Story at a glance:

  • 799 Broadway adds a next-generation workspace to a diversifying mixed-use neighborhood.
  • The terraced design respects the character of Greenwich Village while bringing nature into the workplace.
  • Perkins&Will focused on incorporating sustainable and healthy features into the project at every level.

When the New York studio of Perkins&Will was selected to lead the design of a boutique office project in Greenwich Village, it presented a unique opportunity for the design firm to reimagine what the future of workspaces looks like within a distinct neighborhood context.

“Even though people think of the Village as this small-scale, informal, brownstone neighborhood, the next generation of office workers and tenants are looking for a much more loft-like, fluid, and flexible environment,” says Robert Goodwin, design principal at Perkins&Will New York.

Though the firm has a global reach with more than 20 offices across multiple continents, their expertise lies outside of commercial office design, Goodwin says. “We realized that landing the project was a bit of an uphill climb for us.”

To ensure their brief stood out from competing bids, Goodwin’s team designed their proposal in the format of a tenant lifestyle magazine, which featured a series of articles about the site’s zoning, possible tenant amenities, and potential occupants.

“It was a very unique proposal,” Goodwin says. “The client told us afterward that our focus on the tenant experience and the needs of the users of the building is really what galvanized them to work with us.”

Completed in 2022, 799 Broadway offers 182,000 square feet of next-generation commercial space across 12 floors. The interior office layouts are open and airy, with 15-foot exposed ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows bringing natural light and the vibrancy of the cityscape into the workplace. The design also places a greater emphasis on equity by breaking down traditional hierarchies.

“Our design is a reversal from the traditional Midtown Manhattan office, where senior-level folks get the window offices and everyone else is on the interior,” Goodwin says. “This building creates an environment where everyone gets to be a part of the perimeter, and it doesn’t feel like a traditional hierarchy-driven workplace.”



The courtyard of the historic Grace Church that flanks the site served as an inspiration for the building’s 17,000 square feet of outdoor terrace space. Photo by Chris Cooper

Sustainability was top of mind for both the design team and the client. Solar orientation and daylight were studied during the design phase to help inform the massing and envelope of the building, which primarily faces east and north.

“Solar heat gain on the eastern face was minimal and did not require an external shading system,” Goodwin says, and limited south-facing glass allowed for a 10% reduction in the cooling tower load.

Meanwhile the building’s narrow floor plates, high ceilings, and open format provide an abundance of natural light that limits the need for artificial lighting and lowers energy usage. And with six different subway lines converging three blocks away at Union Square, the building has no need for onsite parking—substantially reducing its overall carbon footprint. These features and others helped 799 Broadway achieve LEED Gold.

“You don’t separate design and sustainability; they are one in the same,” Goodwin says. “We always need to be considering energy efficiency, resiliency, regeneration, and occupant wellness. True sustainability requires a comprehensive approach.”

Designing for a Local Context

In a dense city like New York “the zoning parameters for the massing of buildings is all about how you get daylight to the street,” Goodwin says. There are two ways to accomplish this: the “wedding cake” approach, where the designers progressively terrace the building back from the street at higher intervals; and the “tower” approach, “where you make the building skinny so light can go around it,” though the latter requires adding height to achieve the same floor area.

Given the local character of traditional mid-rise buildings in the Village, Goodwin and his team adopted the terraced approach with setbacks at every other level. They were aided by the distinct nature of the site itself, with Broadway starting to curve at 11th Street, creating an angular context that provided opportunities for additional terraces.

“There’s this unique moment in the New York City urban character that we had a chance to recognize and celebrate,” Goodwin says.

The site also sits across from the historic Grace Church, a renowned French Gothic Revival built in 1847 that features a secluded courtyard filled with trees and greenery. “The white limestone of Grace Church gave us a theme to work with,” Goodwin says, serving as an inspiration for the white architectural paneling that trims the exterior angles of 799 Broadway.

The integration of metal panels also helped solve one of the key challenges for the design team: balancing the needs of contemporary office tenants with a respect for preserving the feel of the surrounding neighborhood.

“As you can imagine tenants want to see the view, which means they want to have a lot of glass,” Goodwin says. “We wanted to design something that was not all glass.” They wanted to respect the local character of Greenwich Village. The white panels break up the facade of glass windows while ensuring the building stands out from the typical “glass box” typology.

Bringing Nature to Work


Photo by Chris Cooper

At the same time, Grace Church’s lush courtyard inspired Goodwin and his team to incorporate more natural elements into their design.

“We were really struck by this notion that an office building should embrace and engage nature,” he says. “One of our core questions was: How do we recognize that and take this moment of nature and bring it into the building itself?”

Natural materials were integrated into the interior and exterior design, including a faceted wood ceiling and stone panels in the double-height lobby.

On top of that, the tapered design framework of 799 Broadway allowed the architects to incorporate outdoor terraces on nearly level, “with the idea of understanding the potential to bring nature inside and extend the workplace outdoors,” Goodwin says.

They also added their own outdoor courtyard in the rear of the ground-floor space that houses additional tenant amenities, including a fitness area and bike storage. The building offers a total of 17,000 square feet of outdoor space—a rarity among New York City office buildings.

Healthy, Human-Centered Design

799 broadway Platinum Millworks

The double-height lobby is defined by faceted architectural wood panels made by Platinum Millworks. Photo by Chris Cooper

Leveraging natural materials and outdoor space was only one aspect of the building’s health-focused design. Given that it was conceived during the uncertainty of the pandemic, the architect and developer placed an even greater focus on features that promote the well-being of the building’s occupants.

To improve indoor air quality, the team incorporated MERV-8 and MERV-13 air filtration systems along with a bipolar ionization system that affects the molecular protein structures of viruses and pathogens, making them less infectious. “Each floor experiences five to seven fresh air exchanges per hour, and tenants can monitor indoor air quality in real time,” Goodwin says.

Touchless access is also utilized throughout the building, including in entryways and all amenities areas. All of these features contributed to the building achieving WELL Certification and a Fitwel 2-star rating.

Project Details

Project: 799 Broadway
Location: New York City
Completion: 2022
Size: 182,000 square feet
Architect: Perkins&Will
Structural Engineer: DeSimone
Contractor: Consigli Construction
Civil Engineer: Bohler Engineering
MEP/FG: Cosentini
Certifications: LEED Gold

Diagram courtesy of Perkins&Will

web-799 broadway section through lobby

Image courtesy of Perkins&Will