Verizon Building

Verizon Building

The Verizon Building is a 32-story Art Deco building in New York City, located in Lower Manhattan. It is named for Verizon Communications, for which it is the headquarters. The building is located at 140 West Street, adjacent to the World Trade Center site and 7 World Trade Center, and is bounded by Barclay, Washington, and Vesey Streets. The building experienced major damage in the September 11, 2001 attacks. Its thick masonry exterior and use of masonry to protect steel columns and structural elements helped the building withstand the attacks. Restoration of the building after the attacks took three years, at a cost of $1.4 billion.

History

The building was designed by Ralph Walker of McKenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin Architects, and constructed in 1926. The building is 498 ft (152 m) tall and 32 stories. Construction was completed in 1927, and the building was known at that time as the Barclay-Vesey Building. It served as the headquarters for the New York Telephone Company.

Architects and historians widely consider the Verizon Building as the first art-deco skyscraper. It was among the first skyscrapers designed under the 1916 Zoning Resolution, using the step back principle which became a key element of art deco design. The interior of the building includes . The lobby features marble walls and other ornate decor, including ceiling murals that depict how human communication has progressed, from Aztec runners to the telephone. Walker was inspired by Maya architecture in designing the facade. Exterior ornamentation includes complex foliage, along with babies and animal heads as part of the design, and a bell (symbol of the telephone company) above the door.

The Verizon Building has five sub-basement levels, which house communications equipment. The building remained in use by Verizon as a main telecommunications switching center in Lower Manhattan, handling approximately 200,000 phone lines and 3.6 million data circuits prior to 9/11.

September 11, 2001 attacks

The south and east facades of the Verizon Building were heavily damaged in the September 11, 2001 attacks, from the collapse of the adjacent 7 World Trade Center, as well as the collapse of the Twin Towers. No fires were observed in the building on September 11.

The building's older design utilizes thick masonry and gives the building added strength, which helped the building withstand the attacks and remain structurally sound. The building has thick, heavy masonry in the infill exterior walls, which encloses the building's steel frame. Brick, cinder, concrete and other masonry materials encase interior steel columns, beams, girders and other structural elements. The masonry allowed the structure to absorb much of the energy from debris hitting the building. Nonetheless, the building had extensive damage to its east and south facades. Underground cable vaults belonging to Verizon, along with other underground utility infrastructure were also heavily damaged from water and debris.

Restoration

Tishman Realty & Construction, which had been planning work on the building prior to 9/11, did a quick assessment of the building in the days after 9/11. William F. Collins AIA Architects was the lead architectural firm working on the restoration, while Tishman Interiors managed the project. Restoration of the building took three years, at a cost of $1.4 billion.

The Excalibur Bronze Foundry and Petrillo Stone were hired as specialists for restoring intricate ornamental detail in the facade and in the lobby. This part of the restoration accounted for a significant portion of restoration costs. Facade restoration involved carving motif designs in the ornamental limestone, and restoring the 10 frescoes in the lobby. For the murals in the lobby, hypodermic needles were used to inject acrylic resin to restore the paint and plaster.

On the executive office floors, barrel-vaulted ceilings were restored, restoring plaster friezes, and other work. Restoration of the building also involved replacing a corner column, A+ Construction of Rye New York state were responsible for this work. The building's 23 elevators were also upgraded, new fire alarms, building command systems, and chillers installed, and restrooms made accessible to those with disabilities.

In 2004, the New York Landmarks Conservancy awarded Tishman Interiors the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award for its work on restoring the Verizon Building. By late 2005, the restoration was complete. In December 2005, Verizon announced it would move its headquarters into the building, with space for 1,500 employees. The building also continues to serve as a telephone switching center.

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