City Hall Offices and Emergency Situation Room

Manhattan, New York

On this project Urbahn’s challenge was to design offices for 26 staff within the 19th Century City Hall basement that would respect the historic fabric while catalyzing communication, connectivity, and collaboration.  The dichotomy between the building’s historic exterior and ceremonial interiors and the pragmatic construction within the basement was a generator of design.  Urbahn exploited this proto-modernist expression of structure by peeling away layers of finish to the bare bones and excavating down an additional three feet to conceal systems within an access floor.  This approach revealed the muscularity of the original brownstone piers, timber beams, and brick vaults.

The Emergency Situation Room embodies City Hall’s non-hierarchical approach to collaboration.  The custom designed conference table with integrated technology, is the direct result of thorough analyses of sightlines, camera focal length, seating positions, acoustics, and lighting.   Urbahn’s design includes elegantly detailed cabinetry to house an array of large-screen monitors, along with video-conferencing, computer, and A/V equipment.

Client: NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services
Photographer: Elliott Kaufman Architectural Photography