Credit: Raimund Koch.

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Lauren Schmidt Details 660 Fifth Avenue’s Transformative Reskinning in Architectural Record

As part of the outlet’s Continuing Education series, the KPF Principal explained the firm’s approach to recladding the 39-story office building in Midtown Manhattan.

Often, it is the façade that is the first signifier of a building’s age, not only aesthetically but also in terms of operational performance and occupant comfort. In the latest issue, Architectural Record looks at three projects that have undergone a recladding to address these issues, including KPF’s intervention at 660 Fifth Avenue. The article notes some of the existing 1957 building’s shortcomings, including small column grid and short floor-to-floor heights, in addition to its dated envelope. While the building could be seen by some as a teardown and rebuild, Lauren explained that KPF’s goal was to “understand the value that’s there—in terms of embodied carbon, a structure that’s still perfectly functional, and a floor-area ratio that wouldn’t be permitted under today’s zoning—and upgrade it to something that can compete with new construction.”

She recounts how the team designed a high-performance envelope that spans the entire 20-foot column bay. To achieve this solution, they removed intermediate air columns, dramatically increasing the window area. By using the full sheet of jumbo-lite glass, the team was able to reduce material waste, and speed up handling and installation time. “People you bring to the building immediately understand how it’s different—in a quality way,” Lauren notes. “It becomes something that attracts people who are excited about enjoying good space.”

Read the full article from Architectural Record here.