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  • New York
  • USA
  • Architect :
    Foster and Partners
  • 2003-2006
  • Client :
    Hearst Corporation
  • Engineering Firm :
    Structure: Cantor Seinuk Group
  • Contractor :
    Construction Manager: Turner Construction
  • Photographer :
    Chuck Choi and Nigel Young
  • WWW


Hearst Tower

The Hearst Headquarters revives a dream from the 1920s, when William Randolph Hearst envisaged Columbus Circle as a vibrant new quarter for media and entertainment companies in Manhattan, New York, USA.

Historic ground

Hearst commissioned a six-storey Art Deco block on Eighth Avenue to house his publishing empire. When it was completed in 1928 he anticipated that the building would eventually form the base for a landmark tower, though no scheme was ever advanced. Echoing an approach developed in the Reichstag and the Great Court at the British Museum, the challenge in designing such a tower at some seventy years remove was to establish a creative dialogue between old and new.

New building

The new forty-two-storey tower rises above the old building, linked on the outside by a transparent skirt of glazing that floods the spaces below with natural light and encourages an impression of the tower floating weightlessly above the base. The main spatial event is a lobby that occupies the entire floor plate and rises up through six floors. Like a bustling town square, this dramatic space provides access to all parts of the building. It incorporates the main elevator lobby, the Hearst cafeteria and auditorium and mezzanine levels for meetings and special functions.

Structurally, the tower has a triangulated form – a highly efficient solution that limits the volume of steel for the structure. With its corners peeled back between the diagonals it has the effect of emphasising the tower’s vertical proportions and creating a distinctive facetted silhouette.


The new building is also distinctive in environmental terms. It is constructed using 85 % recycled steel and designed to consume 26% less energy than a building that minimally complies with the respective state and city energy codes. As a result, it is the first new occupied office building in the city to have been given a gold rating under the US Green Buildings Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

Steel in the Hearst Tower

Over 85% of the steel used for the structure is recycled material. The Histar steel sections (ASTM A913 grade 65, wide flange structural shapes per ASTM A6) are used in the wind bracing and gravity load system. They are visible in the facade as diagonal lines over all faces of the skyscraper. In fact, these structural members are inclined and function as bracing and column at the same time. This structural system is called a diagrid, and is extremely weight-efficient as it contains roughly 20% less steel than would a conventional perimeter frame - saving approximately 2,000 tons of steel. Structural steel tonnage is about 10,000 tons. External cladding of tower diagrid is profiled stainless steel.

International Highrise Award

On 14 November 2008, the English architect Norman Foster was awarded the International Highrise Award in Frankfurt, Germany, for his project Hearst Tower in New York, USA.

Additional information

Grand Atrium
- 40-70 feet high entrance lobby/atrium with skylights
- 30 feet high clerestory with employee cafeteria, exhibition space and auditorium
- Accessed from 8th Avenue through existing vaulted entrance via escalators set within the three-storey, sculpted water feature, ‘Icefall’
- Lobby space is enclosed by the four-storey landmark facade lining the piazza

- Steel core with perimeter diagonal structural system (diagrid) forming four-storey triangular frames
- Concrete reinforced steel super-columns up to tenth floor
- Structural steel tonnage: 10,480

- External cladding of tower diagrid is profiled stainless steel
- Floor to floor glazing with high-performance low emission glass, set within diagrid
- Unitised system with integral roll-down blinds

Foster and Partners: Norman Foster, Brandon Haw, Mike Jelliffe, Michael Wurzel, Peter Han, David Nelson, Gerard Evenden, Bob Atwal, John Ball, Nick Baker, Una Barac, Morgan Fleming, Michaela Koster, Chris Lepine, Martina Meluzzi, Julius Streifeneder, Gonzalo Surroca.
Fit Out
Norman Foster, Brandon Haw, Mike Jelliffe, Chris West, John Small, Ingrid Solken, Michael Wurzel, Peter Han.
Associate Architect
Shell and Core, Adamson Associates
Fit Out

Flack & Kurtz

George Sexton, Kugler Associates

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