International Design Center New York

Long Island City, New York
1983
Senior Associate at Gwathmey Siegel Architects

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The International Design Center was conceived as a centralized complex to house the showrooms of furniture, furnishings, and related manufacturers marketing to New York’s interior designers and decorators. The two-building complex consists of completely renovated, reinforced-concrete loft buildings from World War I, invigorated by full-building-height atriums, pedestrian bridges, and bold graphics.

Center II is a seven-story building around an open courtyard. A trussed bridge provided the opportunity to create two major spaces: a skylighted interior atrium and an open entry court with an elevator core and lobby. A new catwalk beam for exterior lighting and display unifies the entry facade. A decorative stair was added at the north end of the atrium.

Four new steel bridges span the atrium at the fourth-floor level, vertically articulating the space and forming an implied second ceiling. A translucent skylight transforms the courtyard into a public room.

Center I, completed after Center II, is a horizontal five-story building organized along the same principles. The courtyard was enclosed to create a central atrium surrounded by showrooms. A cascading double stair was added to one side of the space, connecting all balcony levels with a central exposed elevator bank. The building is entered from a recessed arcade or from a ramped connecting bridge. Spanning the street with its red metal and oculus fenestration, the eighty-foot bridge is the project’s graphic symbol.