A hulking building with opaque glass on Manhattan's Madison Avenue is currently wrapped in scaffolding and construction material, signifying to onlookers that something big is happening here. Within the hoarding marking the borders of the site, the 24-storey 380 Madison Avenue is being reincarnated as 390 Madison Avenue in an impressive feat of engineering. 

390 Madison, image via Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

L&L Holding Company is embarking on the rejuvenation project which will replace the tired old structure with a light-filled 21st century edifice. To do that, the entire structural composition of the building is being altered. The project includes the removal of three million pounds of concrete and over 160,000 square feet of space at the base of the building, which would be recovered by eight new office floors on top.

380 Madison Avenue, image retrieved from Google Street View

The fourth and eighth floors are being demolished to make way for double-height spaces, and floors nine through 12 are seeing a reduction in size, as the project completely rejigs the interiors. Though the new structure will rise to 32 storeys, the complicated tweaking of floor plates means that 390 Madison will remain a 900,000-square-foot building. 

390 Madison, image via Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

The vision outlined by Kohn Pedersen Fox and Adamson Associates maximizes natural light in dense East Midtown, an area not known for its sun-bathed spaces. The uninterrupted curtain wall glass envelope and numerous setbacks also ensure that tenants are granted better views. By employing a careful practice of selected column removal, the seventh storey's soaring ceilings are supplemented by an unobtrusive floor plan. A main collaborative space spanning three levels and 6,000 square feet provides a place for lounging and business meetings. As expected in mixed-use Manhattan, retail spaces will front the street and animate the area.

390 Madison, image via Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

The electrical load of the building will be reduced by nearly 25 percent and its advanced air filtration system will filter 85 percent of airborne particulates. The commitment to environmental sustainability should ultimately result in LEED Gold certification. The development takes advantage of a 1961 zoning loophole that allows buildings to be replaced with structures of the same size, but only if at least a quarter of the old building is preserved. As crews continue the intensive undertaking, developers will be looking to 390 Madison's ingenious retrofit as a potential model for redefining underperforming properties. 

390 Madison in April, image by Forum contributor Edward Skira

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Related Companies:  Adamson Associates, Adamson Associates Architects, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, L&L Holding Company