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A&S Plaza recognized for design excellence.

A&S Plaza, an urban shopping mall designed by Emery Roth & Sons that creatively uses ornamental metals, was the Grand Award winner in the 1993 architectural awards competition sponsored by The Ornamental Metal Institute of New York (OMINY).

Other award winners that incorporated ornamental and architectural metal were Americas Tower, designed by Swanke Hayden Connell Architects, which won the second place award, and the Baldwin Medical Center, designed by Salvator A. Caradonna, which took third place.

A&S Plaza, a modern vertical shopping center in the historic Herald Square retail district, involved a complete renovation of the former Gimbels flagship department store. The whimsical application of ornamental metals, including stainless steel and aluminum, helped to convert the dull masonry-faced building designed in 1912 to a fashionable, deftly illuminated center. The metal fabricator and erector for the project was Allied Bronze corp.

The shopping mall's anchor tenant is Abraham and Strauss, the retailer's first Manhattan store. The conversion features a central atrium which rises the full height of the building. To create design excitement, ornamental metal is used in decorative motifs that command attention on the building's facade with a band of metal signage illuminated by a changing pattern of electric and noon lights. Inside, inventive ornamental patterns and signage entertain the eye and keep it moving throughout the atrium space.

Designers used stainless steel to highlight the entire interior of the buildings: elevators, signage, light fixtures and trim. Stainless steel mullions were, used outside on the storefronts to a height of ten feet above grade. Glass curtain-wall partially replaced masonry on the facade, and the old-style, masonry framed punched windows were replaced with modern aluminum-framed units to create the desired motif.

The designers of Americas Tower succeeded in establishing a strong presence on a densely packed Avenue of the Americas between West 45th and West 46th Streets. This is achieved through an architectural vocabulary that features alternating vertical columns of rose colored granite and grey tinted glass, firmly set at the base of the building. The top of the building is comprised of setbacks that serve to diminish the bulk, announce the termination of the structure and present a distinctive shape on the skyline.

The lobby, elevator cabs, and decorative lighting all employ stainless steel which is complimented by Silver Tea Paper in the recessed lobby ceiling. The patterns employed in the lobby design mimic the steel architectural members on the building tower. The erector was Curtainwall Erectors.

The Baldwin Medical Center in Baldwin, NY was converted from a one-story theatre into a two-story medical facility with a new radiology center. The most significant challenge was that one corner of the building with an acute angle did not lend itself to normal use. This space was made into a two-story element and provided the architect with an opportunity to create a sculpture in architectural metal. Because a second means of egress was required, the solution became a combination of a sculpture expressed as a stair in an atrium-like setting.

Constructed of steel, the stair platform has a form that resembles a primitive fire-bearing receptacle. The stair is subject to a reversal of stresses caused by the use of the sculpture as a stair. Because a loading of the platform at one or the other end can cause either tension or compression at various points within the piece, steel was the material best suited for the project.

In addition, the platform's mass is supported by a cruciform section of steel that acts as a pivot point. Instead of a conventional stringer to support the treads, the platform is braced by two channels welded together which cantilever from the framing beneath the first floor, and likewise, from the second floor. The stringer stops within one inch of the platform to produce an artistic tension in the observer. The erector for the project was Master Iron Craft Corp.

The Ornamental Metal Institute of New York is a non-profit organization which sponsors programs that aid developers, architects, engineers, and construction managers in the design of architectural, ornamental, and miscellaneous metal work for building construction in New York City and the adjacent counties of Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester.
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:New York, New York shopping mall located in Herald Square retail district granted architectural award by The Ornamental Metal Institute
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Nov 17, 1993
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