THIRTEEN spoke with Lou Nowikas, Senior Director of Corporate Real Estate and Facilities Planning at Hearst Corporation, to learn more about Hearst Tower’s unique design and history. The Tower is profiled in the fourth episode of Treasures of New York, airing Wednesday, March 7 at 7 p.m. on WLIW21, and Thursday, March 8 at 8 p.m. on THIRTEEN.
Why was the 57th Street location chosen for Hearst Tower?
This was the site of the original Hearst headquarters, the International Magazine Building, built by W.R. Hearst in the late 1920s. Hearst owned the air rights above the landmarked building, so it made perfect sense to erect the Tower above the original base, a place that has been Hearst’s home for nearly 100 years.
What’s your favorite green feature of the Tower?
While this might be considered a cop out, I don’t have a “favorite.” The fact that Hearst Tower has achieved both LEED Gold for New Construction and LEED Platinum for Existing Buildings speaks to the overall commitment to sustainability. My favorite aspect of the Hearst building is that our culture is to continually raise the bar. We are always asking, “what’s next?”
Nowikas provides a look at one of Hearst Tower’s greenest features, its storm water tank:
What was the most challenging aspect of building Hearst Tower?
The most challenging aspect of building the Tower was the actual construction. The logistics of demolishing the interior of the old building and constructing a modern skyscraper within the footprint of the original building, all while painstakingly restoring the landmark façade, was very challenging for all involved.
Besides Hearst Tower, what other skyscrapers in the world do you like?
There are too many to list. I most admire those buildings that focus on the sustainability and health of the environment they both create and are surrounded by. That said, for only the huge scale alone, I have to like the Burj Dubai – it just pushes the envelope beyond what seems reasonable.
What to you makes Hearst Tower a treasure of New York?
Hearst Tower is a metaphor for Hearst Corporation—based in a legacy rich with culture and built by William Randolph himself. Hearst is a forward thinking, progressive company that not only cares for the health and well-being of its employees, but also for the environment in which it exists. In addition, not only has Hearst been based in NYC for almost a century, but the renewed commitment to the city to build the Tower in the immediate wake of the tragic events of 9/11 speaks volumes to why Hearst Tower is a true treasure of NYC. I am proud to be a part of a company that had such courage in a time when the masses were fleeing.