53 West 53rd (MoMA Tower)
New York, NY United States | 2018
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In 2008, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s vision that NYC had both a high-tech opportunity and problem began its transformation into reality. A competition was launched to create a new center for high-tech learning in the city. The winner would attract hundreds of millions in donations including $100 million of Mayor Bloomberg’s own money.
Its selection at this “cost is no object” symbol of pride for the Big Apple is a testimony to the power of hot-dip galvanizing.
Cornell Tech won the contest and the first phase of their new permanent campus recently opened. The visually stunning Bloomberg Center is the visual and neural focal point of the new campus. Thom Mayne of Morphisis Architects was charged with designing the Bloomberg Center. The four-story, 160,000 square foot building that resulted is a visual and technological tour de force.
Two features of this building contribute to its beautiful appearance and its net-zero energy rating; its photovoltaic roof and its energy diffusing outer wall panels. Both of these features needed strong and durable supporting structures that could pass the test of time.
This test was made all the more challenging as the Center sits on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, adjacent to Manhattan and directly under the always busy Queensboro Bridge. Right in the middle of New York City, air quality is less than ideal, and the pollutants and salty mist from winter traffic overhead all contribute to an aggressively corrosive environment. Add to that the high saline humidity from the East River. which actually is a salt water estuary, and any building components will be severely challenged.
While a sky-high budget for this multi-billion dollar campus project would have allowed for many more exotic corrosion solutions, the unbeatable performance of hot-dip galvanizing still carried the day. Ease of specifying, rapid steel fabrication and turnaround time by large modern galvanizing plants all contributed to the selection of galvanized steel. The rugged nature of hot-dip galvanizing also streamlined erection and the almost non-existent maintenance requirements were compelling, especially for areas that would be very hard to access after construction.
All of the hundreds of tons of exposed structural steel that supports the hi-tech features of the Bloomberg Center are now protected by hot-dip galvanizing. Its selection at this “cost is no object” symbol of pride for the Big Apple is a testimony to the power of hot-dip galvanizing even when its low initial cost isn’t a prime factor.
Building & Architecture
New York, NY United States
Coating Durability, Corrosion Performance, Ease of Specifying, Quality of HDG, Sustainability, Turnaround Time
All exposed structural steel including roof and wall elements.
Barr & Barr
Corbec - Quebec
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