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The Making of: 30 Hudson Yards The Lobby

30 Hudson Yards is the third tallest office towers in New York, and includes the highest outdoor observation deck in the western hemisphere, Edge. The office building features delicately crafted spaces, including the lobby which is comprised of eight primary materials that give the entrance a warm and sophisticated ambiance.

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South facing view of Hudson Yards with 30 Hudson Yards (right) anchoring the development. Image courtesy of Connie Zhou.

The lobby is elevated 18 feet above street level to accommodate the train tracks and loading dock below. Hudson Yards is built above the Long Island Rail Road rail yard where 30 rail tracks converge into four as they lead into Penn Station.

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The first material in the tower’s lobby is travertine lime stone with a cleat finish.

The travertine blocks were quarried in Tivoli, Italy. The blocks were guillotine to create a cleft finish, then each panel was scribed and hand chisel to achieve a continuous look.

Fun surprises like bird and shelf fossils were revealed within the stone. Then each panel was laid out as it was to be arranged in the lobby in a process called a “dry lay.”

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The second material used is another travertine lime stone, this time with a honed finish.

This material was also from the same quarry in Tivoli. The honed travertine is used on the floors and walls. Honed means the stone has been ground to a smooth flight and slightly reflective surface. Each slab was inspected and selected based on color, texture, and consistency. The pieces can be seen here in a dry lay of the pattern, where the marble rotates every two panels to create a subtle pattern.

A third material used is cast bronze.

The metal panels were cast by hand in Shanghai, China, and feature fine details that add texture to the bronze. The finished cast bronze can be seen in the lobby entry along the escalators.

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The cast bronze wall to the left of the escalator. Image courtesy of Connie Zhou.

The fourth material is a 3D veneer stained Silver Birch on CNC milled plywood.

This was used to create the doubly curved wall. The process began with a 3-D model that allowed the team to visualize the movement needed. The curved wooden wall was made by modern wood crafts specialists and complex millwork. The smooth surface was created by slicing thin veneer and forming it over a doubly curved CNC mill plywood base

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The casting process in the warehouse.

The fifth material is a fumed Larch veneer.

First, the fletches were reviewed and sorted by color in Trafalgar, Indiana. The panels were made by arranging fletchers of different tones. These diagrams show how the Fletchers are arranged to create the desired gradient.

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The mock up was reviewed by the KPF team and tested with different types lighting.

The six material is anigre veneer.

Each fletch was inspected and selected by hand in Louisville, Kentucky. The material has a unique figure that shimmers with changing light conditions. The anigre was fiddled backed, and swatches were bookmatched to create a chevron pattern.

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The veneer stacked in the early stages (left) and combined and glossed (right).
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The seventh material is an ombra Di Caravaggio marble from Slovenia.

The ombra was sliced and bookmatched so the pattern is mirrored across the panels. This allows the stone to become a piece of art within 30 Hudson Yards.

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Another dry lay shows the expanse of each panel at 7’ x 5’. The finished ombra is in a tenant lobby.

The eighth material is a cast glass chandelier.

The chandelier and the tenant lobby was designed by lasvit in collaboration with l’observatoire and KPF.

Regularly spaced frame and differently size pieces fit together to create a naturally crystalline structure. The intent was to match the organic form of the material, the similarities can be seen in the final result. The bottom edges of glass pieces were cut and polish to refract light. Bronze colored opaque pieces with embedded lights were distributed throughout.

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30 Hudson Yards is one of the projects within the greater KPF-designed Hudson Yards development. It is the largest private real estate development in U.S. history and the first LEED Gold Neighborhood Development in Manhattan.

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The cafe at 30 Hudson Yards lobby, featuring travertine limestone with a honed finish, 3D veneer stained Silver Birch on CNC milled plywood, and anigre veneer. Image courtesy of Connie Zhou.