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Mancini-Duffy applies its trade to the Seagram space.

Interior architecture firm Mancini.Duffy is completing design work on the new New York headquarters for Wachovia Securities, the corporate and investment banking unit of the nation's fourth largest banking company. When the project is completed, Wachovia will occupy 176,500 rentable s/f on five floors of the landmark Seagram Building at 375 Park Ave.

"Any project involving a landmark is challenging," says Anthony Schirripa, CEO of Mancini-Duffy. "But incorporating the requirements of a 21st-century securities firm into one of New York's great icons of mid-20th-century architecture was an especially delicate process. And we wanted to respect the integrity of the building's design."

Because of the building's transparency, any interior element visible from the outside must meet the Landmarks Commission's stringent standards.

Among these is the retention or identical replacement of the distinctive luminous ceilings, which had to be removed to install the ductwork for Wachovia's extensive stand-alone air-conditioning system. Mancini-Duffy's designers developed a plan to limit the extent of the replacement at a very significant savings to their client, and to ensure that the ceiling will look uniform and new.

Significant restrictions on alterations to the lobby have also challenged the designers' ingenuity. For the 53rd Street entrance, which will become Wachovia's entrance, Mancini.Duffy has designed one of two reception desks - the other located in the Park Avenue lobby - to match Philip Johnson's original. Johnson himself, shortly before his recent death, was asked by the building's owner to review and approve Mancini.Duffy's drawings and proposed location for the desk, as well as proposed signage.

The low slab-to-slab heights were a particular concern for the client in the design of the trading floors. Mancini.Duffy was able to limit the height of the raised floors as a result of Wachovia's decision to implement blade server technology in "super IDF" rooms, which serves to centralize most of the heat load.

When construction, begun in April 2005, is completed in the fourth quarter of 2005, Wachovia's New York corporate and investment banking headquarters will include the trading floors, customer conference center, which will make use of terrace setbacks on the fifth floor, and floors housing such other functions as investment research, equity and debt origination, sales and trading and investment banking. To meet the extraordinary requirements for 24/7 emergency power and cooling, Mancini.Duffy is installing two new generators, one on the mechanical floor, the other on the roof, and three roof-top chillers. Landmarks approval of those installations required that the architects create a detailed mock-up, to ensure that no equipment would be visible from street-level.
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Title Annotation:Construction & Design, Section B
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 24, 2005
Words:428
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