Supertall skyscraper on site of Trump’s Grand Hyatt New York

SOM to build supertall skyscraper on site of Trump's Grand Hyatt New York

Architecture firm Skidmore Owings and Merrill has unveiled plans to build an 83-storey supertall skyscraper on the site of Donald Trump's old Grand Hyatt hotel in New York.

Called 175 Park Avenue, the mixed-use tower will be 1,646 feet tall (500 metres) and contain office and retail space along with a new 500-room hotel run by hoteliers Hyatt.

The glass and steel tower will replace the Grand Hyatt New York, originally built in 1919 as the Commodore Hotel and purchased in 1980 by Trump. The former US president renovated the hotel and enclosed the structure in dark glass for his first major construction project in the city.

Developers RXR Realty and TF Cornerstone acquired the site in 2019 and the existing building is due to be demolished next year.

Glass and steel columns will encase a stone-clad core


Skidmore Owings and Merril (SOM) plans to use the project to replace Trump's "overbearing" design by rectifying overcrowding on the pavement and building a clear path between 175 Park Avenue and the nearby Grand Central Terminal.

The supertall skyscraper itself will feature a stone-clad core enclosed by an outer layer of glazing and structural steel columns. These columns will run parallel up the sides of the tower, crisscrossing over to form a decorative lattice at the top and bottom.

175 Park Avenue will have a tapered shape that will be set back in four tiers, as a nod to the shape of New York's original skyscrapers. The setbacks will also allow more sunlight to reach the street.

Its use of stone and visual symmetry will pay homage, SOM explained, to the Beaux-Arts style of Grand Central Terminal, which it will connect to via a new transit hall and an improved street-level passage and subway entrance via 42nd Street.


As part of the project, SOM plans to improve subway access

The project also sits directly over the 4/5/6 subway lines of the Grand Central-42nd Street subway station. The existing building's girders obstruct the subway mezzanine, so SOM plans to use the demolishment and rebuild process to carefully remove the girders and improve the layout for the underground train station too.

In collaboration with the MTA, SOM will build new and accessible entrances and expand circulation to ease congestion.

A new looping shortcut will also be created to link up the subway mezzanine, the lower-level Metro-North Railroad platforms and the almost completed East Side Access Terminal.


Ritz-Carlton Tower

Ritz-Carlton Tower at The Star adds to Darling Harbour's rejuvenation

The Star Ritz Carlton Render. Image: Scharp 3D Visualisation & Property Marketing


Darling Harbour’s rejuvenation continues apace with this week’s news that the luxury hotel brand Ritz-Carlton will return to Sydney for the first time in 18 years. The six-star hotel will offer 220 rooms situated within the top half of a distinctive 61-storey tower to be built at the north-eastern corner of The Star in Pyrmont.

The mid-tower Sky Lobby for Ritz-Carlton hotel guests will offer a spectacular vantage point over Sydney Harbour and CBD. Image: FJMT

The hotel is poised to capture a slice of surging overseas visitor numbers, as well as taking advantage of its prominent harbour-side position, and proximity to both the Sydney CBD and Darling Harbour Convention, Exhibition and entertainment venues.

The tower design adopts a memorable form as it rises to its full height of 231 metres, branching into two distinct, interlocked volumes as it subtly twists to maximise and ensure the best harbour and CBD vistas.

The tower's distinctive form from Pyrmont Bay Park. Image: Scharp 3D Visualisation & Property Marketing

Given its relative isolation, its distinctive form will create a landmark architectural statement on Sydney’s skyline , providing a bookmark to Barangaroo’s towers on the opposite shore, framing the entrance to Darling Harbour from ferries and other vessels on the harbour.

Beneath the hotel, the bottom half of the tower will acommodate around 200 apartments as well as a five-storey neighbourhood centre. This will contain a social enterprise space, reading room, function space, collaboration hub, and rooftop terrace - useful additions to community infrastructure in the area.

As part of the development, the Pirrama Rd podium of The Star will be refurbished, adding a rooftop pool and terrace, public restaurants, two gyms, and a spa & wellness centre.

