Vocon Helps Restore Eero Saarinen’s CBS ‘Black Rock’ Manhattan Tower

This article is originally from Archinect, published August 08, 2023.

A $36 million restoration of Eero Saarinen’s 1964 corporate headquarters for CBS in Manhattan has been announced by New York-based Harbor Group International, LLC (HGI). The Manhattan Tower overhaul is expected to be completed ahead of the project’s expected completion early this fall.

The architect’s lone skyscraper design, an ominous 38-story masterpiece of sable granite and polished concrete, is now renamed 51W52 in reflection of its Midtown location and features a pair of newly-renovated lobbies, restored bronze fin wall exterior, elevator bays, and lounge areas “curated” with Saarinen’s furniture designs for the Knoll company that were originally manufactured between 1948 and the late-1950s.

The building, which offers proximity to Grand Central Station, the 53rd Street corridor, MoMA, and Rockefeller Center, received a landmark designation from the city in 1997 and was renovated along similar lines in 1992 in an effort Paul Goldberger then criticized as “an attempt to convert one of the great modern buildings in New York into an ordinary speculative office tower.”

Vocon is one of the architectural designers behind the project, which they say sought minimal “enhancements” of the simplistic original design. Vocon’s Managing Principal, Tom Vecchione, said their effort “brings together the best of New York City from the past and today.” The project utilized a system of open and flexible floorplates while adding further amenities like an upscale dining space, fitness center, and rooftop garden to create an optimal workplace experience for tenants.