Thousands of people pass by Bloomberg Tower at 731 Lexington Avenue every day, but many are unaware of the unique “urban room” that lies within its block-long commercial base. Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and completed in 2005, Beacon Court is a fascinating secondary structure that connects 58th and 59th streets, welcoming visitors to the Manhattan building. Elliptical in plan and conical in form, the design of the courtyard was inspired by other historic New York City enclosures such as Grand Central Terminal, the New York Public Library’s reading room, and the Rockefeller Center skating rink.
Beacon Court is a formal yet inviting public space that reconciles Bloomberg Tower’s challenging programmatic and circulation concerns and acts as an organizing principle for the Bloomberg office headquarters. Office work spaces line the perimeter of the building, while the television studios, lobby, and large snack bar are placed in the court’s curving glass walls.
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects worked closely with the developer and tenants to keep the building visibly transparent, yet sustainable. The building has a highly efficient cooling system, with a low-temperature and low-flow chiller, which reduces the operation of energy-burning fans and pumps. The high-performance, low-e glass minimizes solar gain and demand for cooling, while allowing natural light to penetrate deep into the open interior spaces. The transparent façade also shows the financial media company’s round-the-clock activities.