Fifteen food outlets will cluster around the path connecting the hotel tower to the rooftop social and leisure space, forming a ‘restaurant avenue’. No additional gambling floor space is included in the development.

Rooftop social and leisure space. Image: Scharp 3D Visualisation & Property Marketing

The project comes amid a spate of new developments entering the pipeline to cater to the rapidly growing visitor market. In the last year alone, visitor numbers in Sydney have increased by 5% to 14 million, 4.3 million of which were from overseas.

According to Destination NSW, visitors to the state have collectively injected $16.85 billion into the NSW economy. 

The $500 million project is a joint venture between the Star Entertainment Group and Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook and far East Consortium and will generate 1000 jobs during construction and a further 500 jobs once operational.

The design team is led by architects FJMT who are also responsible for a number of prominent projects in the area, including the new Sofitel at the International Convention Centre.

The new hotel and its dramatic tower will add a new layer to the Darling Harbour precinct, consolidating the area as a premier social and business destination.

far East Consortium is also introducing the Ritz-Carlton brand in Perth and Melbourne via developments at Elizabeth Quay and West Side Place. Both projects are currently under construction with Probuild at the helm, and architecture by Cottee Parker.


THAD curves prefabricated shelter over historic Peking Man cave

An undulating shelter has been constructed over the Peking Man cave, a historic site in China that is home to ancient human fossils, in an effort to protect it from weathering.

Designed by the Architectural Design and Research Institute of Tsinghua University (THAD), the shelter blocks rain and wind out of the cave, while also reducing fluctuations in temperature and humidity.

The cave is part of the Zhoukoudian Peking Man Site near Beijing, which has yielded a number of significant archaeological discoveries including a collection of fossils of Homo erectus skeletons dating back 750,000 years that are known collectively as Peking Man.

THAD's shelter, which was completed in 2018 but photographed recently, was commissioned after a severe rainstorm led to the cave system being damaged by flooding.

It is composed of overlapping panels

"The site is not only an exceptional reminder of the prehistorical human societies of the Asian continent but also illustrates the process of evolution," explained THAD.

"The semi-closed structure was adopted to maintain the natural condition of Peking Man cave as a buffering space that protects it from the uncertainties."

The Seeds are a group of shingle-clad pods nestled in a Chinese forest

ZJJZ Atelier has completed a cluster of ellipsoidal holiday cabins for a woodland hotel in Jiangxi, China, which are wrapped in wooden shingles and mirrored aluminium tiles.

Shanghai studio ZJJZ Atelier designed the buildings for the Tree Wow hotel, which specified that the pods should be inspired by natural forms to echo their scenic surroundings.

It is the second project the studio has designed for the complex, with the other being The Mushroom guesthouse that has a large conical roof.

Above: ZJJZ has designed a group of holiday cabins. Top image: they are part of a woodland hotel in China

According to the architects, the design of The Seeds was based on the functional demands of the buildings, rather than a direct attempt to copy a particular natural shape.

"Instead of creating merely imitative forms, we focused on developing the spatial experience by staging views and establishing the relationship between the structures and their surrounding environment," explained ZJJZ Atelier.

Each pod has round windows

Each of the four Seeds is raised above the ground on stilts and accessed via an external staircase. Inside, the pods contain a bedroom, bathroom, storage area and an attic space for lounging.

Round windows inserted into the surfaces of each pod have been arranged to provide specific views of the surroundings. Smaller windows at the side look onto the adjacent woodland, while a bigger opening in the attic frames a view of the treetops and the sky.

At the front, the largest of the openings contains doors that open onto a circular terrace. The terraces are supported by independent pillars and one of their decks is punctured by a hole with a tree growing through it.

Internally, The Seeds are lined with wooden boards that follow the flowing shapes of the external shells. The different tones of the wood accentuate the sweeping curves of the non-linear surfaces.

An attic lounge overlooks the living space. Photo is by ZJJZ

ZJJZ Atelier was established in 2017 and has worked on several hotel and hospitality projects, including a hotel comprising wooden cabins scattered across a mountainside in Guizhou Province and a bar and restaurant in the same region that can be opened up to immerse guests in the mountain scenery.

Photography is by Tian Fangfang unless stated.