#TerraCottaNYC Midtown Walking Tour

Today, tackle some tall structures soon to be accentuated by terra cotta in Midtown. If you’re coming from the Javits Convention Center, you can easily hop on public transportation to head down West 42nd Street to get closer to the start of this walking tour.

The first stop of this tour will be One Vanderbilt, the highly anticipated future tallest office tower in Midtown. The structure, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox neighbors the Grand Central Terminal, connecting to the building at the station’s concourse. At 42nd Street, pedestrians will be able to admire a perspective of Grand Central hidden from view for 100 years.

One Vanderbilt, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Supertall, New York City, KPF, Kohn Pedersen Fox, TerraClad

One of the various full scale mockups of One Vanderbilt’s angled TerraClad panels.

From the building’s inception, it was emphasized that One Vanderbilt would complement the surrounding masonry structures in the Midtown neighborhood with a glass and a high-performance terra-cotta curtain wall system. Referencing the historic buildings nearby, terra cotta details are incorporated throughout the structure, from the podium, base and up to the spandrel at the top of the tower. The unique white terra cotta glaze required an extensive glaze development process.

Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Permasteelisa, Pelli Clark Pelli, TerraClad, New York City, Midtown

An early mockup of the terra cotta panels of 138 East 50th Street to test various finishes and colors.

Continue on West 42nd Street heading past Grand Central Station. Make a left on Lexington Avenue and proceed for a little under a half a mile until you reach East 50th Street. Turn right and on the right-hand side of the street will be 138 East 50th Street, a new 63-story mixed-use tower designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects will house 4,588 square feet of retail space and 124 condominium units. The tower’s façade is composed of approximately 37,000 square feet of terra cotta units interspersed among large panes of glass. Permasteelisa Group designed the curtain wall system wherein the terra cotta panels are staggered at angles to the flat plane of the glass to add visual interest.