NY Times Architecture Critic Advocates for HOK’s Penn Station Transformation Plan

Michael Kimmelman endorses HOK and PAU’s renovation proposal for Penn Station, highlighting its superiority over the MTA’s plan in both design and cost.

NY Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman backs the HOK and PAU co-designed ASTM plan for the renovation of Penn Station, terming it as superior to the MTA's proposal.
Kimmelman's endorsement could act as a catalyst, prompting MTA and Governor Kathy Hochul to consider ASTM's more cost-effective proposal, projected at $6 billion under a public-private partnership, compared to MTA's $7.5 billion.
Besides being cost-effective, the ASTM plan offers design features focused on practical issues and aesthetics, seeking inspiration from historic architecture, with a vision to make Penn Station more than a functional space, but also a source of public pride.

NYT’s Top Architecture Critic Applauds HOK’s Proposal for Penn Station Revamp

Michael Kimmelman, the esteemed architecture critic from the New York Times, has thrown his weight behind a proposal by developer ASTM North America, alongside HOK and PAU, for the much-needed overhaul of New York’s iconic Penn Station. Kimmelman’s ringing endorsement brings a new level of attention and credibility to the proposal, painting it as a superior alternative to the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) renovation plan for the nation’s busiest rail hub.

Michael Kimmelman endorses HOK and PAU’s renovation proposal for Penn Station, highlighting its superiority over the MTA’s plan in both design and cost.

Kimmelman’s Endorsement and the Vision for Penn Station

In his recent July 7 column, Kimmelman singles out the ASTM proposal, co-conceived by HOK and PAU, for special praise. He believes it merits the serious attention of the MTA and New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul. This endorsement could be the disruption needed to shake things up in Albany and breathe new life into a tired, overcrowded Penn Station serving over 600,000 daily commuters.

The MTA is pursuing its own renovation plan for the station, with an estimated cost of $7.5 billion. Yet, it’s this high cost, along with less inspiring design features, that have attracted criticism. In contrast, ASTM’s counter-proposal, seen as an unofficial competitor, envisages a more appealing Penn Station renovation for a lower cost of $6 billion through a public-private partnership.

Kimmelman’s Viewpoint on the Design Aesthetic and Practicality of the ASTM Plan

While acknowledging cost considerations, Kimmelman also highlights other standout features of the ASTM proposal. In his column, he appreciates the attention to surrounding streets and sidewalks, the solution for “deeply unsexy back-of-house problems” like storage and loading dock issues, and the design of commuter spaces.

Even at this early stage, ASTM’s architectural style, inspired by Grand Central Terminal and Schinkel’s Altes Museum in Berlin, although somewhat rigid and earnest, drives home an important point, according to Kimmelman. He argues that a city gateway of New York‘s stature needs to offer more than functional amenities; it should also be a public symbol of pride.

Marilyn Walters

Marilyn Walters is a seasoned news journalist with over two years of experience in the field. Known for her investigative reporting and insightful analysis, Marilyn has covered significant global events with an objective lens. Her relentless pursuit of truth and dedication to journalistic integrity have established her as a respected voice in today's dynamic news landscape.

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