The Making of:
30 Hudson Yards The Lobby

30 Hudson Yards is the third tallest office tower in New York and home to the highest outdoor observation deck in the western hemisphere, Edge. The office building features delicately crafted spaces, especially its lobby. Comprised of eight primary materials, the lobby welcomes visitors in through a warm and sophisticated ambiance.

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 spans 28 acres and is built on two platforms above the Long Island Rail Road rail yard, where 30 rail tracks converge into four as they lead into Penn Station. Hudson Yards also connects directly to the number 7 subway line, which travels east to west across Midtown Manhattan.

Trains collecting outside of Hudson Yards as the development undergoes construction. Image courtesy of Timothy Schenck.

The first material: travertine limestone with a cleat finish.

The travertine blocks were quarried in Tivoli, Italy. From there, the blocks were guillotined to create a cleft finish. Following, each panel was scribed and hand-chiseled to achieve a continuous look. Through a ‘dry lay’ process, each panel was laid out as it was to be arranged in the lobby.

Throughout the process, fun surprises such as bird and shell fossils were revealed within the stone.

Details of the limestone, with a bird feather imprints fossilized into the material (right).

The second material: travertine limestone with a honed finish.

This material was sourced from the same quarry in Tivoli. The honed travertine can be seen on the floors and walls of the lobby. Each slab was inspected and selected based on color, texture, and consistency, to create a uniform mosaic. 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.

The dry lay of the honed limestone.

The third material: cast bronze.

The metal panels were cast by hand in Shanghai, China, and feature subtle details that add texture to the bronze, creating a more organic appearance. The finished cast bronze is a central aspect of the lobby entry along the escalators. Comprising the two-story wall, the warmth and reflection of the material allow visitors to experience and find new details each time they pass the bronze wall.

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

The fourth material: 3D veneer stained silver birch on CNC milled plywood.

The 3D silver birch on plywood was used to create the doubly curved wall. The process began with a virtual model that allowed the team to visualize the movement needed for the fixture. 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.

Rhino software was used for the mock up.
The casting process in the warehouse.

The fifth material: fumed larch veneer.

The first step for the larch veneer process required the fletches to be 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.

Image courtesy of Connie Zhou.
The panels and diagrams of the pattern. The mock-up was reviewed by the KPF team and tested with different types of lighting.

The sixth material: anigre veneer.

Each fletch of the veneer 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 book-matched to create a chevron pattern.

The material can be seen on the ceiling of the lobby, providing an unexpected element of gloss and a slightly reflective surface that plays with the lighting.

The veneer stacked in the early stages (left) and combined and glossed (right).
Anigre coats 30 Hudson Yard’s lobby ceiling. Image courtesy of Connie Zhou.

The seventh material: ombra Di Caravaggio marble from Slovenia.

The Ombra was sliced and book-matched so the pattern is mirrored across the panels. The book-matching process consists of cutting the block through the center, then opening the block and connecting like sides together so that the result is symmetrical along the central axis.

This allows the stone to become a piece of art within 30 Hudson Yards.

The finished ombra is in a tenant lobby. Each panel is 7’ x 5’.

The eighth material: cast glass chandelier.

The chandelier and the tenant lobby were designed by Lasvit in collaboration with L’observatoire and KPF.

The pieces fit together to create a natural, crystalline structure, fulfilling the intent of matching the organic form of the material. The bottom edges of the pieces were cut and polished to refract light. Bronze-colored opaque pieces with embedded lights were distributed throughout.

This special check silica sand is known for its color and clarity when melted down to glass. Lasvit’s team used metal molds to shape the chandelier’s glass that now hangs from small clips on a custom metal frame. The piece was mocked up in Prague before its installation in Hudson Yards.

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.

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.