The Judges in the 2016 Engineering Excellence Awards Competition have selected Porcelanosa for a 2017 ACEC New York Platinum Award in the category of Structural Systems.
In autumn 2015, Porcelanosa, a Spanish manufacturer of tiles and kitchen/bath finishes, opened the doors to its new 18,000 SF showroom at 202 Fifth Avenue opposite the Flatiron Building. The store occupies the former “Commodore-Criterion” building, which required a full gut renovation to create seven levels within an envelope that previously only had six. The terra cotta exterior is regulated by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission and could not be altered.

“The main design challenge has been to work within the protected shell to transform the interior. The design will create new visual connections vertically through the building and will introduce a greater variety of spaces, with a series of dramatic interlocking levels,” explains architect Norman Foster. “The design will restore historic aspects of the exterior and create a new interior experience of large–volume showroom spaces ­– all within the context of a sustainable agenda.” The building seeks a LEED Gold rating.

The new interior consists of a public showroom on the lower levels (a three-story space that extends from the cellar to the second floor) and a materials library for architects and designers at the upper levels. There are two floors of offices in between.

Shotcrete was used to create shear walls at the perimeter. These new wall segments not only support the gravity loads from the steel floor beams, but also reinforce the masonry and resist the lateral loads. Shotcrete is not a commonly used building construction technique in New York City. It is primarily employed in infrastructure and tunnel construction.