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Piano makes the news with New York scoop

The New York Times has bolstered confidence in the terrorism rocked city with the unveiling of the paper's Renzo Piano-designed 52-storey skyscraper headquarters.

At the unveiling, New York State Governor George Pataki said: 'In light of the 11 September attacks, this building is a vitally important economic development project - it reminds the business community to keep investing in what will forever be the world's financial capital.'

The building, located in the south-west corner of the Times Square area of Manhattan, is Piano's first in New York. It includes 145,000m 2of space - at ground level there will be shops, restaurants and a garden while the remainder of the skyscraper, up to the 50th floor, will be office space. The top two floors will be for plant and a rooftop conference facility.

The building's inner double thermal-pane curtain wall is screened by an outer wall comprised of thin horizontal ceramic tubes, placed on a steel framework and positioned up to 0.6m from the glass. These will enhance the structure's energy efficiency as they will help heat and cool the building.

At the top of the structure, the screen of tubes becomes less dense - allowing views of a roof garden. The building will include 1m 'vision panels'on each occupied floor, affording panoramic views of the city. The main structure will be 230m tall and the building's outer 'ceramic'wall will reach 260m. It will also be topped by a mast - taking the height to 350m.

The New York Times will occupy floors two to 28, with floors two to seven acting as the newsroom. Piano said the newsroom will 'overlook the surrounding streets like a large magic lantern, continually lit and constantly active'.

There will also be a 350-seat auditorium at ground level for cultural and civic events.These will include 'Times Talks'- presentations by reporters, columnists and editors of the New York Times and lectures from non-profit community groups.

Piano will collaborate with New York practice Fox and Fowle Architects on the project, while Gensler will design the interior of the building.

Construction is expected to begin in 2003 and be completed by 2006.

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