOM’s proposal is definitely revolutionary.

SOM Towers Halo Midtown East
SOM’s Plan for the Midtown Re-zoning, Image from SOM via The Wall Street Journal

The key facet of SOM’s vision (the key word!) is a halo-like observation ring between two supertall skyscrapers on both sides of Grand Central Station. Apparently, the observation ring would actually be designed to move up and down over the course of the day, giving those visiting a range of different views, which would be truly amazing.

The super-tall buildings appear to be roughly 1,200 feet in height which actually isn’t that impressive, but the plan is still just a vision. If the re-zoning passes as proposed, buildings in the special Grand Central district would be eligible to build up to 30 times the area of their land (floor-to-area ratio), which is also the highest density permitted as part of the Hudson Yards re-zoning. Buildings could certainly rise taller than 1,200 feet, and even 432 Park Avenue–being built before the zoning change–will reach 1,398 feet.

One thing is for sure, and that’s the fact that SOM has managed to one-up KPF in terms of awesome observation platforms. Renderings of KPF’s observation deck at the top of the Hudson Yards North Tower were recently released. Though that platform is also fantastic, it really can’t compare to the one produced by SOM, although it’s much more likely that KPF’s platform actually is built.

KPF Hudson Yards
KPF’s Hudson Yards North Tower with observation deck, Image from Visualhouse via NY Mag

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TFC Horizon
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3 Comments on "Revealed: SOM’s Giant Floating Halo Over Grand Central Station!"

  1. The halo design looks amazing, although I can imagine it would be a nightmare to construct. Is there any part of the city that has no FAR restriction? I’m surprised New York has fallen so far in the height game. I’m not saying they the should build some God awful monolith, but they could construct a 2000+ without stealing the skyline.

  2. Nope, unless you count land owned by the Port Authority (technically). I think we will eventually see a 2,000′ tall building, but it won’t be for a while. 432 Park will be a nice stepping-stone for sure, though.

  3. China and Dubai have constructed towers, which would be considered unthinkable back in the 1980s and 1990s. The height and glamor of future skyscrapers will be a vital factor if cities like New York, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles and others wish to compete with the unprecedented emerging giants in Asia. A 2000 feet tall building would ultimately be accomplished somewhere in the world. Once that happens; they’ll emerge almost everywhere.

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