The grand old 18-story Neo-Gothic structure on 43rd Street, home to The New York Times for nearly a century, had many sentimental charms. Its complex warren of reporters’ desks and piles of old, yellowing newspapers were reminiscent of a hallowed tradition, but it also had become increasingly tawdry, down-at-the-heels and conspicuously old-fashioned. The new 52-story Times building between 40th and 41st Streets, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, is a towering modern composition of glass and steel all gussied up in a veil of ceramic rods.
Thirty years ago, Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers designed the Pompidou Center in Paris, which announced a new wave of high-tech architecture and culminated a decade later in Norman Foster’s Hongkong & Shanghai Bank. Since then, Foster has moved away from high-tech, as is displayed in his sleek Hearst Building, just up Eighth Avenue from The New York Times building.
Piano has moved away from high-tech architectural design also, and his 2006 addition to the Morgan Library in New York City characterizes his current low-key approach. However, in the New York Times Building, Piano has returned to his Pompidou Center roots; not exposed pipes and ducts, which were always clearly impractical, but rather with dramatic structural details that boldly proclaim, “This is how I am made.”
Building the Times
Photography by: Annie Leibovitz
Piano’s Times Building: An Architectural Review
The Historic Times Building: Views of the Past
The New York Times: Old and New
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