Anatomy of a Building

March 26, 2003
300 Madison Avenue – the CIBC World Markets U.S. Headquarters – Rises in Manhattan - Part 2
Click Hereto view Part 1 of Anatomy of a Building.Buildings magazine continues its coverage of the development and construction of 300 Madison Avenue, New York City, the U.S. headquarters of CIBC World Markets. In April 2002, we introduced readers to initial design elements with a promise of more to follow. This month, we feature Part 2 in the series.Following completion of excavation and foundations at year-end 2001, the face of Midtown Manhattan continues to change as it embraces construction of 300 Madison Avenue, the impressive address of CIBC World Markets’ new U.S. headquarters. The rising granite-and-glass structure, owned by developer Brookfield Properties Corp. and located on the corners of 41st and 42nd Streets and Madison Ave., physically represents not only the creativity and sensitivity of this financial giant (the investment banking arm of Toronto, Ontario-based Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce [CIBC]), but also symbolizes its commitment to the community of New York. “It is an exciting building,” notes John Griffin, project executive for CIBC World Markets, and a veteran of more than 25 years of building headquarters for major corporations.The synergy of owner, tenant, designer, consultants, and contractor has culminated in the topping out of steel at the end of 2002, completion of the enclosure of the building’s podium and tower levels in the final days of April 2003, and access (and build-out) of the interiors in the podium – all on schedule within an aggressive overall budget of 26 months. “We had eight months to do foundations and nine months to do structural steel, at which time we started the concrete, fireproofing, and curtainwall,” explains Frank Gramarossa, project manager for Turner Construction Co. Three block delivery dates – turning blocks of floors over to the CIBC so work could begin on interiors – were successfully met, the most recent one at the end of February. A Distinctive Building for a Distinctive AddressThe tower of the building features a granite spandrel and glass design.  Notes Richard Gladstone, Brookfield’s resident architect, “A unique combination for additional articulation on the building’s façade incorporates polished steel bands and stainless steel fins that appear to be a random pattern but are actually a wave effect across the entire tower exterior. It gives the building a bit of glow and texture.“[Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill’s] concept for the structure also features a reversal of the image of nearby Grand Central. 300 Madison Avenue has the majority of stone and articulation in the tower, which is really what will be seen from a distance. Up against the bottom of the building, there’s a floating glass box effect, which was accomplished through a combination of perfectly clear, no-green-tint glass and an illuminated ceiling, topped by a shadowbox design (all glass with opaque panels behind spandrels) on the base floors above.”The dynamic entrance, framed by 40 feet along 42nd Street and 40 feet along Madison Ave., culminates in a 120-foot-high atrium. “This corner atrium allows the corner of the tower to slide down through the base,” explains Gladstone, “and the building was actually built with two corner columns that were designed to be removed to allow a feeling of openness.”Turner’s Gramarossa discusses the logistics. “We took these out of the building after we were up to the 12th floor,” he says. “A truss from the 9th through 11th floors holds up the columns from above, but we had to be able to get there to build the truss. After the truss was done and bolted and welded, we cut out and removed these two main columns at the base of the building.”Other features of the structure and exterior of 300 Madison Avenue include elements for heightened security measures, according to Al San Filippo, vice president, Construction and Technical Services for Brookfield Properties Corp., and Brookfield’s representative for the project, and Griffin. “Following 9-11, we hired a consultant that designs embassies for the United States around the world,” notes Griffin, “and they came up with ‘hardening’ ideas to make the building safer. We added about $4 million to the construction costs in order to plate the lower columns in one-inch steel; added three-hour fireproofing instead of two-hour; and increased the strength of the structural connections by a factor of 10 above code requirements.”Adds Gladstone, “We also used a combination on all of the lower glazing in the structure to contain glass in the event of any collateral damage associated with the building’s close proximity to Grand Central. Outside, the system incorporates tempered glass, and inside, it’s laminated glass.Other structural/exterior upgrades include:Reinforced and thickened slabs in public access areas.Reinforced masonry (instead of drywall) in dividing partitions between the lobby and retail spaces.Retractable bollards near parking and the loading dock on 41st Street.People-Safe While Business Continues
In fact, some of the most dramatic enhancements at 300 Madison Avenue since its beginning design was approved are virtually invisible. Heightened security measures determined to be prudent following the tragedies of 9-11 continue into the building as well.“We encased the whole area for fuel storage within the building with very thick, reinforced concrete, and installed a foam suppression system there in the event of a fire,” says Griffin. “Additionally, we have installed two sprinkler risers in two separate stairwells, doubling the redundancy of the sprinkler system at a modest cost. The system was developed on even and odd floors so that if one sprinkler riser is severed, the other would work and the worst situation would be a one-floor fire.”One of the significant changes to affect this project was CIBC’s decision – following 9-11 – to not merge all its employees at this one location. “In one location, there’s a lot of synergy of services,” says Griffin. “If you’re in three or four locations, you have mail drops, receptionists, supply rooms, security-related needs, etc. for each site, and these things take up space and cost money. One of the things I’ve done for the past 40 years is design buildings for the synergy of bringing everybody together.“Since 9-11, however, we have had to rethink that. As a result, we will house a large part of our people at 300 Madison Avenue, but a portion will be located separately in a facility that can serve as a disaster recovery site as well. We will have the ability to utilize space in that back-office location to make the workstations slightly larger and pre-wired for two people. That costs a bit more [in the] real estate footprint, but not a lot, and in the event of a disaster at one location, you can have people literally up in three hours at the alternate location.”San Filippo continues: “From a telecommunications standpoint, we designed two secured points of entry into the building: three 1,500KW and one 1,250KW emergency generators, which will support CIBC and building essential operations in case of a black-out, as well as providing 24 hours of domestic water and cooling tower makeup storage water.”In addition, Turner Co.’s Scott Borland comments “on the enhanced procedures that have been taken to prevent the growth of mold during the construction of the core areas up through the building. The procedures included the substitution of the typical shaft board lining with a relatively new product: Enhanced Blueboard put on the market by USG. This board is a moisture-resistant product that has enabled us to continue shaft work in the core areas during the early phases of the project to remain on track with the aggressive schedule. In addition, there have been pre-planned procedures carried out on the project that include enclosed stair towers and temporary roofs on multiple levels of the building. An environmental company has been retained by Brookfield Properties to perform weekly site visits to monitor installation of the drywall and its reaction [to the] ever-changing environment of the project. The project has had great success through the team’s efforts to carry out all the necessary procedures to eliminate the growth of mold.” And it continues … Look to future issues of Buildings magazine for progress reports. Linda K. Monroe ([email protected]) is editorial director at Buildings magazine.300 Madison Avenue Core and Shell Design TeamBrookfield Financial Properties, DeveloperSkidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, ArchitectTurner Construction Co., ContractorGilsanz, Murray, Steficek LLP, Structural EngineerJaros Baum & Bolles, MEP ConsultantsMueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers, Geotechnical ConsultantList is not all-inclusive

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