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Treasures of New York: Hearst Tower

Treasures of New York goes on a private tour inside Hearst's world headquarters in Midtown Manhattan.

Treasures of New York: Hearst Tower

Watch Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 2pm on WMHT TV.

Paula Zahn hosts this behind-the-scenes look inside Hearst’s innovative headquarters with Hearst CEO Frank A. Bennack, Jr., Architect Lord Norman Foster and Marie ClaireEditor-in-Chief Joanna Coles, among others

In its latest production, Treasures of New York goes on a private tour inside Hearst’s world headquarters to explore New York City’s first completed “green” office building, a recent iconic addition to the City’s famed skyline. The 46-story high-rise is usually closed to the public but not to public television viewers. Hosted and narrated by Emmy Award-winning journalist Paula Zahn (NYC-Arts), Treasures of New York: Hearst Tower aires Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 2pm on WMHT TV

Hearst Tower redefined the modern skyscraper and pioneered a sustainable architectural vision for the 21st century. Timed with Hearst Corporation’s 125th anniversary, the film also highlights Hearst’s history and growth into one of the America’s largest diversified media and information companies.

In addition to revealing Hearst Tower’s engineering marvel, WNET gets exclusive access inside all of the Tower’s state-of-the-art spaces, including its digital photo studio, 165-seat theater, Cafe57, health club and the renowned Good Housekeeping Research Institute. WNET gains insight about the Tower from Hearst Corporation CEO Frank A. Bennack, Jr., who talks in detail about the company and how executives green lighted construction of the Tower just weeks after 9/11; Hearst Director & Architecture Committee Chair Gilbert C. Maurer; Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles and mentor to competing designers on Lifetime’s Project Runway, who gives a glimpse into the making of the fashion magazine; Pritzker Prize-winning architect Lord Norman Foster; Architecture Critic for The New Yorker, Paul Goldberger; and former Chairman of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, Jennifer Raab, among others.

Treasures of New York explores New York’s cultural heritage by spotlighting its points of interest, distinguished establishments and notable figures. The series is a presentation of WLIW21 in association with WNET, the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York’s public television stations and operator of NJTV. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local documentaries and other programs for the New York community.

“Hearst Tower truly stands out in New York’s cityscape and skyscraper history,” says Diane Masciale, Series Executive Producer. “Treasures gives viewers a fresh take at the city’s signature skyscrapers and their historical significance. Hearst Tower represents a continuum of preserving New York’s past while at the same time leading the architectural community into the future.”

Standing in Midtown Manhattan on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 57th Street (to be renamed Hearst Place for the week of March 5 to mark Hearst’s anniversary), the glass-and-steel high-rise soars from the original six-story landmark structure built in 1928, designed by Joseph Urban. William Randolph Hearst always envisioned the building as a skyscraper, but construction of a tower was halted by the Depression and World Wars.

Development began right after 9/11 and Hearst Tower opened in 2006 with an innovative diagrid (diagonal grid) formed by interlocking triangles as a contemporary response and completion to the existing art deco base. The sturdy diagrid design allowed it to be the first New York City skyscraper without vertical beams. Designed by Foster, the Tower balances modernity and tradition, while looking to the future by adhering to environmental ethics. It was the first New York City office building to receive the coveted Gold rating under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

Some of the key environmental-friendly elements include the faceted façade frame, which uses 20 percent less steel than a traditional skyscraper, low emission glass that keeps out solar radiation and sensored lighting that automatically adjusts based on the amount of natural light. Innovations like this allow Hearst Tower to use 26 percent less energy than a standard office building. Rainwater collected on the roof is used to water plants and power Icefall, a three-story sculpted water feature in the building’s atrium.

As Foster’s first skyscraper in the United States, he views the construction as a statement about New York’s resilience and optimism after the collapse of the World Trade Center.

“We’re proud to be part of New York City’s stunning skyline and this documentary allows us to share Hearst Tower with not only WNET’s audience but with national viewers online as well,” Bennack said, “It is an honor to be included among Treasures of New York’s growing library of New York cultural icons. Every building has its own story and this is ours.”

Hearst Corporation dates back to March 4, 1887, when founder William Randolph Hearst took ownership of the San Francisco Examiner and gradually transformed American journalism in both content and operations. Under his leadership, the company acquired a chain of newspapers and modernized newspaper publishing by introducing color printing, comic syndication and a wire service. In the early 1900s, Hearst’s success with newspapers expanded into a burgeoning magazine venture that now includes titles such as CosmopolitanELLE and Good Housekeeping—more than 300 titles in total around the world. Today, Hearst’s portfolio is diversified into more than 200 businesses in the areas of magazine, newspaper and business publishing, cable networks, television and radio broadcasting, internet businesses, television production, newspaper features distribution, business information and real estate—all headquartered at the world-famous Hearst Tower.

The monumental building that was supposed to last forever was destroyed after 53 years.

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