MdeAS (em-dee-a-s), a New York-based architecture firm known for modern design and focused on redefining Class A buildings, interiors and public spaces, has been working on the revitalization of the historic McGraw-Hill building at 330 West 42nd Street in Manhattan. The firm worked extensively to ensure that the landmarked building’s upgrades met the proper guidelines while adding elements that would reestablish the property as a destination office location for decades to come. MdeAS is part of a top-tier team assembled by Resolution Real Estate Partners, a New York-based asset management firm specializing in Manhattan office re-positionings.
Built in 1931 and designed by Raymond Hood, 330 West 42nd Street once served as the home to McGraw-Hill Publishing Company and Marvel Comics. The 700,000-square-foot, 35-story Art Deco-style tower between 8th and 9th avenues was one of the most progressive properties of its time and has long been an iconic part of New York City’s skyline. At the time it was built, 330 West 42nd Street was one of the most groundbreaking office buildings in Manhattan, the first in the international style. Its original features—outdoor areas, high floor-to-floor ratios, varying floorplate sizes, large windows, breathtaking views of the city and Hudson River—are still features attractive to tenants today.
“MdeAS has a deep connection with the McGraw-Hill building, which has an incredible heritage and unique, beautiful design,” says Dan Shannon, principal at MdeAS. “We are proud to draw on our experience in bringing capital buildings back to life to create a bespoke environment suited for today’s work, weaved with an important layer of architecture and history.”
The building’s iconic façade, composed of blue-green terra-cotta panels with windows framed in green metal, has undergone meticulous repairs to restore Raymond Hood’s original vision and design. Joining the project when the window replacement program was underway, MdeAS modified several of the window types to restore the glass clerestory on multiple floors, opening the facade and increase the natural light available to tenants. Through interior mechanical optimization, MdeAS consolidated the location of the mechanical louvers, bringing back windows throughout the facade. Additionally, visitors to the building will have a new experience at both on 42nd and 41st with new storefront and entryways, bringing back the historic vibrancy to the base of the building.
Interior Spaces Designed for Wellness, Efficiency
MdeAS worked with ownership to create a lobby that serves as an uplifting oasis for employees and visitors and pays homage to one of the greatest eras in American commercial life, bringing guests into a 3-story center of activity, collaboration and creativity. The lobby features a reception center, areas to sit and catch up with emails and colleagues or grab a coffee or snack before heading up to the office. Taking cues from the original Raymond Hood design, the lobby integrates terrazzo floors, metal panel and patterned glass walls with stainless steel and bronze accents throughout. A soaring 35-foot-high atrium also affords lobby patrons a panoramic view of the amenity floors.
Just off the lobby past the elevator banks, MdeAS took the building’s former loading docks and created a double-height garden space for tenants to enjoy. As there are not many green spaces in the neighborhood, MdeAS carved out this nook where people can go to connect with nature during the day and recharge. The space also provides an opportunity for several hundred people to gather for an event, company announcement, film, or cultural opportunity. The building’s bones provided this once in a lifetime opportunity to enliven that space as an anchor, giving tenants and visitors a respite during the day. Future Green designed the landscape.
Heading up to the office levels, MdeAS rebuilt three main cores to improve the circulation of the office floors. The team converted three former freight elevators to serve as expanded capacity passenger cabs for the lower levels, refreshed the existing passenger elevators with one additional car to serve the mid- and high-rise floors, and added a new service car to service the full building. These upgrades increased the vertical circulation at the property to Class-A standards.
The office space itself retains much of the building’s sturdy industrial quality, with broad exposed steel beams throughout. The space features 12-foot, 8-inch ceiling heights and individual floor plates which span from 20,000 to more than 30,000 square feet. All office floors feature new, fully operable 7- to 12-foot-high windows, which flood offices with natural light and offer sweeping views of the city and Hudson River.
All the mechanical systems at 330 West 42nd Street have been focused on health and efficiency. The entire HVAC system has been replaced, improving indoor air quality and thermal control. Created for the “endemic,” the building’s systems provide maximum amounts of fresh air, operable windows, and touchless technology. For instances where tenants want to ‘breathe in New York,’ nine outdoor terraces were made accessible by MdeAS. Previously used for mechanical purposes, the terraces will be available to the tenants occupying the adjoining floor. One-of-a-kind washrooms on each level offer central, freestanding sinks with ample space between users, as well as touchless doors, faucets, and toilets.
The C-suite just underneath the iconic McGraw-Hill signage at the top of the tower has been turned into a duplex office space with floor-to-ceiling windows and a large terrace.
Three Levels of Amenities
A standout feature of the building is its full suite of unique amenities across three consecutive floors.
An event/conferencing area on the second floor can hold between 115-200 people depending on the event’s layout, ideal for tenants in the building to rent out for conferences, offsites, or celebrations. The floor includes a pre-function room, seminar room, and small conference rooms.
The fitness floor on the lower level features a gym, spaces for yoga and Pilates, locker rooms, a wellness center, and mothering rooms. Also on this level is a health center, a place for employees to come to when not feeling well, equivalent to a school nurse’s office. It will be run by Eden Health.
The amenity levels also include a quiet room for heads down work, as well as a broadcast room for podcasting, media interviews, and various other AV needs.
PHOTOS: Ivor Creative unless otherwise noted