Herzog & de Meuron
Project
2000-2002

We were working on four projects for Prada at once – Le Cure, Levanella, Tokyo, and New York. The Head Office in New York was the last project entrusted to us and the first to be finished. It’s a kind of striptease of the former piano factory: all architectural elements were removed so only the naked concrete structure would remain.

This raw exposure revealed the proportions and generous space of the previously industrial building. The offices were occupied before all work on the building was completed. Some architectural ideas and concepts still remain unfinished at present: a penthouse extension on the large roof terrace with spectacular views, and an exhibition space for the Fondazione Prada on the ground floor.

The most radical concept was the proposal to convert the square in front of the building on 609 West 52nd Street into a rock garden. When we learned that the granite bedrock rises up quite high in that area of Manhattan, we scratched open the surface of the front garden and uncovered the original geological layer not even half a meter below grade.

We liked its powerful and archaic rawness. A rock garden, not designed but found. Its nakedness was not dissimilar to the architectural strategy already used for the concrete structures of the building. These works were never finished. The granite bedrock has since been covered by asphalt for more practical uses and easy dispatch of goods.”

Herzog & de Meuron 2002

185_CO_0210_060_stone
185_CO_0210_060_stone

Process

In the park behind the factory, the organic rock of Manhattan will be uncovered to make a natural stone garden. The former piano factory is situated in Manhattan, near the Hudson River piers.

185_SI_0203_001_park
185_SI_0203_001_park
185_SI_0203_002_park
185_SI_0203_002_park
185_SI_0203_003_park
185_SI_0203_003_park
185_SI_0000_501_existing
185_SI_0000_501_existing
185_SI_0109_005
185_SI_0109_005
185_SI_0005_003_garden
185_SI_0005_003_garden
185_SI_0109_025
185_SI_0109_025

Galleries for the Fondazione Prada in the courtyard: variations above and below ground level with distorted ceilings forming an artificial rockscape; two proposals for a penthouse.

185_MO_0012_065
185_MO_0012_065
185_MO_0101_614
185_MO_0101_614
185_MO_0101_625
185_MO_0101_625
185_MO_0102_012
185_MO_0102_012
185_MO_0104_055_exhib_d
185_MO_0104_055_exhib_d
185_MO_0104_043_exhib_c
185_MO_0104_043_exhib_c
185_MO_0104_506_HdM_exh_b_K
185_MO_0104_506_HdM_exh_b_K
185_MO_0104_505_HdM_exh_b_K
185_MO_0104_505_HdM_exh_b_K
185_CI_0106_001_exhib-ext
185_CI_0106_001_exhib-ext
185_MO_0106_044_exhib_conc
185_MO_0106_044_exhib_conc
185_MO_0109_463_interior
185_MO_0109_463_interior
185_MO_0105_067_exhib_e
185_MO_0105_067_exhib_e
185_MO_0106_081_master s
185_MO_0106_081_master s
185_MO_0107_015_master s_b
185_MO_0107_015_master s_b
185_MO_0108_027_master s_c
185_MO_0108_027_master s_c

Seen here, 1:1 detailed mock-ups with glass elements for the rooftop Prada logo.

185_MU_0102_008_glassballs
185_MU_0102_008_glassballs
185_SA_0007_003_MJM parapet
185_SA_0007_003_MJM parapet
185_SA_0105_004_glassball
185_SA_0105_004_glassball

Expressive forms for the private penthouse and public gallery, ground floor layout, sections.

185_CI_0106_003_exhib-int
185_CI_0106_003_exhib-int
185_CI_0108_011_ms int
185_CI_0108_011_ms int
185_CI_0108_009_ms-water
185_CI_0108_009_ms-water
185_DR_0204_004_old
185_DR_0204_004_old
185_DR_0108_501_section
185_DR_0108_501_section
185_DR_0108_500_section
185_DR_0108_500_section
185_DR_0204_003
185_DR_0204_003

Building and courtyard stripped down to the rock; facade clarified by window elements.

185_CI_0208_001_bedrock
185_CI_0208_001_bedrock
185_CO_0210_301_RockPrada
185_CO_0210_301_RockPrada
185_CO_0210_019_stone
185_CO_0210_019_stone
185_CO_0210_060_stone
185_CO_0210_060_stone
185_SI_0102_303_stair3_1
185_SI_0102_303_stair3_1
185_MU_0105_301_window test
185_MU_0105_301_window test
185_CO_0200_501_SouthFacade
185_CO_0200_501_SouthFacade

The concrete building with its mushroom pillars is restored, exposing pipes and cable shafts; offices, meeting rooms and showrooms are partitioned with sound-insulating glass walls.

185_CP_0208_027_offices
185_CP_0208_027_offices
185_CP_0210_005
185_CP_0210_005
185_CP_0208_003
185_CP_0208_003
185_CP_0207_004_6th flr
185_CP_0207_004_6th flr
185_CP_0208_028_offices
185_CP_0208_028_offices
185_CP_0208_026_showroom
185_CP_0208_026_showroom
185_CP_0207_052_2nd showrm
185_CP_0207_052_2nd showrm

Drawings

185_DR_080809_L0_M1
185_DR_080809_L0_M1
185_DR_080810_S1_M1
185_DR_080810_S1_M1

Team

Facts

Client
Prada USA Corp, Fondazione Prada (Phase 2)
Planning
This project was developed in collaboration with an architect licensed in the state of New York acting as the "Architect of Record". Herzog & de Meuron is not licensed to practice architecture in the state of New York.
Partner Architects (Phase 1): HLW, New York, USA
Partner Architects (Phase 2): Architecture Research Office LLP, New York, USA
Structural Engineering (Phase 1): HLW, New York, USA
Structural Engineering (Phase 2) : LERA, New York, USA
Mechanical Engineering (Phase 1): HLW, New York, USA
Mechanical Engineering (Phase 2) : Arup, New York, USA
Electrical Engineering (Phase 1): HLW, New York, USA
Electrical Engineering (Phase 2): Arup, New York, USA
Landscape Design (Phase 2): Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten, Zurich, Switzerland
Specialist / Consulting
Facade Consulting (Phase 1): Emmer Pfenninger Partner AG, Münchenstein, Switzerland
Lighting Consulting: Kugler Tillotson Associates, New York, USA
Building Data
Gross floor area (GFA): 105'873 sqft, 9'836 sqm
Footprint: 16'307 sqft, 1'515 sqm
Links
www.prada.com

Bibliography

Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: “Herzog & de Meuron 1997-2001. The Complete Works. Volume 4.” Edited by: Gerhard Mack. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 2008. Vol. No. 4.

Nobuyuki Yoshida (Ed.): “Architecture and Urbanism. Herzog & de Meuron 2002-2006.” Tokyo, A+U Publishing Co., Ltd., 08.2006.

Herzog & de Meuron: “Prada Aoyama Tokyo. Herzog & de Meuron.” Edited by: Germano Celant. 2nd ed. Milan, Progetto Prada Arte srl, 2003.

Herzog & de Meuron. Natural History.” Edited by: Philip Ursprung. Exh. Cat. “Herzog & de Meuron. Archaeology of the Mind.” Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. 23 October 2002 – 6 April 2003. 2nd ed. Baden, Lars Müller, 2005.