The new building is unique: it is not only one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in the city (along with tower number 7 in the World Trade Center), but also - partially - an architectural monument of the early 20th century.
The 42-storey structure is placed on top of a six-storey 1928 Art Deco building, which was supposed to serve as the foundation for a skyscraper even then. The Great Depression put an end to the plans of the tycoon William Randolph Hirst, and construction was halted.
Foster's $ 500 million project envisioned embedding the skyscraper into a historic "pedestal", with the floors in the old part to be demolished and a spacious atrium lobby with an artificial waterfall built inside. One of the reasons for this decision was the changed standards for the size of office space, and Foster did not want to make such concessions. He was warned that in New York the authorities are sensitive to any buildings over 50-60 years old, and he may not receive permission for such a radical reconstruction. But the architect, who added the dome to the Berlin Reichstag and the glazed courtyard to the British Museum, did not back down, and he was right: the Hearst Tower project went through all the approvals very easily.
Perhaps this was facilitated by the fact that this building is designed for the LEED gold certificate, issued for environmental friendliness in the construction and operation of the structure. More than 85% of the steel used in the construction is recycled material, the cut corners silhouette is not just a formal device: it allowed to spend 21% less of the same steel than with a conventional structure of the same size. The floor of the atrium is paved with limestone, a material with high thermal conductivity. Water is constantly circulating through polyethylene pipes laid in the interfloor ceilings, which cools the premises in summer and warms in winter. The rainwater collected on the roof is used to cool the premises and to water the plants. All of this reduced the tower's energy consumption by a quarter, compared to the minimum requirements under New York law.
Since the main design period fell on the time after September 11, 2001, Foster made changes to his work for safety reasons: the structural core of the building was shifted further from the street to reduce the risk of collapse in a car bomb attack (this also made it possible to create more spacious offices with sides of 8th Avenue) and wider stairwells.
But the main thing in the construction is the lobby, which houses spaces for meetings and receptions, as well as a cafe for 2,000 employees of the corporation (before that they worked in nine different buildings scattered throughout the city). Its height is 10 floors, in its center escalators will transport people from ground level to offices, gliding over an artificial waterfall.