Foundation work for Disney Headquarters underway, New York

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Foundation work on the headquarters of Disney, what will be a 1.2 million square foot building has officially begun. The building will be constructed on 137 Varick Street in Hudson Square. The parcel of land was purchased by Disney from Trinity Church Real Estate for US$650 million and Skanska was responsible for the demolition of four structures that wrapped up last summer. Lendlease is in charge of constructing the new headquarters, which is bound by Varick Street to the east, Spring Street to the south, Hudson Street to the west, and Vandam Street to the north.

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The foundation walls on the northern perimeter of the site are being formed behind a multi-story assembly of metal scaffolding and wooden platforms. Meanwhile, the final steps of excavation are wrapping up on the western end, where numerous excavators and a piling machine are removing the last sections of earth and inserting the necessary supports into the ground. Disney’s new headquarters feature an architecturally symmetrical pair of 320-foot-tall towers that would be connected by a large podium. A series of hurdles gradually lead up to the pinnacle and will provide outdoor terraces for occupants. Renderings show the exterior envelope composed of pale green terracotta panels, bronze finishes, and large square panels of floor-to-ceiling glass. Multiple film and production studios, office space, and ground-floor retail are part of the interior programs.

The complex, which is expected to open in 2024, seems to have a more cohesive look than the current headquarters used by Disney and ABC, a stitched-together mix of former stables and modern office buildings at Columbus Avenue and West 66th Street. “What we kept hearing is that people weren’t connecting,” said Colin Koop, a Skidmore design partner, who suggested open staircases between floors to encourage interaction. “It really gives you the sense of crossing paths more easily.”