Biber Architects
New Offices

It was worth the wait to be a tenant in The Woolworth Building, a 1913 skyscraper designed by Cass Gilbert (also responsible for the New York Life Building, George Washington Bridge, US Supreme Court and the US Customs House in NYC) that remained the world's tallest building until bested in 1930 by the Chrysler Building. The lobby is the original 'cathedral of commerce' with a church-like cruciform plan, vaulted tiled ceilings, murals, balconies and gargoyles of F.W. Woolworth, Cass Gilbert, Louis Horowitz the builder from Thompson-Starret, and Hubert Parson, Woolworth's accountant who managed to pay for the building in cash (truly the four corners of any architectural project).

The public is barred from the lobby (post 9/11) but you can get to see this great bit of New York history by visiting us! We are on the 20th floor in the northeast corner with incredible views of lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Midtown.

The building has a big blocky base topped by a tower that has been unoccupied for a decade. It was vacated to be condos, or a hotel or both, when 9/11 postponed the plans. A few years later the economy postponed conversion plans again. It will be, when finally converted, one of the most remarkable addresses (and views) in New York, with views of the whole city (including the new Gehry building that looks back at the Woolworth Building) and its own zipcode.

Our office barely needs electric illumination during the day...with operable windows and north and east exposures we get a full day of (mostly) soft light, helped by the white interior; walls, ceiling, floor and furniture, all tones of white (or black). But when it does we lighted the space with high efficiency LED and dimmable fluorescent that makes it glow for well under 1 watt per square foot. And that's if every light is on at the same time and undimmed. Normally we use well under half that.

My favorite parts of the office?
The 'book cube' filled with all my books is a perfect little conference/library and a beautiful piece of sculpture (with nods to Rachel Whiteread). It's already turned into everyone's favorite spot.
And the bike room downstairs must be the finest bicycle parking in the world; directly below the lobby 'crossing' and reached via a grand marble stair, the space is adorned with 4 murals and all the original building details. It is the crypt to the Woolworth's cathedral; directly below the sacred crossing, dark and a bit mysterious.

A crypt for bicycles. Commuting by bike has just moved a bit closer to godliness.

Moving announcement
Cass Gilbert Sketch
20th floor offices
View from our new offices
View from our new offices
City Hall Park from our new offices
Our neighbor
© Biber Architects 2014