Snøhetta and SL Green Realty Corp. have recently unveiled SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, the new four-story observation complex located 1,000 feet above Midtown Manhattan in the KPF-designed One Vanderbilt building. The complex brings together spaces for art and gathering.
The observatory offers panoramic views of all five boroughs from a collection of curated multi-sensory viewing and lounge spaces. Upon arrival in the observation complex, visitors are greeted by the Hall of Light, an illuminated walkway that recreates the sky’s real-time color, hue, and brightness. On cloudy days the hallway is cool and dewy. On sunny days it shines a blueish white.
Beyond the Hall of Light a two-story mirrored gallery installation designed by Kenzo Digital reorients visitors’ perception of the skyline by reflecting the city into infinity. In adjacent areas Snøhetta designed transitional spaces marked by changes in materials, softly rounded corners, and curving soffits that anchor the more hard-edged areas of the observatory in order to balance its immersive installations.
The Summit Lounge, at the top of the observatory, is a welcoming space that contains a sculptural, heavy timbered panorama bench and hanging fireplace. The Summit Lounge has the atmosphere of a ski lodge and creates another zone in the observatory focused on the quieter aspects of experience.
Outside, an L-shaped terrace offers dark granite bar tables carved from monolithic stone and solid wood benches. Mountain shrubs, high meadow perennials and grasses, and rough-hewn materials approximate a traditional alpine mountain summit experience. An outdoor bar completes the social atmosphere.