Answers That Lead To More Questions

I am thoroughly nonplussed and disheartened that the hugeasscity readership did not have the wherewithal to correctly identify the reason for the three-story windowless concrete penthouse atop the Financial Center building. As is screamingly obvious in the photo above, the blank concrete band at the top of the building was a critical design feature, a gesture necessary to perfectly balance the two-story blank concrete band at the base of the building. Just go up in a helicopter sometime and take a look — you’ll see what I mean right away. This is the sort of design sensitivity that is tragically and all too often under-appreciated in brutalist architecture.

But then hey, what’s behind that 2-story blank wall at the base? Many large downtown buildings have parking decks in that location, but that can’t be the case here (can it?). Matt the Engineer, please help.

And if you ever find yourself in the Financial Center entry plaza, go up the stairs in back and treat yourself to the view shown in the photo below. Hmm, what do they keep in the windowless base of that thing…

6 Responses to “Answers That Lead To More Questions”

  1. Josh Mahar

    This stuff is about as nonsensical as the false ceiling put up in the King Street Station. There was a very warped sense of style back in the day…(no offense to old people, except those at Crosscut)

  2. Alex Porter

    I have the answer–sorry I didn’t comment on the original post. My boyfriend works in the building and has toured the facilities and the roof. The top floor of office is the 27th floor. The 28th floor is storage with no windows and the rest above that is mechanical. The roof is flat with raised facade or fence. Hope this satisfies your curiosity :) I’ll post this on the original post too.

  3. mike

    but why is it a blank wall? is it a ginormous transfer beam? my knowledge of tall structures is pretty much limited to foster’s kommerzbank.

  4. Matt the Engineer

    I doubt there’s a structural reason for it, though that’s a whole lot of concrete to hold up. According to the owners, the parking is underground and we have NBBJ to blame for this massive pile of concrete. It’s possible there’s a mechanical space low as well, ventilating the garage, but you’d need a fraction of a floor, not 2-3 floors.

    Hey look, you can contact the property owners and ask more questions (such as “when do you plan on tearing this down and putting something nice up?”).

  5. keith

    I work in the latter of the two: there is some storage between the structural walls that support the podium and the flared exterior, or so they say…the interesting thing is that they took a building with 27 stories and set it up 13 floors higher, thus providing better views and charging higher rents.

    I’m not sure what’s behind the low transfer beam at The Financial Center but the elevators go right past it.

  6. Matt the Engineer

    I like keith’s pencil building. I agree it provides better views, plus it allows for more ground-level outdoor space.

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