Combining Great Aesthetics with Innovative Technologies
HLW has reached another major milestone. Founded in New York City in 1885, the firm has now been in continuous practice for 130 years. It’s not every year that you can say this, so, dear reader, please forgive our indulging in a little nostalgic reminiscing.
130 Years? But so many of our clients are start-ups and tech companies!
HLW was once a start-up. At the turn of the 19th c., a partnership between the architect Cyrus Eidlitz and the structural engineer Andrew McKenzie established a tradition of providing business focused solutions through integrated design and cutting-edge technology.
The Metropolitan Telephone Building on Cortlandt Street (1886) and One Times Square (the former New York Times Building, 1903-04) are representative of early contributions to New York City’s architecture—and skyline. The Times Building, for instance, was the second-tallest structure in the city at the time of its completion and a technological forerunner in terms of its subterranean infrastructure. (Eidlitz & McKenzie successfully integrated a subway stop into its basement levels.) The project is also an early, rare example of architects and engineers working collectively, with equal standing, to realize an extraordinary vision for the city.
Design and Technology Firsts
Beginning in the mid-1920s, under the leadership of Ralph T. Walker, the firm completed the Barclay-Vesey Building (subsequently named, the Verizon Building), which many historians consider the first art-deco skyscraper. The Western Union Building on Hudson Street and the Irving Trust Headquarters at One Wall Street also numbered among our designs from this era.
Pre-WWII work included planning and design for the 1933 Century of Progress Word’s Fair in Chicago and the 1939-1940 World’s Fair in New York. During the war, the firm designed buildings at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and defense-related laboratory facilities. The impact of Bell Labs, in Murray Hill, New Jersey, was felt for decades after the war effort; the campus became an early American idea factory and a major hub of innovation for the United States and far beyond. (Today, HLW is working with Alcatel Lucent on the same campus to creatively repurpose underutilized office and laboratory space.)
The 1960s brought both innovative high-technology buildings (Goddard Space Flight Center, IBM Research Laboratories) and the firm’s expansion overseas. By 1975, we were managing projects from Western Europe to Africa to Asia. We had also changed our name by then, having become Haines Lundberg Waehler in 1968. Today, of course, we are more simply known as HLW.
Tech Innovation Today
More recent projects are similarly demonstrative of an approach focused on design and technology. Our extensive work on the United Nations Headquarters site in New York included the Secretariat’s restoration, a virtual redesign in place, involving the complete re-organization and rebuild of the historic structure’s core. We also designed the interiors of the Panasonic Corporation of North America headquarters in Newark, New Jersey. This $200M, 12-story office and product development facility is a working showcase for Panasonic innovation, as well as our client’s vision for green technology. The headquarters is the first newly built office tower in the city of Newark to receive both LEED Platinum and Gold certifications.