Work has begun on replacing the existing building at 425 Park Avenue in New York with a new 21st century skyscraper designed by Foster + Partners. A groundbreaking ceremony took place on June 10 for the 677.5 ft tall building which will combine sustainability with a focus on occupant wellbeing.

Foster + Partners was chosen as the architect for 425 Park Avenue following an international design competition in 2012, however project developer L&L Holding Company has been working on the 425 Park Avenue project for over nine years.

"It's very, very difficult to build buildings in midtown-Manhattan," explains CEO and chairman of L&L David Levinson, citing a lack of empty sites and restrictive zoning regulations. As a result, he says, it will be the first time a full-block building has been torn down on Park Avenue and the first time in 50 years a new full-block building has been built. 425 Park Avenue will be a modern structure surrounded by buildings that are typically between 50 and 70 years old.

The new building will cover an area of 47,523 sq m (511,538 sq ft) and will stand at 206.5 m (677.5 ft) tall. In addition to being split across 43 stories, it will be divided vertically into three sections. The bottom section is designed to be "knitted" with the outside street and there will be a recessed middle section. At the top, the building will feature a column of offices.

Between each section, there will be triple-height sky gardens, which Foster + Partners says will act as "urban squares in a vertical city." As well as offering open space in Manhattan, which is otherwise at a premium, the gardens will feature cafes, bars and spaces for events. They are to be sheltered by discrete glazing.

As well as being designed to a LEED Gold level of sustainability, 425 Park Avenue is expected to be the first New York City office tower to achieve WELL Building Standard certification. The standard is aimed at encouraging the uptake of building features that impact health and wellbeing.

As part of its health and wellbeing credentials, the building will differ from the old Park Avenue buildings, with their low ceilings and are dark spaces. Instead it is designed to have an abundance of spaciousness, fresh air and sunlight.

On the ground floor, visitors will be welcomed into a 42-45 ft 13-14 m) glass lobby. A diagrid floor with a ceiling height of 75 ft (23 m), meanwhile, will offer a sense of spaciousness and views of Central Park, while a tenants-only amenity floor will provide dining and business facilities. It will be around 330 ft (101 m) in the air, with a 38 ft (12 m) high ceiling, floor-to-ceiling glass and gardens on its north and south sides.

425 Park Avenue is scheduled to open in 2018.

The video below provides an introduction to the new building.

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