Renzo Piano's New York Times Building
by Michael J. Crosbie
Ask most architects to name the most elemental ingredients of great architecture, and chances are they will say "space and light."
But these are not necessarily the first two words that come to mind when thinking about skyscrapers, especially tall buildings in New York City.
They're considered objects in space, but they can't really be appreciated in that way unless we back off a bit and see them isolated on the skyline — the way the Empire State Building is often portrayed, or Mies van der Rohe's Seagram Building, which has the benefit of a generous setback from Park Avenue, making it a bronze trophy on a pedestal.
But from within, neither Seagram nor Empire State nor most of the hundreds of other tall buildings in New York contain architecture's essence of space and light.
The New York Times Building changes all that. The 52-story tower, filling out its site on 8th Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets in midtown Manhattan, is all about the space and light within.
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