After years of deterioration and various structural issues, the Jacob Javits Center is finally getting a much needed eco-upgrade and full renovation. FXFowle will be taking the helm of what has been considered an incredibly complex project, installing a new green roof, mechanical systems, and a complete redesign of the exterior glazing. The changes will in turn, create a more waterproof building and produce energy savings of 26 percent. Renovations are currently underway and expected to be complete by 2013. If all goes as planned, ICFF 2014 will be treated to a lovely new green space.
Since the very beginning, the Javits Center has been marred with problems, despite being one of the most well known cultural centers in the world, hosting major annual events like ICFF. For one, most of the original plans laid out by James Freed of I.M. Pei and Partners (now Pei Cobb Freed) in 1979, were never truly fulfilled due to budgeting issues. Other problems included the use of cheap material, a leaking roof that was never fixed, and problems with the frame structural system.
The Javits Center soon began to fall behind over the years in comparison to other convention centers across the country. The Center is considered the 19th smallest in the country, and its gray-bronze glass skin glaze eventually gave the center a dark look. In terms of energy sustainability, the power consuming behemoth was a disaster.
Despite the new renovation plans, budget problems have cropped up again. What began as a $1.7 billion project has now dwindled down to just $465 million. Currently, a pre-engineered Butler structure was set up to the north of the center, adding 80,000 square feet to the facility. The main priority, however, was the design of the center’s green roof, which will be the second largest in the country. The mechanical and electrical systems will also be upgraded, decreasing energy consumption by 26 percent. Renovations also include new high-performance curtain-wall and skylights, improved trucking and storage space, and a redesign of the glass facade. The interior will also be renovated.
It’s unfortunate that the Jacob Javits Center has suffered numerous setbacks, and continues to do so today. Despite the fact that even the new renovations might not be the complete vision of the redesign team, the improvements will nonetheless modernize the center and vastly improve it from its rather disappointing current state.