Each year, NCSEA awards the Excellence in Structural Engineering Awards. This program annually highlights some of the best examples of structural engineering ingenuity throughout the world. “The Cubes” received this year’s award for New Buildings $10-$30 million.
The most dramatic retail newcomer to Midtown’s 42nd Street commercial corridor is The Cubes, located at 120 West 42nd Street between Avenue of the Americas and Broadway. Comprising three occupied floors and approximately 23,000 square feet of above-grade retail with an additional 55,200 square feet of below-grade cellar and sub-cellar retail space, The Cubes was conceived as a Jewel Box icon to flank the western edge of a privately owned public space (POPS) through-block plaza. The building’s overall design concept employs several distinct boxes shifted in relation to one another to contrast the monolithic character of adjacent 1095 Avenue of the Americas while maintaining the uniformity of its grid. These boldly protruding blocks produce an additional 4,300 square feet of accessible rooftop exterior space and, including an elegant fourth-floor mechanical penthouse, the entire structure tops out at 85 feet high.
The Cubes forms an engaging, light-filled space through the creative application of right angles, glass curtain walls and wide interior spans. From the street, the structure looks like two separate buildings, but the two sides are actually united underground.
“There is a high demand for new retail space away from the traditional Fifth Avenue shopping district as more brands begin to scout locations lower on Fifth Avenue or closer to Times Square,” said William Pisani, Vice President of Shawmut Design and Construction.
The glass and steel structure solidifies the plaza’s prominence as an active destination by surrounding the plaza above and below grade with retail spaces. Today, The Cubes house an Equinox gym and an Asics store, which incorporate an entire NYC subway car into its fitout.