renovation of the subway entrance, office tower lobby, and surrounding plaza at 560 Lexington Avenue has created a bright, fresh, and reimagined public amenity in Midtown Manhattan.
Constructed in the 1980s, this Privately Owned Public Space was originally characterized by dark brick and bronze-colored metal. Surrounded by an enclosure composed of the same dark materials, the subway entrance was secured at night by an industrial roll-down gate, obstructing views throughout the plaza.
SOM sought to brighten this public space with a light palette of limestone, white granite, and stainless steel. A highly transparent glass and steel subway enclosure provides visibility and openness throughout the plaza. This curvilinear structure is self-supporting, eliminating the need for obstructive vertical mullions and enhancing the sculptural quality of the entrance. Its integrated stainless steel benches provide seating in the plaza, while a glass swing gate, engineered to nest in the concave form of the enclosure, offers an elegant solution to the security needs of the subway station.
Below, the design language of the enclosure’s geometry continues with curved limestone walls and glass guardrails, inviting pedestrians down a sweeping staircase to the subway and New York Public Library branch beyond.
The glass, limestone, granite, and steel material palette carries into the office tower lobby, where acid-etched, mirror-backed glass feature walls compliment the building’s new reception desk and elevator cabs. New metal and glass storefronts also contribute to the modernization of 560 Lexington Avenue, drawing even more visitors to enjoy this reinvigorated public amenity for the Midtown neighborhood of New York City.