Tall & Urban News

Renovation Breathes New Life into Iconic New York City Skyscraper

51W52. Image credit: Marshall Gerometta
51W52. Image credit: Marshall Gerometta
02 May 2024 | New York City, United States

The historic 51W52 skyscraper, designed by famous Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, has recently undergone a transformative renovation spearheaded by Vocon Architects and MdeAS Architects. Originally known as Black Rock, the high-rise was originally completed in 1965 as the headquarters for media giant CBS.

Following CBS's relocation of its facilities in late 2023, the building now hosts various companies, including developer HGI. With its distinctive symmetrical facade of granite, bronze, and travertine, the building stands as a testament to Saarinen's architectural vision.

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Maintaining the building's original design ethos, the renovation focused on subtle enhancements to modernize the interior spaces while preserving the structural integrity. Key updates included the refurbishment of two ground-floor lobbies, elevators, and the rooftop garden, alongside the renovation of amenities such as a lounge, fitness center, and private cafe.

Rather than imposing drastic changes, the architects aimed to honor the building's architectural significance. The lobby walls feature intricate detailing reminiscent of the original facade, including brass-tipped wooden slats and monolithic granite slabs. And a modernist fresco, incorporating the CBS logo, pays homage to the building's history. Additionally, the renovation introduces contemporary elements such as a lighting fixture by Toronto-based Viso and stainless steel-clad stairwells leading to lounge areas below. Models of furniture by Saarinen and architect Florence Knoll adorn the renovated spaces, adding to the building's timeless appeal.

By blending modern amenities with Saarinen's architectural legacy, the renovation ensures that 51W52 meets the expectations of today's corporate environment while celebrating its historic significance. 

Learn more about this story at Dezeen.