New York City is about to get a new addition to its skyline and the owner of the Empire State Building, Anthony Malkin, isn’t happy about it. The 15 Penn Plaza project has just been approved zoning and land use from the New York City Council for its 1,190- foot tower. The owner of the landmark Empire State Building called the new project an “assault on New York City and its iconography.” The plans for 15 Penn Plaza foresee a 67-story two blocks west of the Empire State Building. Although the Empire State Building will stand taller than the projected tower at 1,454-feet, the 86th-floor observation deck will be lower.

“New York as a city has to grow,” said David Greenbaum, president of Vornado Realty Trust’s New York office, the developer of 15 Penn Plaza. Mayor Bloomberg who backed the new tower recently said that “Anybody that builds a building in New York City changes its skyline – we don’t have to run around to every other owner and apologize,” he said. “One guy owns a building, he’d like to have it be the only tall building – I’m sorry, that’s not the real world.”

The new New York Skyline featuring 15 Penn Plaza (center right)

The new building will be replacing the Hotel Pennsylvania, built in 1919 by the prominent Beaux-Arts architecture firm McKim, Mead & White. What do you think?

What happens when a group of architects and policy makers meet to discuss their city’s future? We recently found out the answer when we came across an article on Metropolis titled “Design + Policy= Fit Cities”. George Miller, president of the American Institute of Architects, opened the 5th annual Fit City symposium at the Center for Architecture in New York City where he challenged “the crowd to rethink the planning, architecture, and design of our metropolis, with the goal of encouraging physical activity and healthy lifestyles.”

Miller recently said that, “The challenges of the 21st century will not lend themselves to the old way of thinking. Design should not merely be thought of as a tool, but as a collaborative process that offers opportunities for all of us – client and the public, architect and engineer, elected officials and community organizers – to pull together to address the challenges of our time.”

We’ll have to wait and see the results and can only hope for a positive outcome. What do you think?

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