Macy's Herald Square

Lead DesignerJay Valgora
ClientJay Valgora
Prize(s)Honorable Mention
Entry Description

Situated in the heart of Manhattan, historically,
commercially, and culturally, Macy’s Herald Square building
is an icon. A public space for locals and visitors alike,
Macy’s and the Empire State Building are the most visited
buildings in New York City. As architects for the first full
renovation in 109 years, our goal was to pull back the
accretions of a century, reveal each layer of the building’s
history, and create the building’s first true contemporary
layer of design for the 21st century.

Our design transformed every aspect of the building. We
re-opened windows, doors, and a triumphal entrance closed
for a half century, tore out crushingly low ceilings hiding
decades of mechanical interventions, removed the
arteriosclerosis of decades of renovations to restore the
geometry of the great retail hall, and created a luxurious
restaurant in a former stock room overlooking the skyline.

Contrasting authentic history with contemporary design, we
developed a palette of textured white marble, white plaster
columns and ceilings accented with stainless steel, and
contrasted tiger grained oak with brass pins inspired by the
renowned original escalators. The design reveals layers of
the building’s authentic expressions: 1900’s Beaux Arts
classicism, 1930’s NYC Moderne, and now, a twenty-first
century contemporary design open to the surrounding urban
landscape.

State of the art fabrication reinforces contemporary design.
In the Stella 34 Restaurant we created a completely
sculptural computer milled bar woven from Carrera marble
and stainless steel, fabricated directly from digital files and
finished by Italian craftsmen. The Broadway entrance
features a digital threshold connecting the historic
architecture of the exterior with social media.

Our goal in transforming Macy’s Herald Square was to treat
the building as an archetype of New York City itself: iconic
architecture, world-class food, and rich amalgamations of
authentic history.